I have been doing a lot of research recently about going paperless in my office. I, like many people, have worked with paper for decades and want to know if there are alternatives to moving paper from place to place, filing it, photocopying it, faxing it etc. Many organizations are producing excessive amounts of paper which is bad for the environment as it requires the cutting down of large numbers of trees and the use of water that could be used for alternative purposes. Paper documentation can also be highly inefficient as you need to maintain a systematic filing system where paper can be stored. You have to do the same with electronic documentation but you also have the benefit of tagging these documents so they can appear in many different forms of searches.
To move towards the paperless office you need to take a few steps including purchasing a good quality document scanner to enable you to digitize your existing documents. These means that your scanner should not be a flatbed scanner as this does not work well with high volumes of documents. Your document scanner should have an automatic document feeder that can handle at least 10 pages doublesided at a time to be effective. To assist the process you also require the purchase of a good quality shredder to get rid of confidential physical documents. Many of the shredders that I have researched have a down time where you can only shred documents for a few minutes before the unit overheats.
Is all this effort worth it? Absolutely. Think of all the office space you can claim back from digitizing your current documents as well the ease at which you can access your content through keyword searches in PDF documents. Also many portable document scanners now work with mobile phones and tablets to expedite the process.