• Michael Bolt

The Paperless Office

While it’s easier said than done, going paperless can be a very good decision for your business. Significantly reducing your paper usage or completely eradicating it is a great way to do your bit for the environment. Additionally, you will feel the difference to your wallet; the cost of paper, printer toner and mailing fees mount up a lot more than you would expect. Finally, the added convenience of storing documentation electronically will improve productivity across your business. So how do you go paperless?

Replace Letters and Memos with Email Email is already a massive part of how most businesses operate but many can do much more. For starters, set up electronic billing for all of your business expenses. Whether it’s the water bill, electric bill or anything else, opt to have it delivered by email. Not only does this reduce your paper usage but you can easily search through your past bills to keep track of what you’re spending.

Depending on the nature of your business you should be able to do the same for the opposite too. Choose to send out invoices by email rather than in the post and keep as many other communications as possible to email and the phone.

Do you run the sort of office that regularly organises events or staff parties? If you do you will no doubt have a message board that advertises these events to your employees. Encourage organisers to send out email invites rather than wasting paper.

Cloud Services and Online Collaboration The age of the cloud is here with many major technology companies pushing their cloud services; from Apple’s iCloud to Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive everyone wants a piece of the action. All of these services give the user an expandable amount of cloud storage in which to keep all of their documents. For many who don’t trust technology, paper copies of documents have been the ultimate backup solution but with cloud storage you can be almost certain that your digital documents will remain safe.

Google Drive can be helpful in other ways. Online collaboration with colleagues through the Google Docs service put an end to the days of printing out a work in progress for someone to look over, make notes and amend. You can now simply give access to your document to anyone you want and have them make the changes right there while you watch on your own screen from the other side of the office.

All of these services from the big players are still playing catchup to the elder statesman of the cloud storage world, Dropbox. Since it was launched in 2008 Dropbox has offered users a free cloud storage solution with the extra space earnt from referrals and larger expansions for a fee. They now have apps for all of the major mobile platforms and offer a plan specifically tailored to businesses.

What About Old Documents Unless your business is brand new there are almost definitely filing cabinets and old boxes bursting at the brim with historic documents. It is of course very important to keep hold of these documents because you never know when you might need some data stored within them but there is a better way.

Simply scan all of these old documents in and keep electronic copies in the cloud before recycling the paper copies. You will be doing your bit for the environment and also making it much easier to find what you’re looking for if you ever need anything from the documents.

These are just a handful of the ways you can negate the need for paper in your office. It’s impossible to cover every one of them but with all of the fantastic advancements in business improving technologies that have come over the past few years and continue to evolve, you can almost guarantee that there is a way to replace paper in any situation with an electronic alternative.

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