How to Take Steps Toward a Paperless Office

from LifeHacker

It’s 2018, you have reams of paper in your home office, a file cabinet with documents at work, and your kid just handed you a new field trip form you’ve got to, for some reason, fax to their teacher. If this doesn’t sound like the paperless future you were promised, you’re right. Luckily, you don’t need much to get a handle on all those PDFs you’ve got (or are about to create). A scanner, a smartphone, and some cloud storage services are all you need to convert the stack of papers on your desk into a paperless wonderland.

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63 Responses to How to Take Steps Toward a Paperless Office

  1. Michelle Vekshteyn October 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm #

    I think that this article is great for adults that still rely solely on paper use and are not as acclimated with the use of technology. I like to think that as more and more businesses switch to paperless, less trees are cut down. That is until I found an article on that states that 3.5- 7 billion trees are cut down every year. Of course not every single tree cut down is used for paper, there are other uses for them, but a large portion goes towards the paper industry. I honestly was shocked by this number because I thought the nation as a whole would reduce paper use and tree cutting, but clearly not. I try not to print things if I do not have to, because I was always told to save paper and to recycle so that paper can get reused. Some businesses really rely on paper for their records, and other documents, others it is not necessary to use so much paper. For example, Capital One, my credit card account has recently created an option to go paperless and only receive monthly statements via email. I feel like I have seen a lot of services switch to paperless, which is great.
    This article is a step towards paperless, but obviously not everyone will read it or know how to do the things that are stated in it. The first thing that is suggested is to have your signature on file. I honestly do not even have this, but it gives suggestions to use FaxZero or or Scanbot Pro if you need to fax something because it saves your signature digitally. Next it talks about getting a scanner to scan printed documents. I believe that this is a little strange since the documents already exist on a computer and you are buying a scanner to scan paper, which is a little hypocritical. I just do not think that this article is efficient for actually turning your business paperless. It instead could talk about how important saving trees is, or how to digitally run a company… not teach people to scan things already printed on paper. Also their last sentence kind of bugged me… it says, “The only question left to answer is what are you going to do with all that useless paper now?” The answer is obviously to recycle it!!

    • Marissa Sarden October 23, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

      In the article, Patrick Austin makes great points on using a scanning device and app as a variable to have a paperless free office. Getting your signature on file can save time and purchasing a scanner can save paper. These benefits are too good to pass up. Now, these efficient methods can lead to a new organizational system. Now finding your documents will decrease the number of paper cuts and decrease the time being wasted by searching those file cabinets.
      In the last paragraph, Austin states, “what are you going to do with all that useless paper now?” That’s the only question that stood out. Using those resources still, have paper as a factor. Within the office should be a recycling system. Items that do not have confidential information should be recycled and those with confidential information should be given to a recycling company. Also, in order to decrease the number of papers needed to print, in a business, customers should have e-sign, and confidential papers are sent to their emails or personal filing system on the cloud. This will decrease the number of papers and increase personal security.
      Austin makes a valuable point which can lead to a more efficient office experience and support a greener environment. This sustainability of paper could be used to advertise to the consumers and create a well-rounded reputation.

  2. Jaden Tate October 23, 2018 at 3:21 pm #

    Creating a more paperless efficient world could really help the world out in the end. In the article, it had said that “stamping your name on documents is probably half the reason you get physical copies of them in the first place” so what if we started asking for different corporations or businesses to try and go paperless. The article gave us different options as to what types of apps we could use such as FaxZero or Scanbot Bro which is easy to download on most phones that would help with minimizing as much paper as possible. One thing that the article did speak of that does bother me is “you can import your signature pretty easily” but the thought of having your signature so easily accessible is troubling.
    As technology increases and we find a more efficient way for companies to not an app on everyone’s phone but almost like a scanner at their desks. So say if you want a document scanned you can put it under a “scanner” and within a couple of second the document appears on your computer and all you have to do is pick what file you put it in. Also if we were able to take like a signature pad and hook it up to the computer so that instead of having your signature on the computer at all times you are able to pull the signature pad out, plug it up to your computer and then sign whatever you need to. Though this is an extra product that you would need to buy, it is still cutting down the amount of paper that we use as well as the thought of someone else being able to get a hold of your signature.
    The only problem I see is the fact that if we go paperless, ALL documents would be on the computer. With big corporations that make the switch, it would make them a target for their whole system to be hacked. If someone wanted to, they could tap into the entire server and look through everyone computer that goes through the server. I am no tech wizard, but I feel as though those who use their own portable computer would be safer when making the transition over. Also, companies would have to make sure that there is an extreme firewall that one would have to go to get all that they are looking for with the company.
    To answer the question of “what are you going to do with all that useless paper” you would just need to recycle it. There are plenty of ways to get rid of paper such as using it to start a fire, use as scratch paper or if you have an animal they can be put on the bottom of their crate. People could really get creative when getting rid of this useless paper.

  3. MBB October 23, 2018 at 10:27 pm #

    Business has been done on paper for many years. But with the rise of technology, the paperless trend has gained steam, more and more day to day business processes are being done digitally. In business, paper print outs are normally used for signatures, whether it be contracts, invoices or signed letters. Even if something does not need to be signed it can be easily distributed in paper form. Many companies use paper because it is cheap and ensures that everyone gets a physical copy that they can store for their own use when needed. However, technology has come a long way and paperless operation is beginning to look like a more viable and sustainable option. As the article describes, going paperless is relatively easy and only takes a few steps. First, have a digital signature. It allows you to sign documents that can be sent to you digitally, and means that you can return them digitally as well. You can also use touch screen devices like phones, tablets and even some touch screen computers to get the job done. Second, is getting some sort of scanner. This can be attached to a printer or even an app on your phone. If all documents were scanned into a database it would be much easier for companies to access documents with just a quick search of the company archive instead of rustling through file folders and risking losing or misplacing a paper copy. Last is use cloud based file storage. This allows for easy access to all important documents that you already have digitally or have scanned into your database. They also become accessible anywhere that there is a WiFi signal. With these few steps companies could be on their way to a paperless future.
    This has more implications than just streamlining business. By using less paper, companies help to save the environment because less trees need to be cut down. Especially with the amount of paper that is needed to operate a large business. By showing that the company cares about the environment, they can also attract potential new customers, as younger people tend to care more about the social responsibilities that companies take on. This also has the potential to be a cost saving measure. Every company uses printers and many already have scanners built in, so they don’t need to make investments into new scanners. They also wouldn’t need to keep buying paper which over months and years will save a lot of money. One more reason companies could benefit from going paperless is communication. Typically if you have a paper that needs to be delivered somewhere, it is hand delivered or scanned then emailed. Hand delivery is sometimes efficient and not timely. If you are going to email something it will have to be scanned anyway which is further points to going paperless. Once scanned, the document or file can just be emailed or shared over the corporate network with whoever needs it. This would increase efficiency in the workday because all the files needed would be easily accessed by all employees.
    Personally I feel that going totally paperless is not practical yet. There are too many important things that use it and technology to support it is very good, but not quite up to the level it needs to be. However, if a company could go 90% paperless, that would make a huge difference both in the way customers see them and also in their bottom line. They should start taking steps now so that when the technology to support going paperless is ready for prime time, so are businesses.

  4. Nick C October 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

    Going paperless in your office can be a big change to get used to. There are many ways to start moving towards going paperless and it can have its benefits. The most important things that will be needed are a computer, a scanner, a smartphone, and a cloud storage service. In my opinion, going paperless could help because it can reduce clutter in the office and can help save on paper costs. It is also important to have your signature on file so you don’t have to stamp it on every paper that you print out.
    In my opinion, going paperless has some disadvantages that could sway me from not doing it. For starters, if your password or account gets taken or is hacked, then your information and documents are taken by the hacker. In addition to this, if the cloud service you are using goes down or is having issues, you may not be able to access your documents right away. Overall, going paperless can help cut down costs but can also increase the risk of your information getting stolen.

