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A paperless office is often seen as something of a gimmick, but the less paper we use, the better it is for the environment – a point discussed in this article by GoCanvas.com. You can’t create a paperless office overnight, even if you are setting up a business from scratch. Clients may still need hard copies of documents and there could be regulatory requirements to store some documents on-site. However, thanks to technology, it is possible to do away with more paper than you might think.
#1: Request Online Billing
Most suppliers offer online billing these days. It saves them – and you – money. However, you will probably have to opt-in to this. Otherwise, paper bills will continue to arrive. You don’t need to print off a copy of your bill. The Inland Revenue Service will accept soft-copies of bills for accounts purposes. Download your bills and store them in a folder so you can access them for accounts purposes.
#2: Print to PDF
Why print to paper when you can print to PDF and share via email or the cloud? PDF documents are far easier to deal with thanks to online sharing tools. There are free PDF print tools available online, but if you need extra functionality, subscribe to Adobe or similar.
#3: File Sharing
Long gone are the days when reports had to be printed out and posted. These days, we can print to PDF and email it to multiple recipients. This is less time-consuming and you don’t need to run the gauntlet of expensive courier or postal services.
File sharing is now a thousand times easier thanks to Google Docs, Microsoft 360, and tools such as Dropbox. You can share vast reams of data, in all formats, on any device. File sharing makes it much easier for employees to work remotely, which saves everyone time and money.
#4: Make it Harder to Print
If your office has a printer on every desk, is it any wonder that people are happy to print off anything and everything? To discourage people from printing unnecessary files, make it harder for them. Remove old desktop printers and install a network printer out of the way, so if they do need to print a file, they must make an effort to retrieve it. You will soon notice a reduction in print costs.
#5: Use Apps for Notetaking
Notepads are useful tools for making memos to yourself, scribbling down ideas, or taking notes during a telephone conversation. You can do away with notebooks if you download an app like Evernote. Evernote works across multiple devices and will sync with a smartphone, so you can access notes and memos from anywhere.
#6: Electronic Signatures
It’s a misconception that electronic signatures are not legally binding. Thanks to the ESIGN Act of 2000, electronic signatures are now legally valid, so you can do away with the physical signing, even on legal documents such as contracts.
You won’t be able to discard all paper in the office, but paper usage can be mitigated if you recycle it as much as possible. Use discarded paper for making notes and print on both sides of the sheet if you absolutely must print out a document.