Going Paperless at the Office

Nate Dobbins

Having just begun a new job in an office setting where a lot of paperwork is involved, I’ve made it one of my personal goals to reduce my office’s paper trail significantly. In the particular field that I work in, it would be nearly impossible to get rid of paper entirely; however, there can still be great gains even from just making reductions in the amount of paper that flows through the office. Here are some reasons to go paperless:

  • Less clutter: you’ll have less documents to wade through when you’re trying to find any particular document.

  • Access your documents anywhere: if you’re using a cloud storage service (more on that later), you’ll have access to your documents anywhere you have an internet connection.

  • Save money: you won’t need to spend any more money on paper, ink/toner, printers, or file cabinets (also saving you space).

  • Being green!

The first step is deciding how you’re going to store your documents. If your office has shared documents, the best way is to use a cloud storage service. The three main services are Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and DropBox. If you or your office is ingrained in any of Google’s or Microsoft’s other services, their respective storage services would probably be the best choice, as they interact seamlessly in each system. If not, then DropBox may be the best choice. All three are fairly straightforward and easy to use.

Once you’ve decided which service to use, it’s as easy as uploading all your files to the service (if you don’t have them on a computer then you’ll have to scan them or recreate them) and then ‘sharing’ the documents with all your co-workers who need access to them (usually done with their email address). It’ll also be useful, especially if you have a lot of files, to carefully organize them into folders – you’ll save yourself time in the future if your documents are organized well.

Hopefully by reducing your office’s paper load you’ll save your office time and money – plus, you’ll reduce your and your co-workers’ ecological footprint!

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