Paper is great for some things. Origami, starting fires, and heartfelt snail mail are all fantastic uses, but paper’s place in the office is dwindling.
As the demand for faster services rises, so does the need for streamlined, simpler business processes. Fortunately, the technology to help you reap the benefits of a paperless office improves every day, but even so, there’s still plenty of organizations out there with a serious paper problem. Here’s five telltale signs that you’ve got too much:
1. Your cubicles seem to be getting smaller
It’s like a much slower, drawn out scenario of “the walls are closing in.” Or maybe it’s something you don’t notice until one day, you can’t get your desk chair out. Either way, if paper is encroaching on your personal space, it’s time to rethink how you’re using it.
2. You’ve got an area designated as “the warehouse” where you send paper
Not only does “the warehouse” just sound creepy, it’s also a waste of space and possibly a waste of money if you’re paying extra for it. Documents stored like this are generally much less accessible and much easier to lose track of than their electronic counterparts. Instead of using keywords to find what you’re searching for in seconds, you’ve got to manually scour the warehouse, which is time consuming and frustrating. Save yourself and the rest of your organization the headaches, and leave the warehouse in the past.
3. The halls are lined with file cabinets
First the hallways, then your cubicles. It’s even worse if you’ve got hallways made out of file cabinets. Besides being a poor document management system, this can be dangerous, and not just for all the information inside. Before you know it, you’ve lost John the Accountant in the maze made of filing cabinets, and how do you explain that?
4. The thought of a fire or flood makes you queasy
Think of all that information that’s stored in those boxes, or in those file cabinets, and especially if they’re stored in a warehouse. A lot of it is probably the only copy in existence, and it’s all in the same spot. Storing only a hard copy of your files is a huge risk with a relatively simple solution: store it electronically, and create a back up to be stored somewhere else. That way, if anything catastrophic happens, your important information will still be safe.
5. Paper is delivered in pallets to the office
Things that should be delivered to your office in pallets: Snacks, puppies, caffeinated beverages. Things that should NOT be delivered to your office in pallets: Spiders, new employees, paper. Plus, when so much paper is available and being passed around, it’s much easier to create a culture that’s accustomed to over-using it.
Sure, there’s plenty of daily office activities that still might prevent you from being a paper-free office, but the storage of your old files is no longer one of them. Electronic documents promote efficiency with improved accessibility and easier collaboration, and storing them digitally mitigates the risk of damage or destruction to physical copies. Use “the warehouse” to house your office parties instead.
For more information on how to go paperless at work, check out the recording of our recent webinar, “The 5 Stages of Going Paperless,” below.