Over a decade ago, Bill Gates predicted that the office of the future would be paperless. When you consider the fact that an average office worker uses about 10,000 sheets per year, the paperless office starts to sound like a great idea. We’re still pretty far from the paperless office, but there are some things you can do to cut down on that massive pile.
Let’s face it – paper is simply not efficient. It has to be stored and filed, which is time consuming. It’s much easier and faster to store documents digitally. You can retrieve your documents with a few mouse clicks instead of having to venture into the filing cabinet. There’s also the added work of making copies, which is almost always necessary.
Speaking of filing cabinets, digitizing your office saves a considerable amount of space. In fact, the paperless office can be nothing more than your desk and computer. Your data is much safer on a computer than in a physical location where it can be destroyed.
When you add up all of the costs in terms of both money and manpower, dealing with paper is a terrible waste. This is not to mention the impact on the environment. Take each employee using 10,000 sheets a year and multiply that by your number of employees. Now, you’re tearing through a forest.
Should You Go Paperless?
So, why don’t we all just toss the paper right now and go paperless? For one thing, paper is a creature comfort. We simply like doing things the old fashioned way and we’re slow to change. Before you digitize, you have to think about your employees and whether or not they’ll accept the change. How tech-savvy are they? You also have to consider the time it may take to train them on how to use your new data system.
Another thing to consider is how you’re going to go paperless. Some companies decide to start digitizing everything while others start digitizing from only this day forward. In other words, your old invoices from the paper era are still filed while all of the new ones are digital.
Digitizing is Hard Work
Whatever you decide to do, it’s a guarantee that digitizing your office will be more work than you expected. It sounds simple enough; you get a scanner and start scanning documents. Today’s scanners are quick and efficient and they can translate the document straight into whichever format you like. Also, there are top of the notch character recognition software, like Nuance, which transform the hand written documents to PDF format through the scanning.
What will happen is that you’ll start scanning and then realize there’s another problem – all of your documents don’t need to be scanned. Some aren’t important and others may exist already in a digital format. Once they’re scanned, you have to organize them on your system. While it’s much easier than dealing with physical files, this will still take some work.
So, in the end, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a massive data housecleaning job. You have to scan before you scan.
Tips for Digitizing Smoothly
The key to keeping yourself sane is to do a little bit of scanning at a time. First, set a goal. Decide by when you’ll have all of your files digitized. Then, break it down into bite-sized pieces and decide on a daily quota. Either set aside a certain amount of time each day for scanning or decide how many pages you’ll do. Then, just chip away at it.
Another option is to hire someone else to do it. There are services now that specialize in digitizing files for companies. You do the upfront work of deciding what needs to be scanned and into what format, and they do the actual scanning for you. This is a growing industry as more offices go paperless.
Once your records are digitized and the endless stacks of paper are gone, things will be nice and smooth. It’s just a matter of attacking the job a little bit at a time and not giving up. However, if you want to print big volumes and you don’t have the proper equipment for such projet you can go to PrintingForLess, register, send them your documents by e-mail and have your work printed in professional machines.
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