Going Paperless: 5 Steps to a Paperless Office

Updated: Jan 27

In today’s more environmentally minded world, businesses are constantly looking for more ways to improve their environmental footprint. You can find this throughout all areas of businesses from their office furniture and workplace design to their recycling policy.

This environmentally conscious approach to business has sparked several office designs trends which affect the workplace. Key among these office trends is going paperless. Many environmentally conscious businesses are going paperless and perhaps you want to too but are uncertain of how to do it. In this post, we have broken down the key steps to help you properly prepare for turning your office paperless.

Step 1: Create A Plan

The old adage “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” certainly rings true when it comes to turning a business paperless. The bigger the business and the more avenues there are for paper to mount up within your workplace, the more a plan is needed. However, this does not mean newer or smaller companies can just wing their approach to going paperless.

Everyone needs a plan. The plan can be as simple as writing the four steps below on a checklist and adding a few actionable steps specific to your business. Alternatively, it can be a complex web of actions that spread company-wide across several departments. Either way, write down a plan – it will serve as a good way to keep yourself on track.

Step 2: Keep It Legal

Before you start implementing your plan make sure everything is legal. Going paperless is great but not if it means breaking the law. In some cases, you may need to handwrite a signature on important documents, or you may be required to retain physical copies of something. This will technically prevent you from being completely paperless but make these small compromises to keep everything legal and focus on removing paper use where you can.

Step 3: Get the Team On Board 

You cannot make your company paperless on your own. A paperless office requires an office-wide effort. Bring people on board and show them the new systems you are putting in place to reduce paper use. Make sure you clearly articulate the purpose of going paperless. Are you doing it for environmental reasons or will making everything digital make things run more efficiently? Whatever your reasoning, share it with your office. They will be far more inclined to play their role if they know the reason behind it.

Step 4: Set Up Proper Document Management

If you are going paperless, your filing cabinet is going to see a lot less use, but you still need to store your documents somewhere. Even digital documents need properly storing. When going paperless, take the time to set up a new document management system. Factor in everything from the word processor you will use to cloud-based storage. You may have most of the essentials in place but when removing paper from the office you may find a few holes in your filesharing capabilities. Does everyone that needs access to a document to have it? Is the document only restricted to those who need access? Make sure you answer all these questions when updating your new file management system.

Step 5: Scan Existing Paper Documents

Don’t just start shredding documents. We want to get rid of the paper, but we don’t want to get rid of important documents. Make scans of all your documents before you shred them in case you ever need to access them again. Remember to keep any documents you need to have physical copies of. You may have a lot of documents to scan which is why we set up our document management first. Make sure you file all these documents away properly, correctly naming them and giving access to the necessary people within your organisation.

Going paperless can have a big impact on both the environment and your internal productivity. If you are ready to stop wasting time waiting for your documents to print take your office paperless using the steps outlined above.