  5. Alexa Shello October 25, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

    Businesses have been trying, or saying, that they will go paperless for years. Of course it can be a slow transition for businesses to make the transition from paper to completely paperless, it requires time and the cost of different machines to scan what is currently paperwork into the computer. Many large companies have had trouble making the transition to paperless because many older customers do not want to or have the means to go paperless as well. For example, at NJM where I work, we offer paperless billing that individuals are able to sign up for online if they would like. This not only reduces the monthly paper invoices that are mailed out to the insured every month, but it also waives the $3.00 invoice fee that comes with invoices being mailed. While this option is offered, and is a step in the right direction, many elderly people do not want to make the change, or do not have the means to go online and sign up for it. As workers, we are unable to cancel the paper invoices for the customers, which often means that no changes are made.
    As mentioned in the article, another problem with going paperless is that many documents require a signature. This generally means that a person must fax or have mailed paper documents, print them out if they need to, sign them, and send them back. While faxing may seem convenient, it actually uses more paper on both ends of the fax. Until reading this article, I had always printed out documents to sign and send back without thinking there was any other option unless there was an electronic signature option on the document that was sent. This article taught me that you could scan your signature onto your computer that can then be placed onto online documents without the need to print them out or sign by hand.
    The only thing I could see as bring a problem would be that important documents with people’s personal information could be hacked online through the company’s systems. However, this is really no different than people stealing mail, taking copies of your debit/credit card, etc. There is no exact way to ensure your signature and documents are safe, but keeping everything online is simply more convenient. It can also be a savior in the case of fire/water damage and other disasters that can happen in homes and in businesses. Having all your documents saved onto a computer/hard-drive/cloud may actually save both trees and documents from being lost, which may seem worth the initial cost and time of making everything paperless.
    To answer the question of what to do with all the leftover paper from going paperless, it is obvious that it can be recycled into other products such as recyclable napkins or plates!

  6. Erica Glover October 25, 2018 at 9:21 pm #

    This article was a very interesting read and I really think it is geared more towards the older generations, who rely solely on paper and that aren’t as accustomed to the use of technology. The article goes to discuss getting home scanners or getting your signature on file. Having a scanner at home can handle multiple documents at a time. The article also mentions to pair your documents with services and that it will help organize your documents using tags or a smarter file naming system, to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. I see how these suggestions can help a business go paperless. But the only thing that comes in mind to me is that going completely paperless and having ALL documents on the computer could also be a hazard. Due to the high hacking via the internet it could be dangerous to have all of your information and important files for your business available online. Another downside to digital documentation could be that its costly. The good thing about going paperless and being digital is that you can access any of your documents at any time wherever you are. Another plus of going paperless is the availability of searching for documents using key letters or words instead of searching through file cabinets for it. It definitely seems to be more efficient to be paper less and at the same time it will help save trees and the environment as a whole! In the end of the article they stated “what are you going to do with all that useless paper now?”. I found that comment in the article to be rude, I hope business people would know to recycle their unwanted paper. Besides the chances of a business being hacked having all of their important personal documents on file, becoming paperless in the office is a very good idea and will help save the trees and environment while being more efficient in the office.

  7. Kent Flores October 26, 2018 at 7:46 am #

    In the article “How to Take Steps Toward a Paperless Office” by Patrick Lucas Austin, we learn that a paperless office is not complicated to achieve. Patrick explains how we have the option of setting up machines such as scanners, mobile scanning, and electronic file editors in order to make those stacks of papers that sit in our offices or homes and make them disappear. Growing up in a paper office world, it becomes harder for the older generations to transition into a paperless world and even if you are a young aspiring manager at an office, and you implement all the tech tools you need to make paper obsolete, it will become an issue when you have to teach the older generation how to use these new tools. The results outweigh the struggles that you need to overcome to push for machines in your office that will push for an easier and more efficient way to run an office. The average office in the United States of America, has scanners and all different types of machines that are there for us in order to have this paper free world, but even though we have all these tools, we still do not use them to their full advantage and that is because we are afraid of what we do not know. Schools need to teach us how to use these equipments so that we can go into our future jobs and be able to push for a paperfree agenda. The benefits of having this paperfree office are easy access to multiple files at once, easy signing of various papers, and being able to clear up a lot of space since you will not need so many cabinets that hold paper anymore. For those that feel that paper will always be necessary in the workplace, they will eventually fall behind in life. Technology is fairly new as of now, but one day a paper office will become extinct and those who did not take the time to learn how to use these tools will struggle. The best places that I have worked for to this day are paperfree office and I am grateful that I was able to surround myself with peers and mentors who pushed me towards being knowledgeable about the reality of a paperfree office.

  8. Michael Zera October 26, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

    In the article, “How to Take Steps Towards a Paperless Office,” the title is self-explanatory, as it discusses the process of converting to a paperless society that many of us are beginning to become accustom to today. In many classes at University, or even in junior college, teachers are beginning to switch from paper homework assignments, and sometimes even tests. Most large companies are finding it difficult to convert to a technological based society since paper has been used for decades as many are used to this process. However, a paperless society has many more benefits than those who utilize paper. In the article, Austin discusses how an actual scanner and phone scanner can be used when scanning documents. A phone scanner is beneficial, yet, may be very time consuming by taking a picture of every document one by one. But, large companies can now buy an actual scanner, that “can handle multiple documents at a time and will make your paperless office experience less time consuming” as the article states. Now, these scanners will be available to scan multiple stacks of paper at a time and allowing companies to get rid of thousands of files that are overwhelming when trying to find one. Some may argue that by switching to a technological based company, their files could get hacked or rearranged. But, companies or business will higher tech savvy workers to prevent situations like this. Scanning files will allow a business to become more organized by looking up a single file on a computer making it an easier process than a paper society. Not only is this process beneficial but saving these amounts of paper will help the environment substantially if people begin to start utilized scanners to the best of their ability. As a result, all the paper that is left over from these files can be recycled or saved in a specific spot in case someone wants the original document. Personally, I believe that this is a great idea as many of my classes currently have already started to get rid of written homework assignments as many professors prefer for student to submit their homework online. Instead of single handedly going through each paper making correction, teachers can now have a simpler process putting every student’s assignment online in a specific file. These methods are becoming extremely common, and in the next upcoming years, I believe paper assignments and tests are soon going to become nearly extinct from the every day work force in most areas. The potential this method has, and the money this process saves is going to assist many businesses in the future years.

  9. Cassie Sibilski October 26, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

    This article about going paperless with all of your bills and important documents is very relevant to today. Whenever you do anything that involves documentation, recipes, bills, etc, there is always the option to have a paperless or emailed version these days. Then you also have to option to scan all of your existing documents to be made digital as well. Especially since they mention you can even scan all of your documents through an app scanner, which is a lot less money than a physical scanner. That might appeal to more people, in today’s world to have it be mobile. I think this is better for two reasons. The first being that it is saving paper, as well space in your desk and files. And the second, being that it is a better way to keep yourself organized and better protected. For instance if you only have paper copies of very important documents, and something happens to them, that can end up being a big problem. It can save people a lot of headaches if they digitize all of their important stuff because then they’ll know they’ll always have it when they need it and it won’t be lost. It also means, if it’s on the cloud, that they can basically access it anywhere, wherever and whenever they might need it. Another thing to think about is the security of your important documents. Having your important documents in a file folder at home makes them, in some ways, a lot more vulnerable than if they were password secured in a cloud digitally. Of course, digital documents could end up being access through a hack, but for the everyday circumstances, digitally stored documents seem safer. Doing this would also be saving so much paper, worldwide and that means a lot less trees would need to be cut down. If everyone in the world started going paperless whenever possible, that would be a big help to the earth. Paper documents are literally everywhere and in most cases they really don’t need it to be, and going digital would be just fine.

  10. Steven Gravlin October 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

    This is a timely article. Everyone knows that problems with printing too much paper and the negative effects on the environment. More and more today, people are doing their best to save paper. Even when I was in college, my freshman year, a lot of paper was used- even take home exams were paper copies. Today, I am in my third year and almost everything is online documents for all of my classes. “Saving a tree” is becoming more popular everyday. Business has been done on paper for centuries. However, with the rise of technology there is definitely a possibility that businesses can be paperless as well. Like the article said, scanning your signature is an important first step. However, businesses could also try to move to e-contracts more. E-contracts are gaining popularity as well and this could make it a lot easier to go paperless. While there are negatives to e-contracts regarding their reliability, if more businesses went paperless, and therefore, used e-contracts more, then e-contracts will become more reliable and then it would be even easier to be paperless. Paperless offices are definitely something that could happen and I hope it does.

