Changes in technology over the past few decades have changed how we do almost everything. Innovations focus on improving our livelihoods by eliminating complicated and tedious traditional processes. One of the areas that have experienced tremendous growth is electronic communication and record-keeping.
There are a lot of online communications and records keeping platforms available today, but some individuals and businesses still linger in their use of offline, paper records. Going paperless saves a lot of time and hassle has the benefits of reduced office waste. It also does a much better job of securing your confidential information. And that’s not to mention the number of trees you’ll be helping to save!
Let’s look at our top tips on how you can go paperless at home and in the office.
Sign Up for E-Statements
Some of the typical paper junk you’ll have at home or in the office is your monthly bills and statements from the banks and utility providers. Signing up to receive electronic bills and statements instead can make an instant impact! Most companies and banks offer an electronic statement option, and some even incentivize it as it saves them time and money!
Digitize Your Documents
Lots of the paper documents you keep don’t necessarily have to be in the original paper format. You can scan the documents you need to keep and store them on a computer or any other external storage. Eliminating the paper copies after scanning will save you storage space, and keep your home and office tidy.
It is, however, essential to note that finding the scanned copies can be a challenge unless you label and organize your scans. It’s best to come up with a plan on how to arrange and label your scanned documents in advance, to save you headaches later. Saving the scanned documents in multiple places, including external hard drives, also reduces the possibility of losing the information.
Another alternative is to save scanned copies of your paperwork in cloud storage locations. Some of these sites are free, while others charge very little for a higher tier of service. You can also protect these online back-ups with a password so that no-one can access them without your knowledge!
Check out Amazon’s range of best-selling scanners here.
Make Notes using a Tablet or Cell phone
One of the least exploited methods of working paperless is taking notes using electronic devices. Note-taking apps such as Evernote can help you organize your work better, but very few people utilize the option of taking notes using their smartphones or tablets.
Taking notes using an electronic device is easy, and you can back up your records in multiple places. Retrieving electronic notes is very easy, unlike your paper copies that can easily get lost or misfiled!
Shift to E-reading
Some of the paper clutter at home may be old newspapers and magazines, which don’t need to be there if you can read them online. Nowadays, most print media companies have an online version of their publications posted on their websites.
Some of these may be free of charge or at least cost less than a printed copy. So the chances are you’ll save some money too!
There are also a variety of e-book readers in the market where you can enjoy novels and any other materials without purchasing a hard copy. Getting into e-reading habit help you eliminate the need for a bookcase, helping you to keep your home minimalist and uncluttered.
One case where it’s still difficult to avoid physical paperwork is when there’s a need to sign some documents. Any physical contracts and agreements usually require your signature, but that doesn’t mean you have to print them – see if you can sign it electronically instead!
The use of e-signatures are usually legally binding, so there’s no need to break out your pen. You only have to write your signature on a piece of paper once, and then scan it: then you can insert it on any documents that need a signature!
Use Digital Receipts
Digital receipts can have a major impact on the amount of paper in most homes and businesses. We cannot conduct business without receipts as it proves the ownership of goods, but we can shift to digital receipts.
It is easy to share digital receipts via email or any other electronic communication method, and the dealer keeps an electronic copy. Paper receipts are liable to get lost or damaged in time, but a digital receipt remains pristine and always available.
Use Electronic Communication
One of the easiest ways to reduce paperwork in the office is by eliminating the use of paper communication such as memos and letters. Emails and SMS send information faster than letters that have to go through snail mail. The recipient will also be able to reply quicker, and all the parties will have both copies of the communication.
Conduct Paperless Meetings
Most offices produce a lot of paperwork during meetings. These documents are mostly in the form of hand-outs and the mote books issued to the participants. Businesses can reduce such paperwork through electronic means. For example, the information can be shared using a projector instead of printing handouts.
It is also easier to share the information through an organization’s network instead of the participants taking paper notes. Making sure your business has the right hardware – such as giving everyone an iPad to load meeting documents – will be a big help here.
Schedule Regular Audits
Changing from paperwork-dependent to paperless is a process that needs to be audited regularly. Regular audits will help you identify any flaws that are slowing down the process. Going paperless as an individual tends to be easier than in an office where people may be resistant to change.
The management in working environments needs to be rigorous in helping the staff own the process!
Another tip on how to go paperless is by shopping online, rather than in-store. Most retail stores have online sales platforms where you can pay the same price as you would in-store. You might have to pay delivery, but then again you’d also have to buy gas to get to the store!
Paying online means that your receipts are also available in your bank statements. Online receipts are easier to track than paper ones that require a lot of effort to organize!
Ready To Start!?
All the above tips are simple and easy to implement as they are mainly about behavioral change. If you keep lots of paperwork, there are a lot of safer electronic filing methods such as storing scanned copies in a hard drive or an online backup site. Reducing paper copies will save you time and money, and it also helps the environment!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog to see what else we’ve been up to. Until next time folks!