Scanning is the process of converting paper into digital documents. If an organization would like all its official data in electronic form, then it is important to clearly identify the historical documents that need to be scanned as well as future documentation received that would not in electronic form.
The following questions are intended to guide and counsel the client in determining the types of documents and records to scan along with selecting a scanning process.
Which historical documents should be scanned in?
What documents that currently are received in paper should be converted to electronic format? Is it possible to request receiving those documents in an electronic format? What is the best process to request that (i.e., online, website, email, phone, etc.)?
Who in the office can provide on-going scanning support? Are there any employees who should have access to a personal scanner?
Which documents, once scanned, will need to be retained in their original paper format? Is this noted in the Records Retention policy and guidance?
Which documents, once scanned, will need to be shredded for confidential purposes?
Are there any documents in which text recognition is required (OCR)?
It is difficult to let go of paper data because we are not sure of its value in the future and the desire to have a tangible format. When purging paper, start with small chunks, such as one file drawer or one desktop pile to go through. It doesn’t need to be all done in one day or at one time. For most documents, users will be able to ascertain what to keep and what can be recycled. It is reasonable to keep some mementos of past history but keep it down to a small file folder size.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help deem what to keep in paper or purge;
Is there any action required?
If not, you can probably get rid of it.
Is it already saved electronically?
If so, then you recycle the paper.
Will the organization ever need, want or find value in this information again?
If yes, then consider scanning the information to store it electronically.
Is the information outdated and/or superseded?
If yes, then recycle it!
Is the information located on the organization Intranet network?
If quick reference to the document is not needed, then recycle the paper and access the data electronically.
Does the document or file have legal (current or future) implications?
If so make sure there is an electronic copy or it is scanned in.
Is there any legal retention requirement to keep the data?
Documents if saved in an electronic PDF format are sufficient for any legal requirements.
Along with benefits of improved productivity and reduced commute time, there are challenges in remote, mobile and telework environments. All employees should have clear expectations from their supervisor on schedules working from home and being in the office. Ideally, there should be staff meetings to review these expectations so everyone is clear. Then, have a group or shared calendar that staff can post their leave and telework days.
Below are some questions for managers to facilitate the dialogue with staff;
Should telework or remote work days be fluctuating or should they be relatively set?
If a staff person wishes to switch telework days because of personal reasons, will that be acceptable? And in which circumstances?
Should staff stagger their schedules so that the office is always covered?
If there is an important meeting or training, and some of the staff are teleworking should it be required for them to come to the office for certain functions? If so, what type of functions?
If there are staff who do not want to telework and work from home, will that be acceptable?
How will the staff know who is teleworking or working remotely? (e.g. shared calendars, separate telework schedule or staff meetings)