  11. Tyler Miller October 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

    The blog by Professor Shannon, “How to Take Steps Toward a Paperless Office,” takes on a technological viewpoint that is not far from becoming true. This course of action for current businesses will certainly be beneficial in some aspects but will also like anything else have its disadvantages. One of these benefits is the ability for the easy exchange of information whether that be a PowerPoint from a meeting or the memo of that day’s agenda. The downside of a solely using technology such as PDFs is that the tangible information that is communicated throughout a place of business is unavailable. In this of exchange of information there is a sender and a receiver, the use of technology is easier for the sender because they can get their message out quicker and more efficiently. On the other hand, the receiver may not fully understand the message but because it was communicated electronically questions the receiver may have are not as easily answered. My personal view is that there is be a mix of both in an office or place of business because on one side using electronic versions of information helps with organization and delivering a message to multiple parties at once. For the person receiving instruction, the message is solely content based and does not contain any nonverbal communication which is a major part of communication within businesses. In short, I think if a company wants to execute this strategy successfully it needs to be done in moderation. This is due to the fact that solely using electronic communication can lead to many misunderstandings which can be detrimental to a business.

  12. John Skalski October 26, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    In today’s world where we have so much technology and power to keep a lot of the things that we do wireless, I always get surprised when I still see documents printed out. A lot of documents that go around will be printed out and will force you to sign it with your hand instead of it being signed digitally. Take for example, whenever you make a contract or field trip permission form or something it would be better if all of them were kept digital because then edits could be made on them and you would not have to worry about reprinting and handing all of the documents back out again. I personally, like when I work on documents that are digital because it is so much easier to make edits and turn the document into whatever I would want. Whenever I work on a group project for school, I love to use google slides, google docs, or something that is very similar to that. When we use those documents, everyone in the group is able to go on and make edits at the same time and not worry about having to reprint the papers or anything like that. Another advantage to using more digital platforms are the fact that we can even inset hyperlinks that lead people to websites that you got your information from and can make everything a lot easier to understand. Society has advanced a lot and people need to start using the advantages that are not offered today.
    In my work, one thing I never understand is that we very rarely like to keep the work that we do digital. For example, anytime we bring in new team members we have to have them sign paper work just like any other company, but we make them sign actual paper and not keep it online. I personally would find it a lot easier and more time efficient if when people get hired there are just emailed all of the paper work and they can sign it right away. When they get these documents to sign, the company will have easier access to the paperwork and the employees will also have access whenever they would like to see it. In the end, it will take time for companies to make a full transition to paperless, but it defiantly needs to happen because paper is becoming less necessary in today’s world.

  13. Henry Steck October 26, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

    This article from lifehacker makes some great points about how we can continue to free our offices of paper.

    I thought the suggestion to have a digital signature on hand was interesting but could also create problems. There is, as always these days, first the concern of cyber security. If I have my signature saved in an accessible place (on my desktop for example) and my computer is taken over by hackers, my signature could be stolen. This could help hackers to subsequently steal my identity. For this reason, I do not store a signature on my computer.

    Also, many businesses or individuals offering contracts or other documents requiring a signature online allow digital signatures. This is permitted under an act passed by the Clinton administration, and eliminates the need for a saved signature stamp. You simply type to sign.

    Although a paperless office is a noble goal, I think it will be very difficult to achieve. There is a culture of printing in the business world. I remember a boss at an internship telling me not to send her finished decks until I had printed them and revised them one more time.

    At another internship I bound pitchbooks. To me, it helped to have our presentation in the hands of our clients. As they flipped through the deck and annotated by hand, I felt like they were able to build a stronger connection with out materials versus just typing on a word document.

    Furthermore, paper is one of the few sustainable products out there. There are numerous trusted certifications that paper companies now must have such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. These organizations ensure that companies source paper from wood in forests that are growing at a healthy pace.

    This is not to argue that paper is not being wasted across the world each day, but simply to address the common myth that paper is an inherently bad resource. There has to be a balance as technology marches forward…. We can reduce waste, but I like holding physical copies too!

  14. Amanda Nitting October 26, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    As the world is becoming more digitalized and technology-based, there are ways in which to have an office that is completely paperless. This article had a very interesting approach to getting it’s messaged across because the tone came off as more of an advertisement. It was very informative in the sense that it went into details about how much more convenient it is to have one’s files all organized in folders on smartphones or cloud storage services. The four main topics that are focused on is obtaining one’s signature on file, purchasing an actual scanner, downloading an app scanner, and paring document with a service. These are all useful in many different ways, especially when considering the way in which our world is moving. Instead of having stacks and piles of paper that need to be filed the old way, now it can be transferred onto a device where it can be easily accessible.
    The part the stood out to me was finding out how easy it is to have a person’s signature on their computer for use. There have been times where I have used tablets and devices of that sort to sign a receipt, but I have never heard of FaxZero or Scanbot Pro. Technology is making these simple tasks even faster which is something to keep in mind because all of these new ideas are constantly coming out. It is all about being innovative and finding out how to maximize time so that more work can be completed. It is important to look at both sides of every situation and in this case, the other side would be the concern some might have about having their signature on a computer. Even though one can delete their signature, it is understandable as for the reasons someone would not like this. With all the benefits that technology provides, there are all dangerous aspects that make it very easy to get taken advantage of. Some of the include hackers, lack of cybersecurity, and the fact that most people do not understand how it all works.
    For example, during my internship over the summer, the place of business is in the process of transferring everything onto the computer. So that entails going through the physical paper files, scanning the important documents for records, and organizing them onto the computer. Reading this article made me think of this because the article was describing how this is a useful process and if one is looking to be paperless. In addition, being paperless does not only make it more accessible and organized for the user, but it is also better for the environment. By reducing the amount of paper being produced that will also decrease the amount of paper pollution the world creates. This is something that many environmentalists will argue for and others that see the benefits of making a paperless office.
    As the technology world continues to grow at a fast pace, whether or not one is on board with going paperless, it is bound to happen. Personally, I see the benefits of going paperless, but there are things where I would prefer the paper version. This is due to being able to actually flip through pages or being able to write on the copy instead of using a stylist to write on the scanned version. However, with that being said, I know that a paperless world is inevitable and it is just important to try and stay with how the times are progressing.

  15. Robert Musantry October 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    The fact that the world we live in is still not completely paperless is something that makes me mad. A couple of years ago, I volunteered to use a portable scanner to clean up the literal stacks of paper my family had around the house. My parents said they didn’t care enough to by the scanner, however, so that idea quickly died. But this issue is still something that I think about a lot, and the author brings up many good points on how we can reach that point as a society and why we have not yet. Signatures are a big one, and something that I had not previously considered.
    Whenever I need to sign something online, they always just have me do it with the mouse and it comes out terribly. But for more important documents, having my signature on file on my computer would be so convenient. The only issue here is security. Leaving my signature as a digital file would make it vulnerable to being stolen and used against me. But having to redo a signature every time and reupload it and then deleting it kind of takes away from the convenience. Personally, I am not worried about my information being stolen off my computer because I take precautionary steps against that. But many people do not, and letting their signature into the wrong hands could end with them signing off on things they had no idea existed.
    Linking up your scanner with a Google Drive or Dropbox account just seems like the next logical step for me. Thinking back to all those stacks of paper back at my house, there would be literally thousands of documents created by the scanner, and those need to go somewhere. I love using Google Drive, since I was taught how to use it in seventh grade and then required to use it until I graduated. It is simple to use, and makes sharing files easy. I could also use my OneDrive setup that I currently have on my school computer, although my account will probably be deleted upon graduation in a couple years, rendering my work useless. I think I am going to use this article to try an convince my parents again, so that we can finally save space by throwing out old paperwork.

  16. Michael Martini October 26, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this article because it states nothing but the truth. I never thought our world would be going paperless until I got into high school and we received laptops in order to complete work and turn in our assignments. Even though we had these laptops, many of our teachers still required us to turn in printed copies of our work. College was the place that definitely changed my entire opinion on going paperless. Since I started college last year, I have had to hand in very few assignments that were printed. Almost every single thing I do for school work is either emailed or submitted on the teacher’s web page. Doing away with paper, like the article says, can save our environment and our work space from clutter. To have all of your papers on a portable little device is incredible because it allows us to be so much more organized. Organization is key to being successful, and with these devices being able to nearly store all our data is wonderful. I personally like to have a printed piece of paper in my hand from time to time, especially when, for instance, making corrections to someone’s work or reading books. I am highly against reading online books because it is very difficult for me. I feel that a physical book in my hands makes life a lot easier. For the most part, going paperless is definitely the better option but it is certainly not for everyone.

