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Is a paperless office a pipe dream?

Whether it’s for cost, or for the climate, a lot of us are trying to cut down the amount of paper we use at work. But is TOTALLY paperless office a reality, or just a nice idea?


Hi everyone! Zarte here! Be right with you in a moment, I’m just finishing up reading the morning papers online...

OK, you’ve got my attention. Oh? Why am I reading the news online? Well it’s because I’m trying to see whether I can make my office paperless!

Sure, I know that’s not really what paperless means, but you’ll know, if you’ve read these articles for long enough that I sure do love a tenuous link!

What paperless really means is to move away from using paper to... keep your orders, keep your customers information, prepare your staff and so on – instead, optimising your usage of technology to do the same things, but without having to use so many additional resources, with mountains of paper, and potentially printing supplies too setting you back.

But is a truly paperless office attainable now, or in the near future? Or is it all just a lovely pipe dream? Well, we don’t have all the answers, but we can try and break it down to see whether options are available to try and at least get everyone moving in the right direction.

First of all, we have to face the negative. You are never, ever, at least in our working lifetime, going to be able to stop everyone from sending you paper correspondence. Unfortunately, that is just one of those things that’s inescapable, and whether It’s contracts, bills, sales pitches, payments, or anything else – you will always find yourselves getting a delivery from the postman in the morning. However, several companies have taken a big step to making even that as paperless a process, by investing in a shredder. When your post arrives, items that need dealing with either now, or later, or just keeping for posterity, can be scanned into a computer and saved as a file, with the original paper copy going through a shredder – the shreds can then be recycled at put to good use at a later point.

Companies can use an awful lot of paper for menial tasks and keeping a track of process, and progress. The issue with doing this is that one of two things will happen. Either everybody gets their own sheet of paper, meaning that it’s impossible for everyone to keep up with what’s been happening, and be on the same page at the same time, or alternatively, one piece of paper goes around, but that still means that only those handling it at the time are in the know, or you’re all gathering around one piece of paper. A way of avoiding this is to use a task manager such as the one that Office 365 provides, or come up with your own solution that you can access from tablets and then issue your staff with tablets. For certain tasks such as managing engineers, this could also be done with our Business Data Toolkit – yep, the one that we’ve got a great offer on this month. Hey – we never miss an opportunity to get a plug in for one of our own products!

How about billing? Billing is something that traditionally has always been done with a paper invoice, but now more and customers are actually REQUESTING a digital invoice. If you’re truly trying to go paperless, then asking customers to help you by making the change to accepting digital invoices from you could be a great way to go. Of course this doesn’t work for every person, and so there will always be exceptions, however trying to move existing customers this way, and making it standard practise for new customers could improve your usage no end.

These do not make an exhaustive list of all the ways you can cut your paper consumption down – indeed there is probably a plethora of things I haven’t even thought of yet, let alone included. So why don’t you drop us a note with some of YOUR ideas for things that we could all be doing to make every office a digitalised, paperless utopia! OK, utopia might be a bit too far, but at least a place where we can all feel we’re doing our bit, both for our business’ coffers AND for the environment.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,