By Bob Milliken
A paperless office is one of the simplest ways a company can minimize clutter and mess, and also help contribute to making business operations more green and environment friendly.
Having a paperless office essentially means drastically decreasing the use and consumption of paper in the office. While this may seem like a small issue, it actually impacts your business more than you might think. Just calculate the cost of buying paper and ink for your entire business over the course of a whole year. A transition to a paperless office can not only save money, but can also affect operations by making things much more convenient and efficient.
With the emergence of cloud computing and the growing importance of mobility, the time could not be better to invest in equipment and technologies that make paper use more efficient for when you need to use it – for example, printers that allow you to print on both sides or scale down images. Here are some other actions you can take:
• Scan everything to create digital copies.
• Setup paperless faxing through multifunction printers
• Setup electronic signatures for situations where signatures are required.
• Take digital notes with tools like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.
• Reduce where you can’t eliminate.
• Assess which paper records you can recycle (or shred then recycle).
• Share web links through email or IM instead of printing
• Distribute presentations using online file sharing tools such as DropBox and SlideShare
A paperless operation also enables you to better secure the data that you store. For example, you can set limits on the kind of data and information that is available to employees and workers based on their position and job description.
Electronic storage and data management allow authorized employees to have access to information faster and more efficiently. With well-organized file sharing and other document collaboration options, your people can get the documents they need in real time. Online backups also give you a contingency in case of unforeseen circumstances or natural disasters that can compromise your data.
Most of us aren’t very good at organizing our data and sometimes it is a challenge to remember where we stored our files. Simply moving the same old bad habits of organization, access and collaboration into the paperless office is probably not going to be what you are looking for.
Of course, we can’t really completely eliminate our use of paper. You may also want to consider going “paper-lite” instead of “paperless” as even small changes can go a long way toward a paperless office and healthier environment – and lower operating costs.
Different businesses need different systems and approaches to going paperless. The real drivers behind the paperless office is the business need to improve productivity, improve efficiencies, optimize business processes, and reduce costs.
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com