  17. Gary Wolz III October 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    Getting rid of the amount of paper we use in a work place is an important step in moving forward in our modern world. Every day we see things becoming more and more electronic like bills or online newspapers. These really help cut down on our use of paper however the amount of paper that is used every single day by businesses alone is pretty astonishing and we are not really improving at cutting it down at the rate we should be. This short article brings to light a couple ways people can cut down on the use of paper in the work place or even outside of it. It discusses important methods that some people may not know about that can cut down on paper us and clutter. These options can be scanning papers to straight up doing everything on a computer rather than pen and paper. This can be a very useful article for people who may have older ideas of how to manage all there papers. Computers and other electronic devices bring an entire new element to the game. A person can save a lot of space by storing documents and such on computers while also providing an easy, quick way to share those stored documents. The next thing that this helps out is the clutter that can be found in many offices or homes where people just have boxes of papers stored for later uses if they are needed. This begins to take up a lot of space and creates a big issue with all the clutter that is there. When there is that many papers it can be hard to find one when you need it. Organization suffers from the vast amount of papers collected, whether it be on a desk or in storage, but if you scan it or already have it online then it becomes as simple as one-two-three to find saving a lot of valuable time. All together the amount of paper we use take a negative toll on the environment even though we could be doing the complete opposite with the advantages we are given today. Scanners and things of that nature might be found as a little expensive but in the end it is very useful and worth the price to pretty much everyone.

  18. Tyler Peteraf October 26, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

    Paper is starting to seem like dinosaurs today. As we move further into the future, we will see a gradual decline in the use of paper as that only makes sense. The world, in particular the workplace will become more technology dependent and move away from paper. This article emphasizes the importance of workplaces becoming less paper dependent and focusing more on technology. By using technology more in offices, your workday does essentially become easier and less stressful. Technology allows for a dependency of your work being saves and has multiple other advantages. Technology at it’s core is supposed to make the everyday things of life easier and more sufficient. By ridding offices of paper and transferring over computers, we are allowing workplaces around america to become more sufficient and adept to modern society. I believe we have to consistently push for technology to be used more and more around society, as I think that it will only be able to improve our everyday lives.

  19. Brandon Ruiz October 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm #

    Today paper is everywhere. We use paper to clean up messes, record important legal documents, in education, for advertisements, to decorate our rooms, and even to clean ourselves after using the bathroom. It makes sense that in an office where boatloads of records are stored that there is also a lot of paper. In an article by “” they talk about how you can convert your office into one that is almost completely paperless.

    Basically the whole idea of getting rid of all the paper in your office stems from the process of scanning actual documents do that you can turn them into pdf documents. When you turn them into pdf documents you will then have more space in your office and be able to share documents digitally instead of having to print them out. Although it would be good to scan all of your documents, it’s hard to do it without buying an actual scanner. You can do it on your phone through scanning apps but it takes a very long time to scan a lot of documents on a scanning app. Therefore actually having to go out and buy a scanner could be a roadblock for some people in actually making their office paperless.

    In an office setting it is hard to not use paper without running into the problem of having to sign something. That’s why the article says that it’s important for you to import your signature digitally by using your phone. It is apparently really easy to do as well. I personally wouldn’t want my signature to be recorded on a computer because computers can always be hacked in some way, shape, or form. The article says if you think in the same manner as I do you can always import your signature every time you need to sign a pdf document. Although it is tedious it would be a possible solution to this problem.

    All together, we should learn to use the least amount of paper possible. A statistic by says that whenever someone uses 500 sheets of paper they are using 6% of tree. That is concerning considering that on average, according to the ORS group, office workers use 10,000 sheets of paper every year. This means that every year an office worker uses an entire tree. By scanning our documents and by making a concerted effort to have a paperless office we can help our environment and we can make our office less cluttered.

  20. Deen Malik October 26, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

    The world we live in today, will have an effect on the world we live in in the future. Though that statement may be true, you have to take into consideration that everything changes and will change through out the course of the future ( Hopefully). One big topic of discussion for current day and especially the future is on how much paper we use, and a sub effect of that is how we don’t replace most paper items with technology. We live in a technologically advanced world where we are creating new pieces of technology on the daily. The whole point of technology has always been to make human lives easier and stress free, instead of doing everything yourselves. People who still use paper in work spaces and in daily life are struggling to do many things. Those daily struggles include stress with having to look for unnecessary papers and files, as well has taking up so much space and cluttering work spaces, and last but not least it is just plain inconvenient to always have to make a backup copy. Life could and would be a lot easier if everything in the work force ran through a computer. People would ask questions such as how would i be able to give a signature as it is usually best on paper but if you were to have one already saved on a computer or hard drive as an electrical copy it could be just as easy and accessible. For me personally after reading this article the author has brought up so many good points as to why we should be moving to more electronic based filing and just in general for most things in our daily life. There are more cons than pros when it comes to using paper.

  21. Nicholas Russo October 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

    The gist of presenting this article is to make sure that others acknowledge the way to improve on our efficiency by transitioning to a technology centric office. Avoiding a paperless work space as much as possible. This article almost served as selling point to something we already have happening. Like anything else its overall a great idea to fully get behind but it has its negatives. In the case of digital signatures, this is where a problem arises because it can be not as valid nor coveted, when legally committing to something. Many are not comfortable with that way of signing. especially i can say from personal experience that nor am i. i along with others have issues with getting my exact signature that ill write on paper, on a screen. The signature mostly comes out improper or messy. Another issue with this claim that the author makes is our privacy how most are not comfortable with everything being technologically stored. This is because of the threat of hackers getting into our valuable personal information. Many other people do not even know their way around the web so how can they feel safe putting all their trust into a unknown machine. The fear of one getting into their information can be too much for many. Although he gives very useful steps for us to do so. I dont feel the older generations can get behind this statement of a ream less society.

  22. Alexis Job October 26, 2018 at 8:48 pm #

    Moving towards a completely digital office can be extremely beneficial for organization, access, and lack of physical mess. There are so many digital forms of storage for all your documents, pictures, and videos. Companies like Google or Dropbox give up to a terabyte of storage per person, or more, depending on the plan that person chooses. All files are stored on the one drive of your choosing, and they are accessible from a remote location, granted you have internet connection. The ideas of organization and easy access are so important for business. Constantly handling immense amounts of papers and trying to find out where to file them, under what department, and for how long. With the turnover of employees, and busy workload of employees, often times these methods of filing get lost. Also, with these ease of access, business partners can meet almost anywhere and be able to share their documents with one another. As far as lack of physical mess goes, keeping all documents online allows for a cleaner workspace and less hassle and urge to make time to clean. Even if documents are presented in a paper form, scanning them to make a digital copy and filing them away on a computer is easier than keeping the physical paper.
    The drawbacks of keeping all documents digitally surround the idea of privacy. Privacy is often hard to come by, especially in this time period. The possibility of other people having access to your documents is a very real issue. So many large companies who keep their information digitally all pay for encrypted protection against outside threats. What about people’s personal computers? Are they expected to pay for extra encryption? Most people do not even know how to fully work a computer, let alone understand the idea behind encryption to even consider it as a possibility. Another thing with personal computers is the fact that multiple people may have access to them. Documents can be opened accidentally by other people using the computer, or left open by the owner for other people to see, and then the owner can be put in a compromising positon due to carelessness; the same thing goes for businesses. People in business have to be very careful as to who they allow to use their computers or be around their computers. Internal threats can also create uproar, as well. Information gathering through hacking is also an issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to digital storage of information.

  23. RyanL October 29, 2018 at 1:57 am #

    Observing the significant strides in technological developments and breakthroughs in software engineering from recent years, it is feasible in this day in age to convert an office to “paperless”. Patrick Lucas Austin brings up a great point in pairing documents with services as a step towards reducing the overall use of paper in an organization. From my personal experiences, while in a corporation or in academia, I found it to be significantly easier to sort through and organize documents using a smarter file naming system than with an actual (physical) folder/binder. Dropbox, a file sharing and cloud storage service, is something that I use on a daily basis. While using this application, users can expect to find folders and files easily since all the content is located in a structured, centralized location. For collaboration purposes, dropbox also enables businesses to share files and relevant information to specified clients. With the advent of cloud-computing software, I have been able to reduce the amount of time and capital spent on finding documents and paying for supplies.

    In my opinion, the benefits of moving “paperless” heavily outweighs its costs. (A cost relating to applications such as Dropbox is the concern of security issues and breaches.) Regarding opportunity cost, many employees will be able to become more efficient in a variety of administrative tasks such as finding different documents, organizing/collating files, communicating with clients; which can ultimately help to finish other tasks quicker/timely. For example, these benefits can open up opportunities to allocate more time on value-added tasks such as focusing on analytical procedures, for those in the auditing profession. Additionally, implementing a cloud-computing database can prevent the costs associated with disasters such as floods and fires. With applications such as Dropbox, users will be able to have their information updated and backed up on a consistent basis.

