3 Steps Toward a Paperless Office

Copyright © 2010 Marlon Ribunal. Visit the original article at http://www.productivitybits.com/3-steps-toward-a-paperless-office.

[ Note: This is a Guest Post from James Adams. James is from a company called Cartridge Save, a leading online ink supplies specialist. ]

It used to be that people could never fathom the idea of going paperless. However, with the turn of technology and a need for greener life, many people are interested in going paperless in the office. Even beyond working towards the greener good, many people may choose to get rid of paper altogether to avoid the inevitable clutter that occurs when you use paper. To put it into perspective, try imagining all of your emails from the last month coming to you on paper – now that’s a scary thought!

These four essential tips will have you on your way to a greener, less cluttered office.

Always back up your files electronically

Normally, folks in an office would back up their essential files by photocopying it and filing it away in an aptly named folder, then placing it into a filing cabinet for archival purposes. To save on paper, some people develop a filing system through the computer, similar to the old ways, by using an office suite or another program to store documents in folders.

Organize your folders by project, client, document or by any other means necessary. However, you cannot just create these files – you need to back them up. Back them up to an external hard drive off-site.

Know that “paperless” can just translate to “less”

It is entirely possible for you to scan all documents that you receive into your computer and to take any other in-house documents and store them within your system. It is entirely possible for you to essentially eliminate the use of paper faxes by using electronic faxing, in which you generate an in-bound fax to the computer system you use. It is even possible for you to signature-stamp or electronically sign any documents which will be outgoing.

However, know that you may still be subject to paper in your office. For example, not every customer or client is going to want an electronic bill instead of the traditional method. In fact, some of your vendors may still wish to communicate through the traditional means of snail mail. For that matter, regulatory and tax requirements may continue to force you to maintain paper records of your current business, or you may need to keep a hard paper copy of previous business records or home records.

Have everybody else buy in

As the manager of a business, the owner of a business or the head of a household, you know that simply saying that you are interested in going paperless is not going to make it happen just like that. In order to make it happen, everybody else within the household or office is going to need to get on board with the idea. In any situation, change can be difficult to deal with.

Those who are used to making many photocopies, placing documents into a folder of legal size, sending a fax through traditional paper or even retaining old catalogues and mail that they cannot seem to just get rid of Р all of these people will need to make a change in the way they perceive things. They must learn a new routine in something they already had some skill in doing. The best way to achieve this is to take them through the new process one step at a time. Though it may not seem like much, this is a steep learning curve Рsome people may need to learn a new bit of software that they have never seen before, and they must learn a new environment.

These three tips will help you get on your way to a paperless office.

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