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.
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.
- I used Scanbot to convert my existing paper documents into digital PDFs.
- I shredded and recycled all my existing paper documents.
- I don’t print anything now unless an outside authority insists upon it and the printout is for their records — not mine.
- I don’t keep my computer connected to the printer, so I can’t print anything accidentally.
- I have switched to online banking.
- I have made it easy for clients to pay me via BACS, rather than using cheques.
- I have devised an effective digital filing system for my client projects and accounts.
- I have created a digital copywriting brief that clients can complete in Word and submit via email.
- I use multiple desktops and swipe between them when referring to different sources of information, rather than using printouts.
- I bookmark websites in my browser when I want to refer to them again, rather than printing off the pages.
- I choose digital formats, such as ebooks and online articles, when researching, rather than buying paper versions.
- I communicate by email, phone or social media — never by post or fax.
- I edit client documents in Google Docs rather than marking the changes on paper.
- I share large files using the Google Drive rather than printing them out.
- I send out client projects as PDFs or Word files.
- I quote and invoice using PDFs attached to email.
- 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
- I scanned my signature so I have the capability to sign documents online, though I have found these are not always accepted.
- I reuse envelopes.
- 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.