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How to go paperless at your office 12 min read
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The IRS recommends that most businesses keep their tax records for 7 years. If you’re still storing those records in filing cabinets, you know how it can pile up.

Honestly, though, it’s not just for taxes.

It’s not uncommon for companies to have entire rooms dedicated to hardcopy record keeping.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In 2021, almost any document can be stored electronically, and many businesses have gone entirely paperless.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the benefits of paperless record-keeping and how to get started. Plus, you’ll learn how can help you make the transition.

Why to create a paperless office?

Going paperless has numerous benefits for you and your organization.

Some of these include:

  • Saves money
  • Saves time
  • Produces less clutter
  • Easier to transfer information
  • Allows for stronger security
  • Better for the environment
  • Frees up more office space or allows for a smaller office
  • Allows remote work and working from home

A paperless office tries to minimize its use of physical paper as much as possible.

At the moment, the idea of a truly paper-free office is unattainable for most companies.

That means avoiding things like printing out emails or meeting handouts that get read once and then tossed in the recycling can.

The resistance to going paperless

The concept of a paperless office has existed ever since the use of desktop computers became commonplace.

However, many companies today still use and rely on paper-based documents. US companies alone use over 12 trillion sheets of paper a year.

The process of going paperless — known as digitization — is easier now than ever before. Invoicing, signatures on legal documents, and most other tasks can be done in a paperless way.

Still, there can be a lot of resistance from both business owners and employees about switching to paperless documents.

The process of converting your paper files over to electronic can feel like a monumental task.

Plus, you’ve got to request paperless billing from all your suppliers and try to convince your customers to accept your invoices in a digital-only format.

Going paperless can also change work processes.

Employees may need to adapt and change the way that they do things in such an office environment.

Still, the benefits greatly outweigh the inconvenience of making the switch.

Benefits of an paperless office

An average of 4 weeks of productivity is lost for a business each year waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked, or lost paper documents.

Keep in mind that the percentage of home offices is also expected to double in 2021. Being paperless may be critical for your business if you’re having employees work remotely.

In many companies, there are still many processes that require the use of paper forms. This renders remote work nearly impossible for some tasks.

The potential cost savings are also immense. The cost of working with paper can add up to $400,000 per year.

Just imagine that you never had to pay again for:

  • Printers
  • Toner cartridges
  • Paper
  • Writing tools
  • Shredders
  • Photocopiers
  • Staples
  • Paperclips
  • Folders

Filing cabinets also take up a lot of space. And all that space is extra square feet that you’re paying for in the form of rent, either on-site or for off-site storage.

Infographic showing the business cost of using paper.

(Image Source)

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How to go paperless

Some industries like construction, legal, and accounting are traditionally “papered.”

But the truth is, technology exists nowadays for almost any kind of business to go paperless.

Once you decide to go paperless, how do you actually go about making the transition?

The kinds of specific systems and software you’ll need will depend on the type of business you’re involved in.

Specific departments in your business like HR, sales, marketing, and customer support will also have unique paperless needs.

For example, human resources or payroll may have a greater need for security and confidentiality.

You may need to invest in separate software tailored to helping a specific department run paperless. You may also need to have one larger ERP system that ties everything together in one big paperless system.

Becoming a paperless office: 8 key tips

The move from paper to paperless doesn’t need to happen all at once.

It’s probably best to take it slow. Your business is likely so reliant on paper that a sudden shift could be overwhelming.

You can start making small changes to your business today that will gradually reduce your paper usage.

“The paperless office is possible, but not by imitating paper. Note that the horseless carriage did not work by imitating horses.” — Ted Nelson

Here are some things that you can do to get started.

1. Get rid of junk mail

Try to get any free newspaper or flyer companies to take you off their route. You can also add a “no flyers” sign to your mailbox, and most people will respect it.

2. Sign up for paperless billing 

Almost everyone from your utility providers to suppliers probably offers paperless options. Receive all of your bills via email to cut down on the amount of data entry, filing, and other related tasks.

3. Digitize existing filing 

This can be a huge undertaking. But it will free up tons of space and make your documents more easily searchable. Consider hiring a summer intern to help because this will take weeks of scanning for most businesses.

4. Start storing documents on the cloud 

You don’t need to digitize all of your paper documents right away to start going paperless. You can leave your existing filing cabinets as-is, and instead, just start going digital on all future documents. You can come back and catch up with digitizing past paper later.

5. Use e-Signatures

Even important legal documents and agreements can be signed electronically and returned via email. Most employees, and even some small businesses who are already paperless, may no longer have a printer, scanner, or fax machine. Electronic documents are easier for everyone.

6. Change your printing mindset 

People can get into the habit of printing things just because that’s how it’s always been done. Implement a “think before you print” mindset in your business. Get people to consider whether printing is really necessary. If it’s something you’ll only look at once or twice before recycling, the answer is probably no.

7. Avoid taking notes on paper

Unless everyone in the company has their own personal laptop or tablet, it might be difficult to cut down on all note-taking. But there are plenty of note-taking software or app options to replace sticky notes and paper notepads.