  24. Gabrielle Bram October 30, 2018 at 10:23 am #

    A paperless office is going to make jobs a lot more efficient and organized. Many adults are going to have to take time to get used to a paperless work place since they did not grow up with technology. Incoming workers and interns I think will have a quicker time adjusting to a paperless office because they use technology more often. The article discusses how electronic signature could be saved to your computer or phone app and it will save workers a lot of time. I personally would feel comfortable saving my signature and being able to use it quickly when needed. I had worked in an office that was all papers and old fashion filing and the system was terrible and it was hard to find files that were needed quickly. A paperless system would allow papers to be scanned and filed in a computer system to be easily accessible. The article talks about two main apps used to scanning they are Scanbot and CamScanner. These apps could be used on almost any smart phone and allow users to scan documents and file them on your phone or computer. I have never heard of theses apps, but I think they will become very important in the office within the next few years.
    I recently read an article “The Coming Reality of the Paperless Office” by Scotsman Guide, the article discusses the advantages of scanning documents. The article states that hundreds of papers could be scanned, filed, and sent to several individuals within minutes. Companies need to start taking advantage of new technology to make the office more efficient. There are a few inbox systems that companies could store their scanned documents, these systems include IFTTT, Dropbox, and Evernote. I have used Dropbox in the past and it was a simple way to store documents and share them with other people. With all these new apps and inbox systems, I think paperless offices are going to increase tremendously in the next few years.

  25. Taylor M October 30, 2018 at 11:52 am #

    As technology advances humans are far more intrigued with the saying, “work smarter, not harder.” Many companies are trying to paperless to save trees, cost, and time from faxing/filing papers. A personal scanner with document feeder allows a hands-free scan of stacks of multiple pages to directly show on your computer into a specific folder to go into. Also, scanning apps can be downloaded through smartphone app stores. Having a mobile scanner will save time and steps. Many of professions like on the road salesperson, realtor, or landscapers use this type of mobility to be efficient and timely are crucial for business. Everyone needs to be on top of documents that can be paired with hand-held devices for easy access.
    Furthermore, digital signatures for many legal documents are important to many professionals that need quick signatures to get special forms, invoices, or documents out fast without skipping a beat. Going paperless can be a big game changer in day-to-day business operations. In my opinion, going paperless can help because it can reduce paper costs, time, and expenses on faxing/printing equipment or accessories. On the contrary, the disadvantages would be hacking into the company’s server taking important documents and signatures from the cloud server. Or the cloud can go down or may not have enough storage space or have technical issues can jeopardize accessing important, official documents right away.
    Overall, going paperless can most definitely cut major costs, but can also increase the risk of information to be getting stolen.

  26. Erica L. October 31, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    This idea has the potential to benefit companies and organizations in so many ways. I think the article talks about some of the key points in order to make this happen. I thought about the scanner and technology before reading the article, however, I did not think about keeping a signature on file. As the article talks about this, it makes so much sense because then you can have everything in the computer and you don’t have to print the paper, then sign it, then scan it back into the system. This can benefit the companies because it is environment friendly, it saves time, and it keeps everyone more organized.

    Limiting paper will help the economy because it will save trees and we won’t have to go through the waste and recycling process so much. Also, it will save time because everything will be much easier to find within a computer system. It will be hard to lose documents because now everything will be accessible and stored on the computer or technological device. Lastly, it will allow people to be more organized within their job or occupation. There is much more storage space on a computer than a filer or a desk can hold. It will be much better for employees to keep all of their documents on their computer because they can create a system that allows them to be organized so they know where everything is.

    In conclusion, there are many benefits to having a paperless office. I think that all of the steps that the article talks about are very important to get things started. I think another important factor is having the right employees who have the right mindset to understand the technological devices in order to make the transition. Taking what the article says with a combination of the right employees, this will be a great way to improve businesses.

  27. Victor Prieto November 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm #

    I could directly relate to this on a personal level. My first internship in college was at a hedge fund, as a “finance intern.” I was told from the very beginning that the position would entail a lot of scanning assignments early on due to renovations that were going to happen around the office. Sure enough, there was endless paper files waiting to be turned into digital files around the office. My first few months at the firm consisted of scanning assignments, as the company was heading towards a paperless office. Patrick Lucas Austin did a great job explaining some steps towards this environment.
    Making sure signatures are on file is key to using digital versions of files. With the technological advances of desktops and even mobile devices, paperless offices are easier to gear towards. Having electronic signatures on hand can potentially save some major headaches. I find it amusing how the second paragraph talks about having actual scanners. There came a point where many workers would come around me at my first internship and tell me how I was going to be a professional scanner one day. Indeed, having an actual scanner (a functioning one) was key to getting rid of these files and moving paperless. If not having an actual scanner on hand, a scanning app at least helps. After suffering from a serious leg injury last semester, I had to scan a lot of paperwork from the doctors to my professors and dean of students.. Sure enough, I did not have a scanner handy, but a scanning app did just fine and got the job done.
    The third point raised here regarding pairing documents with services is important too. Using something like Google Drive or Dropbox is smart to organize and keep track of what is digital when trying to go paperless. Not only is it better for the environment, but with the technological advances in place, paperless offices are more beneficial for everyone. Having a good mix of digital files and still having paper files is ideal for a company. The one con I have to a completely paperless office is the risk of being hacked. It seems as though companies think it can never happen to them, until something major does happen. If there are no back-up files or physical copies, and lots of data is lost, companies will run into some major headaches. The time exerted on recovering these files (many of which will never be recovered) is time wasted for companies. The cost that it would take to recover these files (again, many of which will never be recovered), could be very problematic. As long as everyone in the company is involved in keeping the company as secure as possible, I like the idea of having a mix of both hard-copy files and electronic files.

  28. Sophia Bjerregaard November 2, 2018 at 8:40 am #

    Going paperless in the future was always a concept that was put into our heads as kids. However, here we are in the future and still create lots of paper waste for no reason. I think the issue the country has with going paperless steams from the elders in our society. Many elders today have a hard time understanding technology, so it is no surprise that they would stick to paper products. Paper products are just simpler to understand and take no extra knowledge to use. People thought that by 2018 that we would be a paperless society, but I think it is going to take longer. I wish that we were a paperless society because it would be better for the environment and we already have the resources to do so.

  29. Alexander Fialkowsky November 2, 2018 at 10:12 am #

    A paperless world is something that we are striving for in today’s society due to severe environmental issues. PDFs and E-signatures are becoming more prevalent than ever for important documents, school work, and even businesses. It is true that we use more resources than we can replace in a given time but it is especially true for paper. Deforestation in some areas has gotten so severe that entire ecosystems are being disrupted because of human actions. A paperless world would be a step in the right direction however, in my opinion there is another possible solution to keep paper around. With all of the technology we posses today, it is becoming harder and harder to confirm identity online, safety measures such as captchas, two-factor authentication, and fingerprint scanning ( in the case of iPhone users). I personally feel that the removal of paper from society is impractical. Some documents are so important to a persons life that no risks should be taken in their creation, signing, and delivery. This is hard to maintain on the internet. A viable option to keep paper around for years to come would be to switch to hemp based paper worldwide. It is biodegradable when exposed to UV rays from the sun, unlike regular paper, and is also a much more sustainable source rather than trees. This is a necessary step we must take in order to help our planet.

  30. Mark M November 6, 2018 at 11:12 pm #

    In an ever-changing world where everything is becoming more tech savvy, this article is an excellent layout on how to adapt with the times. The future of the modern world is going digital and it only makes sense for us to match what the world is evolving into around us. Think to the future for a second. It is 20 years in the future and work spaces are neat and tidy. Desks that used to be covered in paperwork are now empty and have room for trinkets or items of importance. All clutter that ruins a workplace is gone and now you can actually get work done. Now come back to reality. Think of your office at work, or of someone you know. How does the clutter feel to you now?

    The paperless future has benefits to it. In an age where we’re trying to constantly reduce our carbon footprint, paperless offices are the kickstart in the right direction. Without paper in offices, there is no need to create more paper and produce harmful chemicals that go into the environment. There would be no need to transport paper products via truck, as it would just have to be sent over the internet, thus creating less of a carbon footprint. Even the fact that the internet would be used helps save the environment, as the internet runs off of electricity, an environmentally-friendly source of power.

