Turbine’s mission is to make the paperless office a reality. We want to banish bureaucracy. One part of that journey is to reduce, and eventually, eliminate the amount of paper we deal with.
Ironically, despite a huge investment in IT, offices have more paper than ever before. This has to change. So here are some tips to help you get rid of it:
Reduce paper output
- Recycle paper your old printouts. I take old printed documents, cut them in half to get a pile of A5 scrap paper sheets for notes and scribbles. They’re cheaper than Post-It notes.
- Print on both sides. I have an HP Colour LaserJet CM2320fxi multifunction printer in my office. It does double-sided copying and printing, which almost halves the amount of paper.
- Print two sheets on one. Again my printer (and most printers) can print two pages side-by-side on a single piece of paper. If you combine this with double-siding, you can cut the amount of paper you print out by 75%.
- Use a scanner. My printer can scan to email and, with a bit of coaxing, to a network folder (my old printer did this much better but it broke). So I try to scan in any non-critical documents and store them electronically. A NeatDesk Scanner would also work very well.
- Backup your paper. I’m a pilot in my spare time and I learned a neat trick from my instructor – use a digital camera to ‘backup’ my logbook and licence. That way I have a copy of all those flights and the sign-offs etc. in case I lose the original paper document. Using a camera is quicker and easier than scanning for books and other awkward documents.
- Use your iPhone / Blackberry. A document scanner on your smartphone is a neat way to digitise receipts and documents when you are out of the office – it manipulates the image to square it up and adjust the contrast. But the regular camera in your phone is a reasonable alternative.
- Scan business cards. Who has a Rolodex now? Better to scan people’s business cards directly into your address book. I use Business Card Reader on my iPhone.
- Dropbox. I love DropBox. It’s a neat way to store, backup and share documents. You can use it in a small office as a kind of digital filing cabinet. Also, it’s a great way to share documents with other people. For example, I upload scans of all my invoices and receipts so my accountant can use them to do the books.
- Weed out old documents. Yes, we have filing cabinets here. But every time someone pulls out a file, we try to digitise as much as possible and recycle out-of-date or redundant files. The objective is to shrink the files and eventually reduce them to just one filing cabinet drawer full of the most essential or legally-required documents. (In my old business, we had a basement filled with four-drawer filing cabinets. I don’t want that to happen again.)