As more and more businesses, both large and small, attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by introducing paperless offices, suppliers need to adapt the way they work to ensure that they can continue to meet their clients’ needs.
Being a virtual assistant, seeking to reduce the amount of paper I print out helps me work more efficiently, not to mention saving me a whole lot of space in my home office!
There are three things that I find vital in enabling me to work paperlessly. While it is impossible to be completely paperless, having these tools in my office help:
Obvious, yes? You would be surprised how many businesses still don’t have one of these in their office. The simple scanner is the first step which will enable you to convert your paper documents into electronic ones. This is good for two reasons: firstly, it will enable you to send documents electronically, and secondly, it means you can store them on your devices and, if appropriate, dispose of the hard copy in the process.
Scanners can cost from as little as £50 and are well worth the investment.
2. PDF Editing Software
If you are moving towards paperless working, the chances are you are going to be working with PDF’s. PDF’s are a useful tool for sending documents which cannot be edited by your clients or suppliers, such as invoices or terms and conditions.
If you are sending PDF’s, the chances are that you receive them too. So how do you work on or edit a PDF document without having to print it out and defeat the purpose of paperless working? Well, you have three options:
1. Buy Adobe Acrobat – it is the primary tool for creating PDF files. It is not cheap, but if you are getting the use out of it, it can save you a lot of time in the long run and can do much more than just edit PDF files.
2. Download PDF Editing software – there are a number that are free and easy to use.
3. Use an online PDF to Word Converter – There are several websites that provide an online PDF to text conversion service for free. And unlike the PDF to text converter, PDF to Word puts the document straight into your word processor. Just search “PDF to text” in any search engine. Make sure that the software is reliable and free to use.
No, not that fluffy white stuff. The cloud is a means of storing your newly converted electronic files on the internet instead of on your physical PC/Laptop/Tablet you are using at this very moment. It gives you that extra security now that you have moved to paperless working and have shredded those hard copy documents to save space. I use GoogleDrive as my cloud backup which allows me to store up to 15GB of data for free, however there are many other Cloud options to choose from. The important thing, especially if you are striving to be paper free, is to continually back up the files from your computer to the Cloud so that you can always access them.
So there you have it, three essentials for the paperless office. Of course, if you outsource your office administration to a virtual assistant you will need none of these 😉
Feel free to get in touch for some friendly advice on how to streamline your office processes.