This Is A Guest Blog Post
Ever felt like your office was full of paper – apart from the particular file that you are looking for? Paper creates reams of work for a small business.
- box files,
- lever arch files,
- drop files,
- staples and clips
to manage its unwieldy bulk.
Paper needs sorting, filing, locating, unpacking, printing, recycling and mailing. With so many dead trees taking root in small and home offices many are now wondering just why they allow so much space to be taken up by things which, once finally filed, may never be referred to again.
Rebel Office Supplies recently outlined ways to improve the productivity of your business – it may come as no surprise that the majority of these involved ways to go paperless.
The truly paperless office may still be a faint glimmer on the horizon but there are ways you can start working smarter now. Here are 7 steps towards a paperless office.
1/ Get on task
Desk diaries, wall planners, to-do lists, project planners – are there not smarter ways to get things done? A diary can only be searched by flicking through its pages and it is definitely not suitable for sharing with others.
A new breed of social task management tools, however, can help your teams to collaborate, work together and share schedules. You can change schedules instantly alerting all involved and track progress in an instant.
Accessible from the web, desktop, phone and by email these collaborative to-do lists make managing and reviewing tasks transparent without any paper walls. Check out the free Producteev app, chuck out those diaries and get productive.
2/ Dust down the scanner
Before you file a piece of paper ask yourself: do I actually need to hold this physically?
- If the answer is no and you do not need it at all – recycle or shred it.
- If the answer is no but you may need to refer to it – scan it.
As a PDF its contents will be searchable and – with a good electronic filing system and sensible file name – we find at Rebel Office Supplies that it will be easy to find again anyway.
3/ Opt out
You can take some easy steps to reduce the flow of paper arriving at your office too. These include:
- Requesting electronic invoices – and resisting the urge to print them out
- Asking your bank and utility service providers to provide electronic statements and e-billing
- Paying your bills electronically through your bank
- Emailing your name and address to [email protected] to find out how you can stop unaddressed mail arriving to your business and visiting mpsonline.org.uk to stop other forms of unwanted communication.
4/ Take note
If your desk is festooned with yellow post-it notes and you are forever flicking through jotter pads for your notes then it may be time you took things electronic.
Apps for phones, PCs and tablets abound that can make every note you make easy to find and always to hand.
Notable examples include the handy Evernote, functional Microsoft OneNote and simple to use Google Keep.
5/ Make a name for yourself
You can electronically sign documents in a legally-binding way without the need to print them out, stick them in an envelope and physically mail them.
Make a name for yourself at HelloSign to start e-signing rather than resigning yourself to putting pen to paper.
6/ Drive your business forward
Work together on documents with colleagues using Google Drive and prevent the need for those marked up paper printouts. This cloud-based drive allows you to see edits made in real time and makes it simple to go back to previous versions of the document.
7/ Get free
Many administrative tasks such as invoicing can be handled digitally with the added benefit of electronic reminders acting as your hyper-efficient PA.
FreeAgent, for example, syncs with your business account and reconciles everything so that even your book keeping is done for you. With all your finances together in one neat dashboard you will be spending less time dashing after sheets of paper and more time chasing the next business opportunity.
The benefits of going paperless are many –
- it can be more efficient,
- make files more accessible,
- be more secure,
- save you time and money,
- help you work in a more environmentally friendly manner and
- make you more productive.
Like any change to a business though it needs systems putting in place and it will not happen overnight.
Start taking the above steps, though, and you will be moving in the right direction.
This Has been a Guest Blog Post By:
Cormac Reynolds, who is a lover of the world of green conscience. He has written about the subject for a number of sites.