For as far back as anyone can remember, paperwork has been an inevitable constant in everyday life, especially at work. Many of us are all too familiar with stories of piles of paperwork that no one ever reads and seems to serve no real function other than to justify having wastebaskets and filing cabinets.
Paperwork has been synonymous with wasted time and resources, needless procedures, and an inefficient, ineffective bureaucracy, not to mention quite a lot of dead trees. The paperless office, ostensibly our salvation, is just another of the things that the future has promised us, right along with bases on the moon, flying cars, and jetpacks, only to dash our hopes.
But the sun may finally be shining through the clouds thanks to the increased use of workflow management software.
What Is Workflow Management Software?
Workflow management software is a software system designed to set up, perform, and monitor a series of tasks. These functions are performed in a sequence defined by the company, the whole process otherwise called “workflow”.
Many of these tasks and processes are made up of smaller tasks, with every one of them following a predetermined set of rules. The key advantage to workflow management is that it brings automation to the workplace.
How It Reduces Paperwork
By instituting workflow management software in the workplace, a business can reduce the load of paperwork by digitizing it. According to the article “How to Radically Reduce Your Company’s Paperwork”… you can use your workflow management software to create workflows that ensure all forms and steps are accomplished and all approvals are logged.”
That means if your processes are automated, the correct forms can be generated by the software, and since everything is automated, it reduces the risk of redundancy. The forms are created once, routed to the appropriate departments, stored for easy access, and everyone can focus on the business of business!
Benefits Of Paperwork Reduction
Electronic forms are easily created, accessed, altered, and stored. Since the forms are stored electronically, there is no risk of them getting accidentally thrown out, damaged, misplaced, or stained with errant food and drinks.
There is, of course, the Green benefit, as your business is using fewer resources, namely trees. In this age where things like deforestation are a growing concern, you’re doing your bit for the environment.
If you’re using less paper, then you’re paying for less paper, and that means reducing expenses. Furthermore, if your business pays to have its documents stored offsite, then that’s yet another thing you won’t need to pay for. Granted, offsite data storage does cost, but the difference in pricing is significant.
Finally, there’s an increase in employee productivity when workflow management is brought in. The staff spends less time dealing with physical forms, and, as a result, has more time and mindshare to devote to doing a better job.
So all in all, an increase in productivity, decrease in operating expenses, more secure data storage, and redundant steps removed. It sounds like a win all around! If you’re looking for more tools to make your small business run smoother, check out “7 Must Have Online Tools for Small Businesses”.
Now if only someone could do something about building moon bases …