Change isn't always welcome. But change is a chance to break with the past and reinvent via innovation. The remote business model changed business operations worldwide—old habits no longer work. Remote work is the growing dominant operational model for companies across the United States. According to Global Workplace Analytics, at this time last year, only 3.6% of the US workforce participated in remote work with any regularity. Based on what we're seeing worldwide, that number is expected to increase to 25% or more by the end of 2021. Remote work isn't the way of the future; it's already here.
The Good Kind of Downsizing
Mention the word "downsizing" in your office and you're likely to start a panic. When it comes to going remote, downsizing isn't necessarily a bad thing though. This downsizing refers to your office's physical footprint. The goal of remote work is to minimize your on-site operations as much as possible, if not eliminate them entirely.
Transitioning from a traditional office space to a remote work model brings with it a galaxy of logistical questions.
- Where do I put my equipment?
- Do I actually need a physical location for storage purposes?
- How do I keep my team connected and productive?
- Should I retain my entire staff or can I employ a BPO for certain tasks?
- Are there any security or compliance issues with a remote workplace?
Downsizing your business's physical presence means tackling some big questions. And while each question is important in its own right, don't forget to include document storage and retention in your planning. It might seem like an afterthought, but it has some gigantic implications for your updated work model.
Evaluating Your Document Retention Needs
While human resources questions and IT connectivity needs might dominate the initial discussion, as you pare down your on-site presence, deeper operational questions arise. Here are five key questions to consider when forming your remote documentation strategy.
1. How does your current document retention system work?
There's an old saying: "You have to know where you come from to know where you're going."
Even though you're in the midst of a major corporate shift, it's still important to stop and analyze your current documentation strategy. Take time to orient yourself to your process so you can decide what's important going forward versus what's extraneous, time-consuming, and wasteful.
Make sure that you understand every type of document you file, where they are physically located in your current office, and the volume of hardcopy paperwork you have stored. From there, form an appropriate retention strategy that revolves around digital scanning, Cloud storage, or a custom-made combination of solutions.
2. What are your actual retention needs?
Every company is slightly different when it comes to retaining documents. There are three factors to take into account:
- What kind of security is necessary?
- Are there professional standards or compliance involved?
- What are your retention preferences?
Businesses such as law firms, financial institutions, and medical providers have strict documentation standards that must be adhered to. Migrating to a remote work model doesn't absolve organizations from maintaining compliance. Before initiating a document migration strategy, it pays to evaluate the compliance standards your industry is subject to, as well as the level of security necessary to maintain those records.
Once regulations have been honoured, it's worth noting your retention preferences. State law might mandate that you keep a client's records on file for a minimum of seven years, but you might decide you're more comfortable retaining them for ten years for your own legal safety. Make sure to take your preferences into consideration when forming your transition plan.
3. How much space do you plan to dedicate to document storage going forward?
Will you need to rent storage space, will you maintain a smaller office, or do you intend to take your operation completely digital, storing your important documents in the Cloud? Determine your physical needs to define the path forward. Chances are, Cloud servers are the best option.
4. Where do you see your business going in the future?
Changes to your company's fundamental operations are difficult. It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the minutiae of little decisions that require immediate attention. As you adapt to a new remote workplace, don't lose sight of future scalability. Take the opportunity that this transition period affords to develop adaptable systems which give you proper agility to meet future challenges.
5. What is the cost of your current retention strategy?
Before you finalize your transition plan, take a moment to do a cost comparison. Even though renting an on-site storage space might seem like the cheaper option upfront, consider the long-term cost of maintaining hardcopy documents at an off-site location and compare that to the cost of a digital document scanning service.
Easing Your Digital Transition
If your company is ready to adopt a digital solution, DRS Imaging performs the digital scanning necessary to make your key documentation as mobile as your staff. We provide both on-site and off-site digital document scanning to help you reduce burdensome paper filing during your transition.
If you're in the middle of transitioning out of your physical office space, send your hardcopy documentation to one of our national scanning centers where we convert it to a digital and highly-portable format. Can't send us your documents? One of our representatives will come directly to your office and perform an on-site scanning.
DRS Imaging works with all types of documents and files, maintaining key compliance standards such as HIPAA and PCI. If you're ready to embrace the future, contact one of our scanning experts today to set up a consultation.