Jan 12, 2017
Even though the concept of a ‘paperless’ office has been around since the 1970s, we’ve never really cracked it, have we? Benefits are said to include cost and space savings, better productivity, more secure data and better information sharing – and of course it’s good for the environment too.
Whether it is ever practical to eliminate all paper from the office environment is a moot point but thanks to today’s technology, even small and medium sized businesses can make major inroads towards having less paper in the office.
Far from being a luxury or an indulgence, having two computer monitors make commercial sense. The practice will allow you to quickly and conveniently cross reference data without having to print out sheets of paper. Use one screen for reference and the other for the main task in hand.
With most business data now readily accessible via the Cloud, there is thankfully much less need to carry around piles of printed documents to meetings and appointments. All you need is a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and WiFi access at your chosen location. Not only does it save on paper, it will make your business look modern and professional too.
Scrutinise you incoming hardcopy documents to see which ones need to be kept, then scan and save them in electronic format, while shredding the rest. Digitising documents will make them easier to retrieve and share, especially if you use electronic storage such as Google Drive or Evernote. No printer of photocopier required.
Printed paper documents are wasteful and often unnecessary. Rather than cluttering up your (and your clients’ or suppliers’) offices with pages of printouts, why not create PDF documents and simply email them? Include electronic signatures if necessary. Then it’s up to the recipient whether or not they wish to print them, using their ink and paper, not yours.
Save yourself the bother of having to reconcile piles of paper cheques and invoices, remittance notes and statements. Save on stationery and trips to the bank or post office too. How? Online payments, banking and cloud accounting software and services are now so reliable and secure, there’s really no reason to go back to paper.
Using a web based management solution that can be accessed anywhere, anytime via your browser is a slick, modern solution for your day-to-day operations. Without the need to print out and carry around trails of paper documents in the office, not only will your workplace look neat and tidy, it will make it much easier to share the files electronically.
One final word of advice, though. While hardcopy storage is soften branded obsolete, there are some valid reasons for keeping paper documents, such as
Longevity – Paper documents have a shelf life of 200 years or so if stored correctly. Digital storage technology may become obsolete or redundant much sooner.
Authenticity – If there is a legal requirement to produce original documents, perhaps with original signatures, digital versions are of no use.
Security – Electronic records can be hacked and your data compromised. Digital files can corrupt and data may be lost. Unless you’re vigilant about security, paper archives may be the safer option.