3 Steps to a Paperless Office

Remember Steve Carell’s The Office?

It’s about the daily hi-jinks that happen at a paper company. Now it seems so passé and retro. Who needs that much paper these days?

Today’s modern offices are undergoing three major transitions. The first is shift to a standing desk to improve your overall health. The second is to work mobile, almost from any location. And the last is to eliminate the need for paper.

We’re in a new era and how we work is evolving. Besides the desire to lessen our paper waste for environmental reasons, we also want more freedom to create streamlined businesses. And eliminating the piles of paper on our desk helps us achieve that goal.

Here’re a few ideas to help you ditch your desk’s inbox and lower the amount of paper that flows through your office:

Just Ask

One of the biggest culprits in the paper war are monthly bills. You get a monthly statement and maybe another one if you’re a few days late paying. One or two envelopes on your desk is no big deal. But one bill each for water, heat, electricity, internet, sewer, credit cards and subscriptions. It can add up quickly.

So just ask. Many utility and credit card companies offer paperless billing options. Our local water company isn’t that advanced and we will always get a paper bill from them. But you’ll significantly lower paper clutter even if you reduce your paper bills by 50%.Learn how to e-Sign

Learn How to e-Sign

One aspect that stops some businesses from going paperless is the mistaken belief that they won’t be able to sign documents. However, e-signatures are legally valid and carry the same legal weight as handwritten signatures because of the federal government’s ESIGN Act of 2000.

You can’t e-sign documents if you need a notary (like wills and court orders) but you can sign most contracts. You can also use an e-signature service if you have high value documents and want a little more security.

Use Mobile Tools

One easy transition to a paperless office is to start using apps that eliminate the need for paper. The king of these is Evernote. It’s the equivalent of a million sticky notes now completely organized and inside your smartphone. You can even turn your smartphone into a scanner with apps like TurboScan, which can turn pictures into PDF’s.

Every office has different needs, so start with identifying where you’re using a lot of paper and see if there’s an app that may do the same thing.

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Ready to Evolve Your Business?

The move towards a completely paperless office takes a bit of time and some tweaking along the way. There are aspects of my business that will never be paperless, yet that hasn’t stopped me from trying. I’m tired of a cluttered desk and endless trips to the recycling plant down the street. I’m also tired of shredding any document with my financial information on it. Thankfully, my bank started offering e-statements this year which has helped tremendously, especially since I manage all my banking accounts online anyway.

So if you’re ready to make the switch, start small. One step at a time. Check out your paperless options. Before you know it, you’ll be paper free and your entire office will fit into the palm of your hand.