    A paperless environment has benefits to an office too. It is much easier to move around an office without clutter. On top of that, the internet is easy to maneuver and there a ton of programs to keep in touch with coworkers, bosses, and anybody in the chain of command. Altogether, a paperless world is better. And if I were you, I’d be ready to face that world because that is our future, it is only a matter of time.

  31. Chris Vena November 7, 2018 at 10:04 pm #

    The article, “How to Take Steps Towards a Paperless Office” by Patrick Austin, really brings up a good point about how the public is constantly told about a paperless future, and it has yet to become a reality. Austin says all we need for a paperless office is, “A scanner, a smartphone, and some cloud storage services are all you need to convert the stack of papers on your desk into a paperless wonderland.” Realistically this would be a great, but it seems like it may not happen. Currently there are many accounting firms that operate this way, but they still store many documents in paper form as backups. The real problem is in smaller settings and in people’s homes they do not want to spend the money on a scanner or for some cloud storage services that require a fee. One way to fix this issue is that many people have printers, and there are many printers that also double as a scanner. This goes to show that the main issue is that many people may just not know this. Similar to how people may not want to pay for cloud services, some people may not realize there are many cloud services with no fees attached. This also brings about the issue of privacy and cloud services. Storing important documents in a cloud can be seen by many as a security issue. I believe as cloud storage becomes more popular it will also become safer. Once this happens and people become more educated on other technological advances, we may eventually have a paperless society.

  32. Vincent A November 8, 2018 at 7:55 pm #

    As a young adult going through the beginning stages of entering the work force, I’ve noticed that the workplaces that I’ve been in have had less and less paper. These offices are slowly transitioning into high-tech offices and work environments. My feeling is that offices and companies are starting to do this in order to 1) adapt to newer technologies and create a more efficient environment, and 2) to accommodate the new generation of young workers that they may higher because young adults coming out of college are very good with platforms and computers, which essentially does not need the use of paper.
    I think this article does a good job of explaining the steps to making an office ‘paperless’. The use of scanners, files, smartphones, and high intelligent platforms defeat the purpose of paper. It even goes as far as recommending certain apps that make sharing documents and capturing them easier. This article has a perfect ending by asking, “The only question left to answer is what are you going to do with all that useless paper?”

  33. Paul Lee November 9, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

    As the human population grows and as time passes, we tend to use more and more trees for a variety of purposes. I can see that many offices and many around the world use paper for business or private, sensitive documents. We can cut this down with technology as the world delves deeper and deeper into innovative technology. This article writes strong facts that I believe many human beings should read and follow.
    First off, the point to use scanners is a solid detail that I do not think many know about. Having a scanner attached to your laptop or computer can save one the trouble of using his or her phone. Scan the document into your computer or laptop and save the document. It will save your documents into the file of your choice. Also using a scanning app on your phone is also very helpful. You do not have to depend on your home or office scanner for the documents that you need to send or save. You can scan the document on the very spot, this is a very brilliant idea that can truly save many trees. This will decrease the use of papers around the world if many people were to follow suit. I know that millions of trees are cut down every year for human purposes from using it as pencils, books, or paper. If we can lessen any amount of cutting of trees then it is a win. We need to stand together and stop using so many trees. There is not an unlimited supply of trees for every human use of a tree. I fear what would happen if we’re to run out of trees. This article states strong points by author Patrick Lucas Austin that my business peers should read as it will definitely streamline your work while saving our trees.
    As time passes in the world, the human race needs to be conscious about keeping our planet green and healthy. To cut down on the use of trees will enrich our lands and keep our air clean as well. We also need to take action on other human pollution we do such as global warming or littering. There are a variety of news articles and scientific research that show how the human race is slowly destroying the earth with pollution. I would like the world to watch out for global warming especially as it is slowly increasing and slowly stop affecting wildlife with its heat. There are multiple steps we can to lessen our carbon dioxide output into the earth’s atmosphere. If we can slowly take action and have proper education on how to keep our earth safe such as this same article written by Mr. Lucas then we can prevent anymore pollution.

  34. Abbey Johnson November 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm #

    How To Take Steps Towards a Paperless Office by Patrick Lucas Austin is a great way to show people who are not aware how easy it is to convert a desk full of papers, to files on your computer. He explains all the different ways there are to be efficient in your office, such as having files for different clients. Another great point he brings up is how easy it is to scan your written signature onto the computer, so that way you don’t have to physically sign everything, but instead and just put your signature in with the click of a button. This is a great idea to make your office more efficient, especially if there is a a file cabinet filled with papers that need signatures. Even though there is some debate about the safety of storing your signature on your computer, there are options for people who choose to password protect their signature on file so only certain personnel have access. Another easy thing that businesses can do in steps towards being paperless, is investing in a printer with a scanner. This is extremely helpful as having your documents and files on the computer can be better organized, and are just as easily accessible as the paper versions, in the cloud.
    Scanning documents and files is very common in most businesses, as well as hospitals. Hospitals have benefitted drastically by the paperless change, as it makes patient files easier to find in a crisis situation, making the patient’s information readily available in a matter of seconds and searching the birthday. The main benefit of converting your workspace papers into the cloud of your computer is a smart and efficient way to keep your information secure, as well as easily accessible to update when necessary. This is also a great way for people to cut down on the amount of paper we use, as most businesses waste tons of paper. Even though this is more popular with the younger generations, I think that businesses that have been operating for some time can benefit from this update in their filing system. The problem is that some companies and businesses do not know how to convert files to the cloud, or simply how to use the cloud to access files. I think that it would be in any company’s best interest to have an expert come to the business to give everyone a tutorial on how to scan a document, edit an already scanned document, insert a signature, or even forward a document to another business. Even though this might be confusing for some at first, this paperless change is a way for one business to better our environment, as well as better themselves and their productivity.

  35. Daniel Campbell November 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm #

    It’s completely normal to think that in today age, a paperless world is inevitable. The use and growth of technology amongst consumers and businesses are ever-increasing, but why do we continue to see paper used today in most offices at home or in major corporations? The answer is lying in this article. As the consumer we are responsible with setting the market. The article does a great job laying out what specific actions we can take as the consumer to limit the use of paper in all office actions. The first step of getting an online signature seems risky in today’s day of data breaches and cyber terror, but it does highlight how fast it would be for all businesses and consumers if we had a cyber signature on hand for all applications. Having a physical paper scanner is also very important because the phone apps that offer scans aren’t professional and lead to advertisements and error of scans. If is definitely safe to say that we will see a large increase in the use of paper scanners in businesses in the future. I have to disagree with the author that online signatures are going to grow in use for the fact that people are very slow to adapting to sacrificing security in exchange for a faster process. Whether that be making remedial tasks easier and faster, or long applications for specific businesses faster to complete and send out to their respective services. As mentioned, pairing scanner applications with services such as the cloud, can make normal tasks much easier by reducing the amount of time spent transferring physical paper documents into scanned documents easily accessible on all interfaces and applications. We will definitely see an increase in use for all internet provided services such as these scanning applications and cloud.

  36. RJC-Rider November 9, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

    Technological advancements move humans forward in all aspects of their life. Cars that can drive themselves, exoskeletons that allow us to lift heavier objects, and glasses that superset information about our world around us are all here to improve human life and ability. The article above furthers this theme in technology through demonstrating how some very basic technological advances can improve our work lives; specifically creating a paperless office. This advancement in technology is very simple to integrate into our everyday lives with the addition of a scanner or a scanning app ( I personally use the google scanning app) to digitize our paper documents. In addition to the physical hardware upgrade, one must add some software to their PC or Mac to accommodate the new addition to the computer family.
    This technological advancement has a much bigger impact than this article eludes. Besides making the office more convenient and easy to organize through digitization, the paperless office concept is also a huge cost saving and environmentally conscious practice. Cloud computing and storage is a fairly new and popular data storage unit that allows for large amounts of data storage at a very inexpensive price point. By having a cheap way to store documents and lack the need for purchasing paper, the operating cost of ones business can decrease. Additionally, this practice allows for the conservation of trees. By practicing environmental conservation, one cna brand themselves as an environmentally conscious business which would pole well with most consumers, especially millennials and gen Xs. Eliminating excess paper from our lives save green both in our wallets and in the forests.

  37. Sandra C November 9, 2018 at 5:27 pm #

    Going “Paperless” is a goal that many younger generations try to enforce in their homes and offices. In the office, a cluttered, paper-filled, desk is one that can cause stress while at work. This disarranged lifestyle can lead to producing work that is not as efficient. By going paperless, a business will also be able to save money on ink, paper, and many other printer supplies. Due to the environment, economic, and mental savings, paperless is the way that many businesses are evolving. Today, I notice a lot of professors requesting that work be submitted online, or companies sending out internet versions of contracts to sign. Companies are already taking the initiative to become eco-friendly. Because of this, I think that in less than 10 years, there will be many companies and organizations that turn to the paperless office.

