How to go paperless

The decision to go paperless is by far the easiest step, what follows is an exercise in self control, motivation, persistence, and diligence. Here are a few items that should be considered and implemented when going paperless:

1. Take a look around your workspace, try to estimate just how much paper is occupying your space and can it really be eliminated. As mentioned before, some documents are barred from being digitized and copyrighted material cannot be converted from one medium to another, i.e. a paper document which is copyrighted cannot be transferred to a computer and expected to retain its validity.

If you are trying to figure out how much space a typical file cabinet occupies, the answer is 2.5 square feet – that can amount to a lot space. Now we can break that down even further and calculate the cost of the paper being held



inside the file cabinet as well as the cost of the space the file cabinet occupies. Multiply by the value of that floor area and you might get a cost from $25 to $100 per year for the space. Assuming 2,000 sheets/foot of file space, a typical 4-drawer cabinet might have a capacity of 16,000 sheets.  Assuming it is just 75% full, it would contain 12,000 sheets or 24 reams.  At $5.00/ream, this is $120 of paper, and so the value of the floor area is often comparable to an annual paper purchase cost of the paper in it.

2. You must establish alternative ways to get rid of the excess paper, there are many solutions for this and nearly every possible form of paper based communication has a digital counterpart – including signatures, faxes, photocopiers, pictures, letters, forms, databases, etc.

3. I previously mentioned the use of a scanner that converts scans to PDF documents, this is a huge time saver and a good way to organize files. When scanning old documents or files don’t just scan a folder’s contents without looking at them, make sure the documents are actually needed or else you will be wasting space on your hard drive. If you are paying someone else to scan the contents of your paper inventory have someone with the knowledge to separate the folders beforehand that way they can just be scanned without wasting time double checking. Create a schedule of folders or files to scanned, this makes it easier and won’t result in large portions of your files being inaccessible.

4. Make sure that everyone around you is on the same page, a paperless office can work on a small scale but to really make it noticeable it should be done on a larger scale. Implement the paperless office concept and actually follow through with it, it will more than likely be a great decision.

Below is a quick video with a few steps to help you go paperless, enjoy!