How to digitize your operations and eliminate paper in your business

By David Rigbye January 4, 2021

Is your business cluttered with paper documents, checklists, procedures and manuals stored away in dusty boxes that no one ever looks at? 

If the answer is yes, it might be time to digitize your business operations. 

The problem with paper is that it takes up space, can be time-consuming to track down and is easy to lose.   

Have you ever been holding an important document only to spill coffee all over it? Who hasn’t?

We’re going to explain why going paperless is the future for your business. Not only is it more efficient but you’ll be saving money on office supply costs, such as printer cartridges, stationary and, of course, paper!

This article will explain the following:

  • Problems with paper-based systems
  • Top benefits of going paperless across your business locations
  • How to eliminate paper in your workplace
  • Why businesses are choosing to go digital
Digital business checklists with Operandio
Digital business checklists with Operandio

Problems with paper-based systems

Many businesses choose to continue using paper for the sole reason that they’ve always done it that way. These are some of the biggest problems with paper-based systems in a business:

More clutter

Unless you’re an extremely organized business owner or have excellent workers, it’s difficult to keep paper filing and storage under control. Nobody likes clutter. Many people find working in an environment that’s cluttered and messy uncomfortable, especially in a work environment that isn’t office-based where people don’t have time when it’s busy to deal with paperwork.


Paper documentation is time-consuming to sort through and filter. For example, if you are a hospitality worker, you’ve probably had to do some form of paperwork, such as temperature checks or timesheets. 

Businesses who are audited or checked by the health department have to show that they’ve kept good records otherwise they could get in trouble. Logging these records can be extremely time-consuming and if back records are requested, the owner will have a big job trying to find all the appropriate documentation.

Losing or damaging documentation

It’s easy to spill water or drop food on a piece of paper. Even worse, losing it altogether! For management teams, this can be incredibly frustrating and require redoing paperwork which is both time-consuming and costly to owners.

For example, waiters who work in a restaurant need Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificates and kitchen staff need food handling certificates. If someone from the food department dropped in, the manager would be expected to produce these immediately or face financial penalties. Losing important documents can be costly to your business. 

Top benefits of going paperless across your business locations

Moving to a paperless system across your business locations allows you to streamline operations, cut down on costs and save time. Here are the top benefits explained in more detail:

Update processes easily 

Digitizing your business processes means that when changes are made, you can easily update staff. Sometimes people will miss staff bulletins or verbal announcements, but if you notify staff through a digital system, then it’s less likely your message will get lost in the ether. That means all staff are constantly informed about changes such as opening or closing checklists, timesheets or procedures that are changing at certain business locations. 

Improved data collection

Businesses who go digital are able to collect more data and therefore uncover insights about their business operations which then allow them to enhance systems and processes by analyzing their operational behaviour. No matter what kind of business you run, data helps you understand your business operations better and look at new opportunities that you haven’t explored yet. Not only will you have a better understanding of your business operations but you’ll also know which staff members are performing the best and who needs to pull their socks up.

When you have better data, more informed decisions can be made about your business. For example, many businesses don’t have an understanding of hidden inefficiencies, but by looking at real data you can begin to understand where any bottlenecks or complexities exist and how you can improve them, which in turn will improve how your business operates.

Compare performance across all business locations

Track how each of your locations is performing to get an indication of which ones are doing well and which ones need to improve. You can encourage productivity by sending out monthly reports to all the managers and have a prize at the end of the month for the location that improves the most in that time frame. In our experience, the most productive and efficient business locations also tend to be the most profitable. Being able to compare business location performance is invaluable. 

Hold staff accountable

Create a culture of accountability in your business by setting clear expectations. This can often be hard to do on paper as people may never check off lists or read what tasks need to be done. By going digital, there’s no confusion over who was responsible for doing which tasks. 

If everyone knows what is expected of them and how things should be done, then there is no room for excuses.

Provide feedback

You can quickly provide feedback to staff on tasks that they have completed. This is sometimes forgotten about when using paper because many casual and part-time staff don’t work back-to-back days, so a manager will either forget or tell them many days later, by which point it’s no longer important. 

Saves money and time

Many small businesses choose to continue using paper because they believe going digital is expensive, but that’s not the case. In fact, a Deloitte study found that each employee will contribute up to 60% uplift for a business that goes through a digital transformation.

Going digital saves both employees and employers a lot of time on dull and manual tasks that they could be using to do more constructive things. For example, a non-desk based business where employees sign in and out using an app, is much more efficient than an owner manually calculating their hours on paper (and potentially making mistakes). 

How to eliminate paper in your workplace

File all your documents electronically

An even harder task but one that is well worth the effort is to create your operational documents in a cloud system – rather than simply upload them. This is particularly useful if you have a great workforce management tool as it means all of your important documents are easily searchable and easily accessible by the relevant staff whenever they need it. Doing this is going to be somewhat of a pain if you have thousands of documents that need to be scanned but once you’ve done it once, you’ll never have to do it again and best of all you can recycle all that paper to make room for more important things. 

Use good software

Operandio allows you to streamline your entire business through an app. Checklists, procedures and repeated tasks can all be digitized and it’s great for communicating with staff. Everyone knows what they have to do and when they have to do it. It’s the simple way to improve accountability and track progress. 

Why small businesses are choosing to go digital

There is so much technology available to help businesses, the question is – why wouldn’t you choose to go digital? Here are a few key reasons in detail:

Improving customer experience

Using data to track your business performance allows you to improve the service you give to customers. A company that embraces digital transformation is able to engage and serve customers quickly. 

Improve employee skills

It’s hard to work in any job these days, whether it’s desk-based or non-desk-based without some knowledge of technology. Employees with better skill sets create agility and better communication among your business locations. The overall quality of work will consistently improve. 

Innovation and collaboration

Greater communication between departments or business locations is great for new ideas and improvement of the business. It doesn’t have to come from management but any employee is able to suggest what procedures or tasks could be improved. Collaboration between work colleagues could lead to more efficient ways of performing tasks or even new products being made or displayed that will interest customers.

Are you looking to replace paper checklists in your business? Operandio will help you replace paper in your business, improve staff accountability, delegate jobs and replicate consistently business processes across multiple locations.

Request an Operandio demo today, and take control of your business in ways you’d never have thought possible.