    The article provides many resources and ways to initiate a paperless lifestyle. Many of the recommendations are directed towards a younger generation, however many offices and superiors are from older generations. It is in these generations that “the old fashion way” of printing is used. They enjoy tangible items that are not on a screen. In these situations, it is important to use eco friendly, or recycled, paper. It is easy to say that there is technology in place to reduce paper, however not everyone wants to make the switch to technology.

  38. Elyse N Cuttic November 9, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

    I firmly believe people and companies going entirely paperless is in the near future. There is too much technology to not be headed in that direction. In offices I think there has been a major transition to paperless just by talking to my peers and in my personal experiences. This summer at my internship the company was in the process of putting all paper documents in a system to eventually go paperless. Most of the paperwork were in areas such as insurance, customer profiles, and invoices. In this particular company I worked for most of the employees were younger adults or technologically advanced older adults. These people were excited to do most of their work online and they didn’t have to worry about misplacing the paperwork anymore. I think as long as workers are willing to do work on the computer and go paperless it will increase the amount of companies who make this transition.
    Having workers who are educated in scanning, using drop box, Evernote, and e signatures are a big asset. My personal belief is that not many companies have transitioned yet because of the people who work for them. Majority of people in the work force did not grow up with technology handed them at such young ages. Millennials and young adults have been using technology since they were so little, they can easily work computers or software systems. I think more and more companies will go paperless once millennials transition more into the workforce. There might be more of a resist to change in older workers who are causing this to transition slowly. I know many people who would prefer things to be online and paperless. For example, most college students would prefer documents to be online as you can access them anywhere. I think in the future more people and countries will go paperless.

  39. Douglas Tkac November 9, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    There’s a lot of things that are change more rapidly with the evolution of technology, especially when it comes to the workplace. With the workplace and office space becoming more tech-savvy, that is something that I can get used to. I think a completely paperless office space is coming sooner than later.

    First off, this idea of a paperless work space written by Patrick Lucas Austin can be very beneficial to a lot of people. Certain jobs out there require delicate use and storage of certain files, data, and documents, and to store all of them manually can be a pain and can very well result in lost or damaged files. Not only that, but if any of the printers used to print these certain documents are out of order or broken, that could leave plenty of people up a creek with no paddle in sight. With a scanner or a scanning app on your phone too, it can take a lot of stress and time away from people struggling to import documents from paper into the digital world.

    Ultimately, the less paper an office space has, the eye test can prove itself sometimes to be a direct indicator as to how well-handled and efficient that work space. Personally, I think that a paperless office space is coming sooner than later to plenty of other companies out there. Nowadays, people can do a lot for themselves just by using their computers or their smartphones, and Austin makes a great point to mention all of the free app services that allow you to scan certain documents just from the camera of your phone. That itself can make looking at your phone while you’re at work almost a thousand times more useful than it already is.

    I think companies and businesses should take a long look at this article. Not only do the benefits listed by Austin in this article make and provide perfect sense, but the opportunity and actual cost of upgrading technological services and devices for the members of a company can amount to a lot less compared to staying with older, slower, and overall less-efficient ways of moving and storing data.

  40. Jack P November 9, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    In every school across the country there is one common thing, paper. No matter how technologically advanced your school or classrooms is they all have paper. Going paperless not just in your daily life but in schools could really cut back on our paper consumption as a country. One thing my teachers are doing is moving towards online assignments only instead of handing in work on paper. For example, this assignment I am doing right now. My teacher has dedicated this course to be truly paperless. At first I was very skeptical because I usually use a planner and take notes on a pad of paper. When I first started taking the notes on my computer it felt completely awkward. At first, I kept bringing a note pad to class and a few times I caught myself turning back to the old form of taking notes. Once I caught the hang of it though, it was honestly much easier. Now, in all my classes I only take notes on my MacBook. It is super easy with Google Docs because it automatically saves your work so what you write is always accessible.

    I believe the most difficult part for people trying to turn to paperless is because how annoying it is to begin. When you start you will always want to go back to paper, until you learn how easy and accessible taking notes on the computer is. If we all strive to go paperless our environment will feel the benefits and make strives to be as paperless as we can in the United States.

  41. Warren Vetter November 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    Going paperless is the next big step that corporations need to make. If more companies do start to go paperless a lot of paper will be saved around the world. The writer of this article gives companies a lot of great options for different ways companies can easily save paper. One thing that really caught my attention about saving paper is using the app Scanbot to scan papers from your mobile device. Scanning items using your cell phone can be a great way not only to save paper but to save time as well. Furthermore, getting your signature on file is one that I would less expect to save paper due to the fact that it is just a signature. Having your signature saved into your computer is a little scary because if someone does hack into it and they get your personal signature well then you are screwed. It will make it easier to sign stuff because your signature is one click away. Going paperless in the office is very eco-friendly and is a great way to help save the world. Saving paper saves trees which play a major factor in our lives. With global warming playing a major factor in our climate, saving paper is one step towards saving the environment and this beautiful planet.

  42. Tess Coorens November 9, 2018 at 8:43 pm #

    For recent years saving the environment has been brought to light more often and in different manners. For example, safe energy by using wind and solar energy this also reduces pollution in the air. Another way is to reduce the amount of plastic used and instead try and use reusable packaging and water bottles. Or people can reduce the paper waste in their life, it is better for the environment and saves the trees, which on their turn is also good for the environment. This article focuses on how you can take steps to a paperless office. The article shows some smart easy steps to save paper in an office for unnecessary things. Such as getting your signature online so you no longer have to sign the papers and they can just be forwarded to everyone in one click instead of multiple papers mailed to multiple people. The use of a scanner can also be very beneficial as the papers from that moment on can be shared online. And lastly as long as you make sure everything is filed in an organized matter you can find your documents back online in no time.
    This is beneficial as a desk full of papers is very hectic and can provide a stressful work environment for the employee. Apart from that it is hard to find the papers you need to work on. Papers also get lost more easily and you do not always have a copy of the document. If you work online the file is always saved somewhere say you ‘lose it’. This provides a better working environment for the employee and puts the employee’s and companies in a better light. And lastly as mentioned before, besides the benefits for the employees to reduce papers to make their jobs easier, it is also better for the environment to safe on the use of unnecessary papers.

  43. Adam C. November 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    This article discusses the various ways to achieve the goal of going paperless in an office. Some of the ways include having a portable scanner, having a digital signature, and having cloud based documents.

    Nevertheless, I think the ultimate goal of a paperless office is a noble, but near impossible goal. There will always be a need for some form of paper in the office. This need could range from having something printed for convenience or having something printed for security reasons. While some people do not have the means to access online documents, there are cases where the physical presence of paper is preferred. For example, in a presentation, having a paper handout to follow along with is much more physically engaging compared to a Word document. Having a paper document will encourage viewers to stay focused on the subject at hand and not browse the internet while in an important presentation.

    Furthermore, online documents are subject to the possibility of being hacked. Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common as the internet and computers become more accessible. This increased threat of cyber attacks encourages some sensitive documents to remain as paper only. For an unauthorized user, a paper only document will require physical theft compared to a cyber attack. A physical theft is much easier to control and monitor compared to the threat of a global cyber attack.

  44. Marco V November 9, 2018 at 10:15 pm #

    As we continue to save the environment, many places and offices have decided to cut down on paper. It helps us stay clutter free by organizing everything electronically. I remember having bills all over the place and now that I receive e-bills and statements, everything is very organized. You are able to stay on top of everything and have everything virtually at your fingertips. Especially if you decide to save files in a cloud based service. As mentioned in the article, having an electronic signature can save you time. You can easily access it and place it on any file that requires your signature. From there, it is easy to email it to wherever it needs to go. This saves people and companies time, some companies who email you or send you forms can receive your digital copies in a matter of minutes. This cuts down on having to wait for it to arrive in the mail and saves you money from faxing files. As mentioned, a service to save your files is Google Drive. Not only is it available at all times, but multiple people can view or collaborate on files.

  45. KConrad November 9, 2018 at 10:20 pm #

    This article was very thoughtful in introducing the idea of going paperless. While it is easy to be consumed with the trade off being primarily saving of trees I think there is another tradeoff that is a direct benefit. Going paperless allows for better organization and also a less stressful life. Being able to have all of your documents in one place and in a way that can be easily organized in the office is a big help. What’s even better is that not only is going paperless better for the environment but it is also easier and more efficient of a way to organize documents.

