How to Create a Paperless Office

Despite the digitisation of so many aspects of business, paper still seems to be everywhere. Cutting back on it is one of the most effective techniques for waste management and waste reduction. So what can you do to reduce – or even eliminate – your reliance on paper?


1. Make a list

First up, make an exhaustive list of where and when your business uses paper. Don’t leave anything out; from notes left by secretaries to annual reports, everything counts. It can be hard to keep an eye on every printer, so consider making your job easier with print tracking software.

2. Talk to your staff

It’s crucial to get your staff on board. Tell them about your vision of a paperless office, explaining your motivations and the importance of better business waste management. The change-over won’t happen overnight, but you can speed it up by offering staff incentives.

3. Talk to your clients and the companies you work with

Even if your business goes paper-free internally, you’ll need the help of your clients and the companies you work with to expand the initiative further. So let them know of your plan and explain how they can help.

4. Use online applications wherever possible

There are online applications for every aspect of doing business these days – so start using them. They include Google Docs, which enables multiple parties to work on a single document; PayPal for transferring money; Dropbox for sharing large files; and Basecamp for managing projects. You can also investigate what cloud computing can do for you.

5. Use a scanner

You can’t necessarily stop other parties from sending you paper, but you can use a scanner to create digital copies of their documents for reference in your workplace.

6. Create a digital signature and use it

One of the more cumbersome aspects of paper work can be the need to add your signature to hard copies of documents. But these days it’s becoming more and more acceptable to provide a digital signature.

7. Slowly reduce the use of old technologies

You might feel like you depend on your fax machine, but there is life beyond it. Slowly phase it out by encouraging people to send digital documents.

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