The paperless office could be nearer than we think…

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A tidy, clutter-free desk is something that most of us can only dream of but thanks to recent developments in paper scanning technology, the concept of the paperless office might be nearer than we think.

Mounds of paperwork can look and feel very overwhelming and despite the fact that digital scanning is portrayed as quick and simple, the reality can be very different! What many people do when they buy a scanner is to scan all their documents and replace the physical paper mounds with lots of digital clutter!

It can, in fact, be very difficult to create an effective, user-friendly system for mapping your data. A system that gives every single piece of paper that lands on your desk a clearly defined pathway to a digital existence is the key to achieving a paperless office – but how to achieve this?

There are various open source tools available which allow you to map out each and every stage of a task, for example filing receipts might look like this: receipts – check pockets – check bags – scan – mark original as ‘scanned’ – add to Evernote – place original receipt in ‘2013’ envelope for taxes – mark envelope for shredding in seven years’ time.

Using a system such as ‘Freemind’ means that every different type of paper document has its own route eg tax documents may need to be kept intact for many years whilst utility bills could be shredded immediately.

Developments in scanning technology mean that document scanning is now a cost-effective option, even for small businesses. Scanners that can scan twenty pages a minute and can produce double-sided pages – all thanks to a new roller system – help to keep costs down.

Scanners have been developed that can be used for virtually any kind of office scanning task

Scanners have been developed that can be used for virtually any kind of office scanning task. For example the ‘HoverCam’ can be used to digitally capture books or account ledgers whilst pc-free, mobile scanning is proving to be the latest trend in scanning.

During the last few years a range of online storage services that endeavour to help us go paperless have emerged. The ‘cloud’ has become one of the most significant advances yet many people just can’t bring themselves to trust cloud storage. However the general consensus amongst industry experts seems to be that the most secure method for using clouds to store data is to make your own disc image which can then be encrypted using free encryption tools.

So it looks as though the paperless office doesn’t really exist yet! Thanks to improvements and new developments in technology we’re getting there – slowly! Of course there’s nothing like a well-designed office desk with plenty of storage space to help you get organised…

Posted May 27, 2013

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