Three Steps to Getting Started on a Paperless Office

Wadih Pazos November 15, 2015

Three Steps to Getting Started on a Paperless Office
Document Management
Blog
The paperless office is not a reality yet. For most businesses, jettisoning all paper and going to a completely digital workflow is just not a reasonable goal. Some employees will need paper to take notes, or jot down ideas. More creative businesses may need paper for sketching and drawing up proposals, and of course there are always a few documents that need to be kept in a hard-copy form for legal or financial purposes. But the move towards becoming an office that uses less paper can be put into practice right away for most businesses.

Many businesses are already on the path to a more paper free environment, with Business News Daily reporting that almost 80 percent of business are doing something to use less paper according to a CompTIA study.

If it’s time for your business to join in on the paper-free revolution here are some steps you can follow to get the ball rolling:

Go electronic

Cut down on the amount of paper that you have coming into your office by signing up for the paperless option with your banks and anyone who bills your company. This is an incredibly simple step, but one that can really make a dent in the paper problem around the office. Electronic bills and statements can be filed on a computer and cut down on the need for storage space and filing that is created with paper bills.

Get digital

Many people make frequent use of the office fax machine when it is no longer a necessary tool. Though it seems an easy way to send a document to someone who may be far away, it is not the most efficient. PCWorld reported that a study by Nitro said that 42 percent of people send faxes “most of the time” or “always” and that is just not necessary in the modern office. In place of a faxed document use an email attachment. Documents that were formerly faxed can be scanned into a computer and attached to an email communication instead. This immediately eliminates the paper it is printed on, saving time and the cost of ink and paper.

Start scanning

If your office doesn’t have one, invest in a good, quick document scanner. A scanner is the key piece of equipment to going paperless. All incoming documents can be scanned into your computer system and the originals shredded, saving untold space in filing cabinets and untold time filing paper. You can even hire a company to come in and scan all your older files into the system, allowing you to get rid of existing filing systems and the paper that is associated with them. Scanned records provide many benefits beyond the fact that they are easier to store in a computer than a filing cabinet. Once your records are digital, employees can access them from wherever they are, on whatever device they might be using via your office network. An employee with access to all pertinent records all the time is much more efficient than one that has to return to the filing cabinet to look up data over and over again.

Going digital can save your office time and money in the long run, and while totally eliminating paper may be a pipe-dream, using less paper isn’t. Following these steps, along with a good solid recycling program in the office can save untold time and money without causing much havoc in the day-to-day operations of your company.

Wadih Pazos

Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.

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