[3 Minute Read]
Paperless Office Guide; Tools for a Paperless Office
Imagine a traditional office. Paper notepads on every desk, post-it notes, drawers full of paper contracts, invoices, and other documents. Countless photocopies and dust bins full of shredded paper.
Now… Imagine an office without paper. A tablet instead of a notepad on every desk. No overflowing drawers and bins. Plants and space instead of filing drawers.
Or, even better. Imagine a fully virtual office. All employees working from their homes or co-working spaces. Sharing notes, mail, and contracts electronically.
Whatever you’re aiming for, this blog will give you the tools to ditch a paper office once and for all.
Top Tools For a Paperless Office
We have combined a list of tools that will help you go paperless.
Virtual Mailbox; Get Your Mail Electronically
Most people don’t even realize it’s possible to receive their physical mail electronically. It’s possible, affordable, and easy to do. You can set everything up in minutes!
A virtual mailbox is a service offered by companies that receive mail on your behalf, then scan and upload it to a platform for you. Read more about it here.
A virtual mailbox lets you access your mail from anywhere in the world. All your mail is securely stored in the cloud. You can download it, forward it, and manage it all from the platform.
Sign up to a virtual mailbox in minutes, click here.
Good Note Taking; Organized and Clean Notes
Paper notepads end up messy. Post-its end up lost, never to be found again. How many times have you turned your office upside down, looking for those notes? How many times important information got lost and caused chaos?
Electronic note applications make it easy to organize and share your minutes, thinking, and to-do lists.
You can also invest in a tablet with a stylus, like the iPad Pro, for note taking.
Scanning Apps; Scan From Your Mobile
Gone are the days of expensive scanners. At the end of the day, you’re trying to move out of the office, not buy more office equipment.
If your phone camera doesn’t have the automatic scanner function, you can download a scanner app from your App Store. Scanner apps automatically detect document edges, correct the perspective and contrast. They can also convert your documents into pdf format.
We recommend Adobe Scan, Fine Scanner or Genius Scan. But pretty much any scanning app will do the same thing for you.
Cloud Storage; Keep Your Files Safe
We had to rely on physical storage like CDs, USBs, and hard disks in the past. Now, everything is up in the cloud.
Storing all your documents in the cloud means that you can forget having a physical office. Your entire organization can access the documents from anywhere, anytime.
E-SING Tools; No More In-Person Meetings
Electronic signatures are widely used and accepted. It’s so much easier to sign an electronic contract than to sign a paper copy that needs to be printed, signed, photocopied, then scanned.
Online Notarization; Fast and Easy Notary Appointments
Following up on E-signatures, you’ll probably find that a lot of your documents need to be notarized. Luckily, this isn’t a problem since remote notaries are available.
An appointment with a remote notary is done via a video conference call. You can read more about remote notarization here.
Electronic notarization is affordable and easy to do. Click here to read more.
Accounting Tools; Bye Bye Receipts and Invoices
The nightmare of businesses and accountants alike is the filing and organization of all invoices, statements, and receipts. These folders usually end up messy and waste a lot of time.
Bookkeepers spend countless hours organizing receipts and looking for missing documents to be able to file the tax returns properly.
Good accounting software will automatically organize all your documents. All you’ll have to do is get into the habit of uploading everything regularly.
Some software will even automatically complete your returns, especially if you’re a small business.
What Does It Truly Mean to Have a Paperless Office?
A truly paperless office is one that just doesn’t use paper for things like note taking, contracts, leaflets, invoices, mail, etc. It is based on electronic solutions instead.
Is It Possible to Have a Paperless Office?
Yes. Now, more than ever, it’s easier to go paperless. Emails, virtual mailboxes, accounting software, online notaries, cloud storage, these are the tools that were designed to help us go paperless.
It takes a little bit of determination to go fully paperless, especially if you’re still operating from a physical office. This is because going paperless means you have to overcome old habits. It takes persistence.
How Do You Encourage Employees and Customers to Go Paperless?
You can encourage employees to go paperless by investing in equipment like iPads so they can take notes electronically. You can also reward employee that go paperless. You’ll be saying on stationary anyway.
You can also look at your current processes, cut out any unnecessary paperwork that may be encouraging paper use. This will make it easier for your employees.
Employees are easier to convince than customers.
Some customers just want paper copies of everything. In those cases you can do your part electronically and your customers can print the documents as and when they wish.
If you really want to go paperless then you should educate both, employees and customers, on the benefits and best practices.
Is a Paperless Office More Efficient?
A paperless office can be more efficient as it will make filing and retrieving documents much faster. Also, things like signatures and mail can be done instantly.
In terms of costs, a paperless office will save on stationery costs. This isn’t just pen and paper. Maintenance of photocopiers, ink, electricity use by these machines.
If you have a physical office, you’ll quickly find that when your filing cabinets go, you don’t need to occupy as much space. So, you might save on costs by moving your office to a smaller space or even by going completely remote.
Going paperless carries many benefits such as decreased costs, more office space, the possibility of going remote and, reduced environmental impact. It can also speed up work and make it easier.