In the final part of our series on kicking the habit of paper in the office, we look at scanning hardware and storage tools that will help ease your transition into a more modern workplace.
If you’ve missed them, take a look at the previous articles from our Quitting Paper series:
Consider creating a workflow that is accommodating to your employees’ schedules. Organize teams for daily duties, and begin the process of incorporating the digitization activities into your team’s day-to-day routine. This should begin with sifting through the materials to determine what is relevant for keeping, followed by the actual digitization itself.
What type of scanner do you need
If you need to convert hundreds (or thousands) of printed documents to digital formats, odds are something reliable, compact, and uncomplicated is ideal. Important attributes to look for before purchasing your scanner include:
- Fast single-pass duplex scanning (scans two sides quickly)
- Spacious automatic document feeder (ADF)
- SD card slot
- Easy-to-use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities; almost every document scanner includes this – a system of converting scanned printed/handwritten image files into its machine-readable text format
The Doxie One is not only affordable but known for its reliability; alternatively, the Doxie Go comes with a battery allowing you to scan on the go. For a few extra bucks you can fit your scanner with an Eye-Fi X2 Card. When you put an Eye-Fi card in your scanner, it will transfer scans over Wi-Fi back to your computer. Sure, a bit of extra setup is required, but this method can simplify the workload significantly. All you have to do is scan and check your computer moments later to find the file(s).
What types of storage
Depending on the size of your company (and not to mention the amount of paper that requires scanning), a proper method of storage is essential to having your paperless office up-and-running without a hitch. External storage hardware, cloud storage, and free services such as Google Docs offer three very different, very adaptable options for your newly paperless office.
- External hard drive: Low-cost, small to store, and easy-to-use. The various external storage devices available on the market can now store up to 1TB on something no larger than the palm of your hand.
- Cloud-based storage: Storing your data on the internet is a safe and secure option for any business going paperless. Available for relatively cheap (depending on the storage required), everything is kept off-site, which reduces the need for in-office storage, and makes theft or potential damage to the office (fire, flooding, etc.) less of a risk to important documents.
- Google Drive and Google Docs: We might be cheating by separating this from the above point, but it’s worth emphasizing Google Drive and Google Docs is a must-have for the modern business – particularly when work requires collaboration of any kind.
- Google Drive is a file storage service that enables users cloud storage, file sharing, and collaborative editing. All users are offered an initial 15 GB of storage across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos; additional storage from 100 GB up to 16 TB can be attained through a monthly subscription plan.
- As a free web-based office suite within the Google Drive service, Google Docs allows users to create and edit documents online. It also gives you the ability to edit and collaborate with other users simultaneously from a live document. Google Docs is a dream for editing and collaboration – and won’t require too many pesky attachments or countless printouts.
The last – and arguably the most important – part of moving ahead with a paperless office: always remember to back up your work! Keep an external storage device outside of the office and update it monthly; save your important files in the cloud as well as on your computer. Being cautious never hurts – but being careless certainly does.
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