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Ways to Go Paperless at Work

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Filing Cabinets: A Thing of the Past?

Tall and grey or decorative to blend in with the furniture, filing cabinets have been an office staple for over 100 years. But thanks to the wonders of digital filing, they could be going by the wayside. Every day, software developers are honing online filing systems that will organize and file your paperwork away appropriately. How can this kind of software help your business, you might ask?

  • There is zero paper being used, which is kinder to Mother Earth and is more cost-effective for the company. Less paper being used equals less to buy — and that applies to toner and printers too!
  • Between obtaining the document from someone else, leaving it somewhere to be filed and finally getting to putting it away, there are too many steps when it comes to this process. Things get lost and accidents happen. Digitial file systems eliminate the middle man entirely by instantly accessing and putting documents where they belong.
  • Do you work with sensitive documents that are for specific eyes only? If security is a concern then you have nothing to worry about: Different levels of protection can be set, which grants only designated users permission to the files.
  • Clutter is gone! It’s amazing how much freer you feel when you have finally gotten rid of the extra junk that’s taking up space. And with the giant filing cabinets gone, you finally have room for the coffee station you’ve been wanting to set up.

According to the Agenda…

Most staff meetings come with an agenda that details how the meeting will go. That’s good information but in reality, why does everybody need a printed copy of their own?

  • Share the document via email or Google so that you know that all staff received a copy. They can print it or read it or ignore it if they wish, but at least you know you haven’t made 30 copies that will ultimately end up in the trash bin.
  • If you have access to a projector, display the meeting agenda on the wall to ensure that everyone can see it. Having it on display like that can also help keep conversations on track and ensure that important matters are discussed.
  • Does your company send out meeting follow-up notes too? Don’t waste the ink and paper by printing it; so few people actually read them that it’s simply not worth it. Again, email it or share it with your team instead of giving everyone their own copy.

Upcycle Old Paper

Since printers are brats, we are all guilty of printing out more than one job that we didn’t mean to print. Rather than immediately toss the extra unwanted pages into the trash can, find creative ways to upcycle them.

  • A teacher’s trick for using up old paper is to make DIY notepads. It’s such a simple hack: Cut paper to the desired size and stack it blank-side-up. Run a thin layer of rubber cement over top the stack and viola! Pull-apart notepads.
  • If you don’t have a laptop handy, use these extras as scratch paper for the next staff meeting you have to go to.
  • Even though CDs are quickly going the way of the 8-track, there are still some software companies that insist on using them. Use an extra printed sheet as a makeshift envelope for holding CDs or DVDs if you lose the case.

Creativity is only as limited as your imagination. If you hate using paper and want to get your office to go paperless, suggest ways of doing so to your supervisor. If you are the supervisor, start making changes and get your staff onboard. It’s not difficult to use less paper, the real challenge is breaking everybody of their old habits. Be patient with your coworkers; some people are less tolerant of change than others. However it happens, though, remember that using less paper looks better for you as a company, but also is your small contribution in helping to save the planet.

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