If you’ve decided to convert to a paperless office, then congrats! You’ve just decided to help the environment and make our earth a better place. But converting to a paperless office is not only environmentally friendly, it’s also practical. By deciding to eliminate paper from your office you can also eliminate stress, waste, save storage, save money, and overall help you and your team be more productive.
Although the idea to convert your office to a paperless office may be appealing, getting started can be a long and difficult process. Although it will be a while before offices are completely paperless, these tips for going paperless can help you get going in the right direction towards eventually being entirely paperless!
Invest In Quality Equipment
For an easy transition, you will need to invest in the right equipment. With the right tools, the process for going paperless will be much easier. And, the easier the transition is, the more likely you are to complete the task of going paperless. Begin by looking through what you currently use right now with paper (printers, fax machines, paper shredders) and think about paperless options to replace them with. Investing in a scanner and a reliable computer with a secure internet connection is a good place to start. You’ll want to start scanning any new documents that come in and the backlog of documents that you have been keeping.
Organize Existing Paperwork
The task is daunting, but it’s necessary and, once you get started, it won’t be so bad. Empty all those filing cabinets filled with paper and sort through it, tossing out anything that isn’t necessary to keep. What is necessary to keep, scan, and then once you’re sure that it’s stored safely, toss those files as well. Make sure that you’re ruthless when it comes to tossing content out, only keeping what you absolutely have to.
Decide On a Digital File Storage System
An efficient filing system is essential for going paperless. You need to know how you will organize files once they’re saved. The better organized that you have your files, the easier it will be to find files later on when you need them. A good organization system is absolutely worth the amount of time that you will spend setting it up. Just imagine how much time you will save later when you go searching for a document or an image and you find it with ease. Choose to organize in a way that works best for you, your team, or your company, whether by date, client, or personal preference, depending on preferences.
Recycle The Old Papers
If you have old papers that you’ve already converted then don’t let them take up space in your office, get them out of the way. The best way to do this, and the most environmentally friendly, is to either shred or recycle them. It is especially important to shred or recycle old papers with sensitive information regarding clients or employees. It’s important that you disregard all files that aren’t necessary to keep any longer.
Convert Existing Paper Forms and Billing to Paperless
Start requesting to have paperless bills, receipts, and statements sent to your email. This has a variety of benefits, both for you and your vendor. It will save them time and money when sending out information. Plus, it will save you the impatience of waiting days for it to arrive in the mail. This is one of the first things you can do to start converting to a paperless office and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!
If you have forms that you request from clients, vendors, or employees make those forms digital. Even sensitive information and signatures can be collected digitally. For every document that your offices uses, make a digital version instead.
Make Your Meetings Paperless
More paper than you would think is used at meetings. But you would also be surprised at how easy it is to eliminate paper from your meetings by using online resources. You can set up entire agendas online and send them to your team through Google Docs. Other note taking apps like Evernote, OneNote, Notion, GoodNotes, and Google Keep are additional options that all offer the ability to take and store notes digitally.
Organize and Share Digital Documents
Once you’ve decided what needs to be kept and found a filing system, it’s time to organize your documents and share what’s necessary with your team. The more organized your files are, the more efficient the team will be and finding them. This will save you time in the long run. Once everything is organized, you’ll want to share any necessary files with the rest of your office or team so that they all have access to it. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to storing, organizing, and sharing files and documents. A cloud storage service such as OneDrive, DropBox, or Google Drive can be used to share files with ease.
Since, by going paperless, you’ll be depending on the files stored in your digital system, backups are crucial. You won’t have a paper hard copy of any of your files anymore, you need to know that they’re safe and securely stored. There are plenty of backup services out there for you to choose from, and we suggest doing your research on what will work best for you and your company before choosing one.
Try To Use The Printer Less
Unfortunately, it probably won’t be possible to remove the printer from the office completely, but you can discourage the usage of it as much. A lot of time the printer is used for things that could easily be done paperless. Although you can’t eliminate the use of the printer, try to discourage the use of it as much as possible.
Use Electronic Note Taking
Encourage your team to use electronics to take their notes on. Using notepads and paper does not only discourage trying to convert a paperless office but just simply isn’t practical for your team. Notes can clutter up desks and won’t be organized as well as they will be if you convert to taking them electronically. Start telling your team to take notes using services like Google Docs and other online resources.