    The only downside to this would be the possible technological gap in understanding how to really use the features that lead to a paperless office. I read some of the comments at the end of the piece which mentions a particular age group being left out of consideration here. However, I would say that it is not only older employees who may not take part in this but it’s also those who just are resistant to change in this way and that could be younger people as well. I think the goal for those who want a paperless office is to do all you can to learn the how-to’s and then once you have it then do what ever you can to not just tell others of the benefit but to also be available to assist with helping others actually get the same kind of knowledge to make this a successful endeavor.

  46. Tirzah K November 9, 2018 at 10:25 pm #

    Taking steps towards a paperless office would definitely lesson our footprints on the planet. After all, it is so easy to accumulate papers and books at home in your office and inside a file cabinet. How often do we clean out those file cabinets anyway. I’m sure some people will find that they’re holding onto bank records past 10 years; and, that’s not even necessary anymore because even those records are available at a moments notice online. Technology has made it pretty easy for us now to store information in a virtual cloud, or, if a person is worried about their information being hacked, information can be stored on a flash drive. This cuts down tremendously on the space that so much paper eventually takes up.

    In the past, we have had to keep documents such as bank records for at least seven years, past income tax returns going back seven to ten years, medical records, receipts and every parent has pages of drawings from their children that they like to save in addition to accomplishments, certificates, and sometimes even old notebooks. That is no longer necessary as technology has made it so easy for us to store information online by making scanner apps available to us by phone. We no longer have to go out and buy a scanner, we can just take a photo of our document and add it to whatever source we are using for saving the information. Of course, some prefer the actual scanner which is fine too. Ultimately, no matter which way it’s done, if it’s done, it helps to eliminate paper clutter.

    It may seem that after scanning all of your material online, that it would still be clutter… just online clutter; but, there are online programs such as Evernote, that you can arrange your scanned material into organized files. I love the thought of being able to keep my children’s artwork neat and safe from the rips and tears that those pages get over time. It’s also great to know that you still have access to papers such as past tax returns and are free to keep even more years because they are literally only taking up digital space online. The article ended with a question of what to do with all that paper after scanning; my suggestion would be to get all of the family together and throw a shed paper party complete with a few pizzas and soda!!

  47. Daryna Chumak November 9, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

    Over the last several years I have noticed a “trend” that many companies and universities follow – becoming paperless. I believe it is important to take steps to help the environment; however, at times it is a challenging task. My first year of college I printed every power point, notes, and other documents for my classes. I justified it with the thought of “I need to in order to study for my class.” However, the real reason for my printing habit was the fact that I was used to reading and writing on paper. I was stubborn to change. There are many people like myself, especially older generations, who pick convenience and their routine over changing their habits. However, over the term of my six-month internship at multinational corporation, I was put into a position to change. The company was not only paperless, but even the cafe and the kitchen had no plastic or paper dishes and utensils. I was put into a position where I felt wrong for having a plastic water bottle in the office. My biggest take away from that experience was that going paperless is an easy switch if everyone around you is also committed to that change. In fact, it allows for efficiency improvement and ability to access information from any place in the world. Technology offers you the ability to standardize your procedures.

  48. Petar Micevski November 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm #

    The steps to creating a paperless office have been tested by businesses in recent years. Although they haven’t reached the mark of full digitalization, it is important to recall the reason why they haven’t forgotten about papers.

    The first reason would be funding. When businesses make an attempt to alter the office space, they are often limited to the amount of funding they have on hand. Incorporating a technological aspect of the office comes with its consequences, and some of these consequences could potentially be more damaging than supportive. With the addition of technology also comes the need to educate and assist other office members in using said technology due to their lack of education in the subject. The generations working in offices and other paper-induced areas have been taught how to use paper their entire lives, and people don’t like change. It is the company’s responsibility to offer some sort of help in order to utilize the full effects of a paperless technology in the office. This could be done by having information sessions about certain software or anything that is unfamiliar to the workers regarding technology. This would, unfortunately, cost even more money to establish which is why most businesses do not want to take this route and expect to higher people with better technological skills in the future.

    The second reason would be the previously discussed topic of knowledgeability. If people take a long time to learn certain aspects, they would know that they might be at risk to lose their jobs to a millennial or someone from our generation that don’t need excessive training before using the product. In smaller firms, it is the money that stops people from utilizing paper-free products. In larger corporations, it is also the same reason but for different purposes. Another question also comes into play when discussing such a topic: What should we do with the remaining papers? Should we burn them after scanning them or keep them in a locked room where nobody would think about entering? As we get more and more into the improvement of technology, it is important to keep in mind that abilities of the current generation. Technology is advancing at such an accelerated rate that people are beginning to increasingly raise their expectations of what the average worker can do due to technology’s accessibility and ability to perform. In a perfect world, technology would be understood by everybody and implemented error-free. However, in order to implement modern equipment in our workplace, we must understand the consequences of those objects.

  49. Shaunak Rajurkar November 27, 2018 at 9:42 am #

    Although many liken it to simply “a passing fad,” the paperless “trend” is most definitely here to stay. Not only is it essential to document decentralization, it is a necessity to fight deforestation and combat climate change. Companies like MongoDB have developed “document oriented” databasing, making paper counterparts of documents virtually obsolete. This technology harnesses AI’s capabilities in application to real world documents. This type of practical database provides an organization solution for offices as well.

    There are no drawbacks to a paperless office. This article offers a thoughtful and pragmatic guide to going paperless, and suggest pairing documents and services (such as the examples listed above.) In smaller private dealings, most transactions are already paperless, so they save a lot of paper and are able to minimize extra convolution of their activities. Furthermore, going paperless has been proven to improve inter office communication. The only problem I foresee as the result of going paperless is the sales damage done to large paper and office materials companies like 3M, Avery Dennison, and conglomerates that offer similar products, such as Johnson and Johnson. If these companies can offset these losses, perhaps by offering products that support the paperless transition, the transition will go much smoother. Companies do not have much time to aggiornamento to the paperless office culture before significant damage to the environment is done.

    Responses in the comments to the article include frustration that many colleagues are incompetent when it comes to paperless technologies. Perhaps this is a strong indicator that companies can offer “paperless training” to employees, particularly older ones, to ensure a smooth transitioning process. Ultimately it is the duty of both the employers and the employees to act as global citizens in an effort to combat climate change and deforestation. Going paperless is a great first step to reduce a company’s carbon footprint. It will hopefully catalyze large corporations to engage in other environmentally friendly practices. Sustainability in particular is a much bigger challenge, and tech companies in the Silicon Valley area seem pioneering the cause. Many of the giants have begun sourcing their energy from renewable sources. Apple and Google both reached their target in 2017 of being completely run by renewable energy. If this starts a domino effect chain, the private sector can single handedly help reverse incredible amounts of environmental damage.

  50. Danielle C January 28, 2019 at 11:33 pm #

    I agree with Austin’s post. Going paperless in an office is not only helpful for staying organized, but also since everything has become electronic it is helpful for the environment. I do agree with the tips that he discussed. Some of the tips like having your signature electronically documented, pairing documents with sharing devices, and investing in a good scanner and various apps are all good ideas for helping the environment. I have started using some of these tips in my personal life and have even started implementing them into my job. For my personal life, I have invested in a good scanner and use various apps like Google Docs to have my documents stored. Some other ways I have decided to go paperless are by using cloud storages like Google Storage and the Cloud by Apple. Another way to help the environment is to pay bills online reducing the amount of paper received in the mail. Also, emails and calendars can be synced to let you know when your payment is due. Some ways to help the environment that I have implemented into my job was to create a new messaging system for customers to contact us (the retailer) about products and services we offer. Another way to help is to let them use connecting apps like Skype and Google Chat to go in meetings with companies who want to chat with us. Also, getting newer and more updated software can help them be more on top of their document systems and also be able to access documents if a company’s software is more current. The company still uses some old fashion styles of working like keeping filing cabinets and old receipts in boxes. They feel that some things should be changed and updated, but they also feel they want to keep some old traditions, the way the company had been run in the past and loved by many customers. This being true, the issue is as technology evolves, my job will undergo more changes as time goes on and I feel they will continue to stay with their traditional ways, but I will hopefully work with them to update them. Switching to paperless can be hard and take some time to learn, but it is very rewarding in the new and vast and ever-changing electronic systems.

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