3 Ways to Reduce the Amount of Paper You Use … and 3 Important Documents You May Still Need to Keep On Paper

Whether you want to protect the earth or you simply want to reduce the amount of clutter inside of your office, reducing the amount of paper your business uses is a good idea and it can provide a lot of benefits, provided you reduce the right amount of paper.

Here’s what you need to know about reducing your office paper usage, and what documents still need to have paper copies.

How To Reduce The Amount of Paper You Use

Keep Things Digitized

From office memos to schedules to other items, there are probably plenty of items in your office that you have on paper that can be very easily transferred to digital items.

For example, instead of writing a note to remind yourself of something, you can write that same alert on your phone and have it ping you. This can help you keep organized and reduce your office clutter!

Think Before You Print- And Use Both Sides

Sometimes you don’t need to print everything, even if it seems like you do. Often things can just be emailed to people or sent digitally, or you can print out one copy and have it be shared. If you can, print less or don’t print at all.

Of course, sometimes you do need to print and can’t avoid it. When that happens, you can print on both sides of the paper rather than just one side. This makes it so two pieces of paper instead become one when printed, and a massive 20 page packet becomes 10 pages.

Whether you need to print a small volume or print a large volume of pages, printing double sided is a great idea.

Store Files Digitally

As we are about to see, there are some files that you want to keep, but that doesn’t always mean you need to print them.

There are plenty of cloud based services that will allow you to store all the documents that you need, and you can very easily start organizing them so you can pull up any files that you need on the fly without any trouble. And a digital filing cabinet is much better than a physical one in terms of saving your paper!

Important Business Documents You Need To Keep On Paper

Of course, you can’t digitize everything and you need to keep a few documents on paper. Here are some of the things that you need to keep physically in your office.

Pay Stubs

Pay stubs are a record of what you are being paid for your job, and where all of your money is going. A portion of your paycheck is going to go to taxes, insurance, and other fields, and the pay stub shows you all of that.

If you are wondering how long to keep pay stubs, then you should keep the physical copy for at least 12 months or until your W2 or social security tax forms have been filed, but this is for your payments.

As an employer, you need to have all your pay stubs for the last three years in order to cover yourself and your business from investigations and adults. While you can store your pay stubs digitally, you should also have these pay stubs in paper form as well.

Financial Records

Some of your business financial records should be with your business as long as possible. Investment paperwork, documents about debt, and paperwork for financial institutions (such as stocks, banks, and credit unions related to your business.) Your tax returns are also a very good idea to keep physical copies of for your business.

Bank statements are one of the most important things to keep, and you keep them for three years, the same as your pay stubs. Once a year goes by, then you can securely shred all of the monthly statements and delete the digital copies, and then keep the year end report.

Business Records

Finally, payroll records, patents and trademarks, employment agreements, and performance reviews should also be saved as paperwork. All of these documents are things that you are going to need for your business, so it is best to have them in both digital and physical form.

Don’t Be Afraid To Strike A Balance

As you try to figure out what pieces of paper you need to keep for your business, and which ones you can remove or put onto the computer, don’t be afraid to strike a balance for what you need.

But by trimming down all the usage of non essential papers for your business, you will not only be able to find the truly important papers that you need much easier, but you can also protect the environment… which is great for your business and for the planet!

Devin Patel

Devin Patel holds a Master’s in Information Systems from Stanford University and has been a prominent figure in data analysis and information management for over 15 years. His articles simplify complex data concepts, making them accessible to a wide audience. His expertise lies in translating intricate data into actionable insights, assisting readers in navigating the digital landscape. He also mentors aspiring data professionals, guiding them in career development. An advocate for digital literacy, he volunteers in educational programs. Outside work, he is a great astronomer who enjoys exploring the cosmos' mysteries through his telescope.

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