How to Achieve a Paperless Office

Achieving a paperless office is a great way to go green for the New Year. Going paperless reduces the carbon footprint for your office, saves money, increases efficiency and promotes sound data organization. Here are some ideas and tips that are easy to implement and are zero cost.

Request Electronic Files from Vendors: Paper documents that are usually received by external entities such as vendors can be scanned and saved as a PDF file on your computer system. However, why not eliminate this process altogether and ask that vendors send all information electronically. If there is a high volume or size of information that needs to be distributed, consider using an online cloud based system to transfer documents such as Google Drive or DropBox.

Replace a Fax Machine with a Cloud Service: Many online services can be used that can convert a standard fax to a PDF document to store online or sent to your office via email. This is a great way for your office to have a real fax number but not need a dedicated fax machine. The use of a cloud service for receiving faxes eliminates the need to print out a fax on paper.

Print or Save Documents as a PDF: Documents that are obtained online or created as a text document or even a spreadsheet can be saved as a PDF file instead of a printed document. Often multiple formats that need to be consolidated into one document can be done through PDF. Simply convert each document into a PDF, and through the PDF tool, combine those documents into one PDF. This eliminates the need to print each document out only to re-scan it as one document. Both Adobe Acrobat and Nuance are the more popular PDF tools.

Organize Your Shared Drive: One of the barriers for many employees becoming paperless is that they aren’t sure where the data is located electronically. Shared drives, as well as local drives, are a mess and users find it difficult to find and access electronic information quickly and therefore print documents for easy access. Take time and get your shared drive organized. If you need help, download the guide “How to Organize Electronic Documents for Shared Drive Networks”

If you are interested in achieving a paperless office, then contact us for more information.

Going Paperless Reduces Carbon Footprint

For most small and medium sized businesses reducing paper consumption can significantly reduce an organizations carbon footprint. If the US cut office paper use by just 10 percent it would eliminate 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases which is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for one year. According to reduce.org, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Further paper statistics conclude that it takes an entire tree to generate 12,500 pieces paper, of which only 5% will ever be recycled.

As companies of all sizes realize the constraints that paper places on their businesses, they are exploring the many advantages offered by a paperless office, as identified in the article, Becoming a Paperless Office.

Even though the principles of a paperless company are beneficial, it can be challenging to leave behind a data format on which your business has always relied. Here are just a few easy tips that can start your business to reduce and recycle paper;

  • Use both sides of the paper. You can set your printer default to print both sides, make double-sided copies, and use the backs of single-sided documents that have served their purpose.
  • Think before you print. Double check print/copy properties before you print, only print the necessary pages, and share documents whenever possible.
  • Put forms, newsletters, articles and any other applicable documents online. Your management, employees and customers will have immediate access to what they need. 
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. If your company does not yet have a recycling program, get one started. If you have one, make sure you employees know how to properly use it. Be sure to use post-consumer recycled paper whenever possible.

Going completely paperless is a commitment that will take your company time to fully implement. A first step is getting better organized electronically Then, start by improving overall automation of processes. As identified by the numbers, if every business made improvements it would make a significant impact to climate change.