Tips to help move towards a paperless office

Mar 08, 13 Tips to help move towards a paperless office

While a completely ‘paperless’ office is not yet a viable option for most businesses around the world, with today’s technology there’s no excuse to not be making an effort to reduce the amount of paper used in the office.

One of the easiest ways for offices to be more eco-conscious, and reduce costs, is to limit the amount of paper they use. The systems you put in place to reduce paper usage can also help to increase productivity – so really there’s no excuse to ditch the paper! Use these tips below as a starting point to making your office less reliant on paper and more eco-friendly.

Leverage cloud computing
Cloud computing is the ‘big thing’ in the world of enterprise software, and for good reason – it’s brilliant not only at reducing paper use but also for improving productivity. There are lots of free services out there you can use to securely save, share and collaborate on work documents, rather than having to print them. For starters, check out Google Drive, Huddle, SkyDrive (Microsoft) and Dropbox.

Invest in a scanner
Having a scanner handy is one of the easiest ways of getting into the ‘paperless mindset’. Get into the habit of running every bit of paper that comes across your desk through your scanner, and soon enough you’ll have every document you need right there on your desktop – which can be sent digitally to whoever else needs it. Soon you’ll wonder why you spent all that time printing out multiple copies of documents!

Use whiteboards
Any office that uses a paper presentation stand or easel is really missing a quick win when it comes to running a paperless office. Whiteboards not only remove this excess paper use, they also look a lot more professional. There’s lots of different whiteboards around these days too, from magnetic ones to fully hooked up interactive whiteboards.

Print more efficiently
Printing documents in the office may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it more efficiently. When printing, make sure to use as much of the paper as possible – rather than recklessly printing huge PowerPoint presentations without adjusting the margins. You can also reassess the company logo and letterhead and see if it’s possible to reduce the space they take up. Printing on both sides of the paper should also be considered, wherever possible, and using any excess or spoiled printing paper as scrap paper should ideally become company policy.

Encourage other businesses to follow your lead
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a paperless office is the paper you get sent from the other offices you deal with – everything from bank statements and invoices to contracts and quotes can put a serious dent into your sleek new paperless system! The best way to deal with this is to encourage these offices to do business your way. Use digital services like Echosign for contracts and request banks and suppliers to send statements and invoices electronically (most of them will do so without much hassle). You can also set up an eFax address so that if any of your clients are still living in the facsimile dark ages you will get their faxes as images on email, rather than on paper.

Invest in tablet PC’s
These are not nearly as expensive as you keep telling yourself they are, and can be a massive help in reducing paper and helping productivity. A fully sync-ed up workforce using cloud computing apps on iPads to access work documents and to make/record notes during meetings will be far more productive – and use a LOT less paper.

If you have other quick tips to help move an office towards paperless nirvana, please feel free to share them in the comments below.