The Paperless Office

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[Image courtesy of GraphicStock.com.]

Ten years ago people started talking about a paperless office. I was intrigued. I researched the topic, but I never encountered any office that was truly paperless. Instead I focused on paper management and included that information in the fourth edition of Business Mastery. A decade later, we are much closer to that becoming a reality, particularly due to the advent of cloud computing and e-faxing.

We store much of our information digitally, yet we still keep hard copies of some paperwork because it is easier to reference. I keep my important papers such as contracts, legal files, and tax returns in a fireproof filing cabinet. Other records such as old receipts are stored in boxes in a closet—although very soon those will be scanned to a digital format, and the paper shredded and recycled.

We have also reduced the amount of paper we generate. It’s been more than a year since I last ordered paper! Many of our customers have switched from requiring hard copies of invoices to allowing us to send digital invoices. We’ve condensed our print promotional materials and rely on our website to provide much of that information. Yet, sometimes handing someone a piece of paper is important….

I recently read a great blog by Sarah Cafiero from Massamio. It’s titled, ”How to run a paperless massage therapy practice.” She provides creative ideas (along with helpful links) for eliminating paper clutter.

I don’t think we can totally eliminate paper quite yet. Even with reducing our output, we still receive masses of junk mail and ad slicks, not to mention magazines and catalogs. We have separate trash and paper recycling bins at each desk. We also have 3 boxes for magazines and such. We shred all the regular bond paper and then every couple of months we take the bags of shredded paper, boxes of glossy paper and flattened cardboard boxes (that are too damaged to re-use) to the recycling center.

How have you reduced your paper clutter?