How to Purge Desktop and Office Paper

It is difficult to let go of paper data because we are not sure of its value in the future and the desire to have a tangible format. When purging paper, start with small chunks, such as one file drawer or one desktop pile to go through. It doesn’t need to be all done in one day or at one time. For most documents, users will be able to ascertain what to keep and what can be recycled. It is reasonable to keep some mementos of past history but keep it down to a small file folder size.

 Here are some questions to ask yourself to help deem what to keep in paper or purge;

  • Is there any action required?

If not, you can probably get rid of it.

  • Is it already saved electronically?

If so, then you recycle the paper.

  • Will the organization ever need, want or find value in this information again?

If yes, then consider scanning the information to store it electronically.

  • Is the information outdated and/or superseded?

If yes, then recycle it!

  • Is the information located on the organization Intranet network?

If quick reference to the document is not needed, then recycle the paper and access the data electronically.

  • Does the document or file have legal (current or future) implications?

If so make sure there is an electronic copy or it is scanned in.

  • Is there any legal retention requirement to keep the data?

Documents if saved in an electronic PDF format are sufficient for any legal requirements.

For more information on how you can become paperless in your office, read the article, Becoming Paperless for Effectiveness and Efficiency.  Contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your office or computer.

Becoming a Paperless Office: The Cost, Environmental and Efficiency Benefits

There is a clear environmental need for paperless offices. The paper industry is one of the world’s major polluting industries and one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases with over 900 million trees cut done annually. The EPA reports that paper is the number-one material thrown away, comprising 40% of our waste stream. According to the National Resources Defense Council, “The pulp and paper industry may contribute to more global and local environmental problems than any other industry in the world.”

In addition to environmental impacts, paper is time consuming to manage. Record keeping constitutes more than 90% of all office activity. Studies indicate that of the paper filed, over 80% is never referenced again! One Xerox study showed that over 45% of the office paper that is discarded was thrown out on the day it was printed. A great deal of time is being wasted printing, sorting, purging, and filing paper.

Then there is the cost aspect of paper. According to the Association for Information and Image Management, the lifecycle cost of a document is over $20, which includes the cost of paper, printing, mailing, distribution, and handling fees. An older study done by Coopers and Lybrand in 1998 (now Price Waterhouse and Coopers) estimated the cost of paper management to be about $50 per document. In addition it takes up valuable real estate, it is estimated that it costs on average $314 per filing cabinet solely for the space it consumes in an office.

Essentially becoming a paperless office could reap the benefits of improved efficiency and effectiveness, reduce cost, and improve the brand and image of the company by becoming a better corporate environmental steward.

Let us help you become the paperless office through our consulting services or our Becoming a Paperless Office training. Contact us to learn more!