The Anatomy Of The Paperless Office

Posted on Sep 9 2013 - 10:09am by Kevin Maddox

Letter Dance

The business of organizing paperwork is time-consuming, boring and arduous. Once upon a time lawyers, banks and other office based business used to employ filing clerks to keep abreast with such mundane tasks, so that the office could run efficiently. That was back when typists were also employed by most professionals. Now there is no such job as ‘filing clerk’, and big typing jobs are often out-sourced to specialist companies.

The problems with paper

Even highly qualified professionals sit in front of computers for much of the working day, and they typically use a combination of paper and electronic methods of organizing their work.

If the workplace is largely paper-based in terms of client files, then it will be somebody’s job to distribute paper-work when it arrives at the office. When it gets to a worker’s in-tray, it will generally stay in that vicinity until some work has been done on it: a reply sent or a decision made. Then it should be filed away so that it’s accessible for review in future.

There are problems with that system. If a particular piece of work is not prioritized by the worker, it will stay in the work station area for a time, and it risks being mislaid eventually. Other workers will not have access to the information it contains which they may need in the event of sickness, for example, or to supervise the work.

The job of filing the paper in the right place after it has been worked on is a dull one, which a professional may defer. Again, that paper may end up lost. Even if the paperwork is not lost, time will be wasted in trying to retrieve paper which has not yet been filed.

What’s the difference if you go paperless?

The advantages of an office going paperless are many. These are some of them:

  • Greater efficiency in physically handing documents
  • Better retrievability of information
  • More space in the office
  • Elimination of outside storage costs
  • Reduced environmental and financial cost of paper which is used for temporary purposes, then discarded
  • Ease of storage for diverse shapes, sizes and types of documents within one system

Getting help from a specialist company like Micro Com Systems to manage the transition has to be a good investment for most businesses that are contemplating making the change. Real expertise in suitable systems is unlikely to exist already within the work-place and advice about the personnel implications of the change will likely be needed too.

Photo Credit: Flickr/rosmary

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Kevin is a team building expert and corporate event manager. Throughout his career, he has seen various amazing team building events. He owns a blog through which he shares information about different techniques to build team spirit.