8. Shred unnecessary records 

The chances of having to refer back to a document from a decade ago are slim to none. And finding it when you do need it is often like finding a needle in a haystack. Even most tax records don’t need to be kept after 7 years or so. Check with your legal department to see what paper files you need to keep. Securely shred and dispose of the rest.

Tools to help you go paperless

The following tools can help make your switch to a paperless office easier:

Fortunately, you don’t need 6+ different platforms to go paperless.

With a full-featured Work OS like, you get all of these functions — and more — in one platform.

digital form created using

Is it safe to go paperless?

Going paperless comes with its own special requirements and challenges.

If you don’t take the appropriate steps and precautions, you may end up suffering a loss of data or other problems associated with storing information digitally.

84% of all businesses store data or backups in the cloud, with a further 8% planning to do so within the next year. So it’s not necessarily a matter of if your business will go paperless, but when.

Once the time finally does come, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything right to minimize any associated risks.

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Let’s look at 4 ways you can ensure your company data remains safe once you’ve gotten rid of paper.  

Important considerations when going paperless

After going paperless, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.


If you keep all of your documents and files on a single hard drive or local server, you can lose years of information if it ever fails.

All businesses should create regular backups of data.

Smaller companies can get away with a single cloud storage account.

Larger companies will want to have multiple off-site backups. Ideally, these should be housed in different geographic locations in case of natural disasters.

You should also have a disaster recovery plan detailing how you’ll pick up the pieces if something catastrophic were to ever happen.


Going paperless helps with some aspects of security. You no longer need to worry about someone going through your business mail or garbage.

But it also opens up new online security risks. In 2020, there were over 1,000 data breaches.

Hackers can break into cloud storage or even gain physical access to hard drives that are stored on-site. Employee details can also be stolen through keyloggers or phishing email attempts.

However, the risk can be greatly minimized by the use of safeguards like:

  • Firewalls
  • Encryption
  • Use of strong passwords

Make sure you choose tools and platforms that have top-notch security measures — like we do at

Staff transition

If you’re going to become a paperless office, it’s important that you get your staff on board as well.

Some employees may have reservations about changing the way they work — particularly older employees who may have been doing a process a certain way for 20 years or more.

They might even have fears that digitization could make them redundant through the processes becoming more efficient.

Employees need to be sold on the importance of going paperless.

Proper change management, intuitive, user-friendly software, and adequate training need to be provided to help your team succeed in a new paperless environment.

Did you know that has 4.7 out of 5 stars on review site G2, and we consistently rank high for ease of use, ease of setup, and our amazing support? has high marks on review site G2

(Image Source)


It’s much harder to rip up a physical document than to accidentally press the delete key.

With one wrong click, entire folders can be moved or deleted in an instant. It can be a stressful event for employees and owners alike.

Mistakes are bound to happen. So you must keep backups and have an easy way to restore them if something goes missing.

Overall, the benefits of going paperless still far outweigh the risks.

 Infographic showing what goes into protecting data

(Image Source)

How can help you go paperless has many features and templates that can help your business get started on your journey to becoming a paperless company.

You might want to start with just one area of your business at a time, or you may want all departments to try it out at once.

You’ll get access to dozens of integrations with tools like Google, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Excel, etc. That means you can continue working with your existing tools inside

For your marketing department

Try our powerful campaign planning template to store and manage all of your essential campaign data in the cloud. 

With, you can plan your campaigns in one organized workspace. You can assign tasks, track statuses, and make sure the whole team is on track to meet deadlines without having to print a single report.

The entire campaign can be digitally visualized and monitored at every stage.

You’ll also instantly receive new campaign requests electronically. Using this Work OS, it becomes easy to manage both new and approved campaigns from one place.

Success can even be tracked and measured with high-level real-time dashboards that you and other stakeholders can monitor from anywhere, right inside the platform.

All of this can help you to avoid overspending and stay on budget, without printing reams of paper.

For your HR department

Check out’s recruitment and onboarding template.

A screenshot of's recruitment and onboarding template.

You can easily manage the entire recruitment process from one centralized digital location. This includes everything from candidate applications all the way through to onboarding — no paper forms required.

Hiring managers can easily manage the process with an intuitive applicant tracking system that displays updated statuses for all candidates.

Once new employees arrive, you can welcome them with a digital training checklist. That way, they’ll know exactly who to meet and which onboarding sessions to attend for the first 2 weeks.

All relevant contact information for new recruits is automatically centralized and added to an employee directory as well.

For your customer support team

Try our customer requests template.

It allows employees to provide excellent customer service by managing all incoming support requests in one place.

You can add important in-context resources and updates. That way, your team has a support team knowledge base stored in a central location, without having to leaf through filing cabinets.

Customer requests are tracked, and their statuses are displayed visually. Employees can toggle between different colorful data visualizations and see all the info they need without having to print anything.

Go paperless today

Going paperless isn’t just the way of the future. For many companies, it’s already a normal part of doing business.

While going paperless has some challenges and risks associated with it, the benefits for your business make it very worthwhile.’s templates can help your business to start going paperless. We have solutions for marketing and creative, software development, sales and CRM, IT, HR, and many other areas of your business. Give it a try today.

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