In August 2017 I ditched my problematic printer and switched to a paperless office.

What does ‘paperless’ mean?

According to paperlesslogo.com, you can qualify as paperless if any three of the following apply to your business:

  • Formal communications are conducted via email/phone instead of posted letter.
  • Invoices are sent via email or made available online without being printed.
  • Payments are made online and not by cheque unless required.
  • You do not use a fax machine.
  • Filing is done on hard drives, servers or online and you do not use filing cabinets.

Source: www.paperlesslogo.com

In my business all of the above points apply. This allows me to display the ‘Proud to be Paperless’ logo in my website footer.

20 Steps to a paperless office

Here’s how I made the switch to a paperless office — and how you can too.

  1. I used Scanbot to convert my existing paper documents into digital PDFs.
  2. I shredded and recycled all my existing paper documents.
  3. I don’t print anything now unless an outside authority insists upon it and the printout is for their records — not mine.
  4. I don’t keep my computer connected to the printer, so I can’t print anything accidentally.
  5. I have switched to online banking.
  6. I have made it easy for clients to pay me via BACS, rather than using cheques.
  7. I have devised an effective digital filing system for my client projects and accounts.
  8. I have created a digital copywriting brief that clients can complete in Word and submit via email.
  9. I use multiple desktops and swipe between them when referring to different sources of information, rather than using printouts.
  10. I bookmark websites in my browser when I want to refer to them again, rather than printing off the pages.
  11. I choose digital formats, such as ebooks and online articles, when researching, rather than buying paper versions.
  12. I communicate by email, phone or social media — never by post or fax.
  13. I edit client documents in Google Docs rather than marking the changes on paper.
  14. I share large files using the Google Drive rather than printing them out.
  15. I send out client projects as PDFs or Word files.
  16. I quote and invoice using PDFs attached to email.
  17. I either take my laptop to meetings or a reusable notepad, where you can erase your notes with a hairdryer and reuse all the pages
  18. I scanned my signature so I have the capability to sign documents online, though I have found these are not always accepted.
  19. I reuse envelopes.
  20. And if I absolutely have to print something: 
  • I print onto 80gsm paper as lower grades tend to jam the printer and consequently create more waste
  • I use the economy, fast-draft ink setting 
  • I am selective and only print the required pages of the document, even if this takes a little longer
  • I view a print preview before I print to make sure I get it right first time.

About the author

I’m Jenny Lucas, a UK copywriter, based in Leicester.

I became a copywriter in 2005 after six years working in design and marketing.

I started my freelance copywriting business alongside my full time job in 2011 and, in 2017, I decided to give up having a day job and freelance full time.

Today I’m a generalist copywriter who specialises in conceptual copywriting and SEO copy for the web.

Image by Krzysztof Kamil from Pixabay