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6 tips for a ‘paperless’ office from Microsoft

26 Aug 2008 | | No Comment

The Microsoft Small Business Center has published 6 tips for a ‘paperless’ office. Here’s a summary:

  1. Without paper, make sure you’re backing up files.
  2. Realize that a paperless office doesn’t happen overnight.
  3. You’ll need to rearrange your office.
  4. “Paperless” often really means “less paper”.
  5. Everyone has to buy in.
  6. Realize that less paper is just the beginning of the payoff.

Personally I think points 1, 3 and 4 are the most important.

If you’re storing all of your important files on a computer, and you aren’t backing them up on a different hard disk, then you’re walking on very thin ice. You should really be taking full advantage of the fact that computers offer something that a physical filing cabinet stuffed with paper cannot offer: cheap, easy and quick replication. To copy every single piece of paper in a filing cabinet, and then physically transport those copied documents to another location is expensive and time consuming, but to do the same with an electronic database full of files is much, much simpler.

Tips 3 and 4 are important too because for a lot of people and businesses, it’s just not possible to go completely paperless. So when trying to implement a paperless office, the goal should be to identify the key areas where moving to an electronic workflow, instead of a paper workflow, is going to save money and increase efficiency, and not cause more headaches than it prevents. And hopefully by being reasonable and thoughtful in your implementation of a paperless office, you’ll most likely find it easier to get people to buy in to it too.

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