Step away from the filing cabinet

If you were asked whether you’d like to be able to share information more easily, free up storage space, improve business productivity and to increase your response time to your customers you’re likely to say yes, aren’t you? These are the kind of things that can give your business the competitive edge and improve your environmental credentials – sounds too good to be true? The answer is that it’s not – provided you rely less on paper and more on electronic document management.

Going ‘paper-free’ has been proven to offer a pretty return on investment: managing paper costs an awful lot of money and when you think about the costs involved in buying paper, printing costs, copying equipment and supplies, paper storage systems and then the price of postage and couriers, it can all start to seem very expensive indeed.

Electronic communication has been around for some time now and the possibility of a paperless office isn’t quite the futuristic idea it once was. However, although the technology now exists to turn the dream of a paperless office into a reality, it doesn’t look like this is about to happen any time soon. On the other hand, it is possible to take a few relatively simple steps towards moving away from your reliance on paper, files, folders and filing cabinets – all of which need space, time and money to manage.

Rather than setting an unrealistic goal of going completely paper-free, it perhaps better to introduce paper-free systems or processes one at a time. For example, you could start by introducing a policy to convert every paper document into digital as soon as it arrives in the office. This can prove to be highly effective – and surprisingly easy to implement – especially if it helps to cut down or even eliminate the amount of internal mail you, and your employees, have to deal with.

If you’d like to start the move towards a paper-free office, it can be helpful by starting with an audit of the types of paper your businesses uses such as contracts, invoices, receipts or personal correspondence, for example. Look at where paper is dragging your business down, any areas where paper is reducing flexibility or taking up too much space in the office. Work out what the biggest problem is and tackle that first – you’ll soon notice the difference.

A whole range of electronic calendars and project management systems are available; these are a cheap and easy way to cut down on paper and that seemingly endless round of documents which seem to be passed from one office department to another. Or why not try putting just a couple of hours a week aside to devote to document scanning and then shredding any paperwork which has recently accumulated, such receipts or the minutes of meetings? A few simple steps such as these really can make all the difference.

Going paper free can seem very daunting and if you feel unsure of your expertise, why not consider consulting a specialist document management company? The benefits are clear and wide-reaching and the sooner you get started on your journey towards a paper-free office, the sooner you’ll start to see a return on your investment.


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