Digitise all your documents and invest in new technology to adopt a digital culture.

3 ways to a paperless office

In an age defined by technology, data and all things digital, it is any wonder why we’re so hung up on paper, but, as is no doubt clear to all reading this, it’s prevalence is manifest. Simply put, we one, can’t get enough of it, and two, struggle to get rid of it.

As we noted in a previous post, paper’s persistence runs contrary to what was expected when computers first started to make a notable impact on office life in the mid-seventies. Everyone back then was confident that within a generation at least, paper would be somewhat obsolete.

Not so. As one example of how ingrained paper is in the culture of the workplace, Forrester Research estimates that we make up to one billion photocopies a day. Any denomination with a billion is extraordinary, let alone hitting that tally on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, more so today than ever before, kicking the “paper habit” is more achievable. While you’ll never quite get rid of it completely- for now that is - you can certainly migrate to a paper-lite office. Here are three key ways to making this happen.

Digitise past and present documents

It’s now possible to archive all your physical documents and give them a digital makeover. Once you’ve done your entire catalogue, you’ll be in a better position to adopt a digital-first way of working.

Make it a rule to cut down on how much paper is used - which is explained below - and whenever you do engage with paper (which is inevitable), for it to be quickly transformed into an electronic version.

Invest in technology

The standard in office equipment is, of course, a desktop but more and more, with schemes such as BYOD (bring your own device), the quality of tech entering into an office is evolving. It’s getting better.

Build on this by investing in new technology that supports more creative and flexible ways of working, while also reducing the dependence on paper. Tablets are a great way of bridging between the old and new - there are plenty of apps that duplicate note-taking for example.

Establish a paperless culture

It is certainly true that shifting people away from paper is going to take a bit of effort, but it’s important, for existing and new members of staff, that you emphasise why you’re looking to go paperless.

Back this up with data and, moreover, incentivise them to be part of this new way of working. They really have to take ownership of it and believe in the virtues of what it is you’re trying to achieve. It’ll take time, but eventually, it’ll click.

← view more blog posts