There are several great reasons to go paperless in your home office; you’ll save money by not buying as many paper products, your office will be free of paper clutter, and you’ll be doing the environment a huge kindness by keeping it paper-free, just to name a few. Creating a paperless home office may sound like an overwhelming task at first, but if you allow yourself some transition time and take it step-by-step, you’ll have a paper-free office before you know it. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get the job done.
Sort, Organise, and Toss
The first step to going paperless is to sort out and organise the paper you do have. Separate them into piles according to what they are–receipts, bills, bank statements, email communications, court documents, and tax returns, for some examples. Once you have everything sorted and organised, toss out the papers you no longer need. Papers containing sensitive data such as account numbers, national insurance numbers, or other private information should be fed through a shredder before going to the recycling bin. Original documents and other papers that you must keep should be placed neatly into separate folders, labeled, and stored in a safe place within your office.
Scan Important Papers
Papers that contain information you need but aren’t original documents that you need to save can be scanned onto your computer and then disposed of properly. You’ll free up a lot of space in your home office and reduce the amount of clutter by scanning in the current papers you need to keep for your records.
Create a Digital Filing System
Replace your old filing cabinet with a digital one right on your home office computer. Create individual files for your different types of papers, dragging and dropping your scanned files into their appropriate folders. Label the folders and organize them so that the information stored in them is easy to find.
Back It Up
It’s not enough to merely scan in your important papers and store them on your computer. Computer files can be lost due to computer malfunction, fire, burglary, or any number of unexpected disasters, so it’s critical that you back them up. Back-up storage options include internet storage sites, external hard drives, flash drives, CD’s, and DVD’s. The amount of information you need to store will help you determine which back-up storage type will best suit your needs.
Utilize Paperless Programs and Apps
There are an endless number of programs and apps for all of your digital devices that can help you reduce the amount of paper you use in your home office. You can use digital programs and apps to create to-do lists, take notes, share and send files, organize files, communicate with clients or customers, bookmark and store information, and so much more. What’s even better? Many of these helpful programs and apps can be downloaded for free.
Request Paperless Billing
Cut down on the amount of paper you receive in the mail by requesting paperless billing. That way bills will be sent to you via email, reducing the amount of paper coming through your office. If you run a business that requires you to bill customers for products and services, you, too, should consider offering paperless billing. You will find that there are some businesses that don’t offer it, and not all billed customers will want to take advantage of that option. Still, all efforts to reduce paper bills will free up space and cut down on unnecessary waste.
Even though going paperless in your home office takes some time and getting used to, you’ll notice the positive differences it will make right away – no matter how small they might be at first. By creating a paperless home office you’ll have more space, less mess, and you’ll preserve some of our planet’s most precious resources
This guest post is from Casey Lynch. Casey writes about home insurance for HomeInsurance.org.