Electronic office – Keep paper in mind

Although the idea of a digital office is not brand-new, information governance (IG) professionals aim to achieve it. To create the appearance of a totally digital office, we might be able to reposition filing cabinets and scan fresh documentation. However, we frequently overlook the paper that is hidden from view (the out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome). 

In order to support you with your digital activities, this article goes through how to manage paper documents that are offshore stored, printers (MFDs), physical records, and information obtained from other sources. 

Onsite/Offsite Storage 

Does your business keep its records on-site or does it contract with an off-site vendor?   The who, what, where, when, why, and how of the paper records kept both on-site and off-site must be known by IG specialists. Not all documents should be photographed as part of your digital office, therefore you must decide which records are appropriate candidates for imaging before making the choice. 

The following elements should be considered by the IG specialist: 

  • Retention of records: If the kind of document has a brief retention term, such as two years or fewer, it could be more cost-effective to keep the record in paper form. 
  • Period of access: Even with a longer retention time, maintaining the data in paper format may be more cost-effective if it is rarely used. 
  • Protection: It is advised that a digital copy of the record be recorded and stored if it is deemed “Vital/Historical” by the organisation, even if it is rarely viewed. 
  • Do not image records that are able to be destroyed, such as those that are no longer needed and whose retention time has passed. 


While it’s simple to forget about paper that’s out of sight and out of mind, what about newly discovered information on paper? While unplugging the network printer may be frightening, it might be necessary to halt the production of paper-based documents.  Employees could require training on how to keep the files electronic and save them. It is the responsibility of IG professionals to educate staff members about this issue and help them decide whether to print an email or save it as a PDF and file it away instead. Establish a plan to lower your printers after determining how much you actually print with your print vendor. 

Additionally, check with accounting to find out how much paper you purchase each month to verify the printer page counts the print vendor is providing. Without proper training, staff who must unplug printers may devise workarounds that increase costs, danger, and paper usage. 

External Paper 

Printers may be simple to unplug, but what will you do with the mail and paper that come into your company? First off, it’s a wise idea to engage with a Certified Records Manager (CRM) or analyst (CRA) on a digital endeavour as they are aware of the efficiencies, enhanced workflow, and paper reduction associated with the digitisation of organisational information. The CRM/CRA is set up to offer their company the right document imaging environment. Production, remote, departmental, or desktop scanning may be included in this, depending on the business and its needs. 

The IG professional should research the company’s reasons for wanting to scan papers before seeking to migrate to a digital office, beginning the paperless process, and scanning documents. What are the goals and which candidates for document imaging can help us achieve them?  When designed and implemented properly, document imaging may offer a number of advantages to a company.   

Since document imaging entails more than just document digitisation, preparation is essential. The IG specialist must collaborate with departments to identify the indexing (metadata) fields that will enable effective record searching and retrieval. Younger workers and recent hires are already getting a taste of what it’s like to operate without paper.  It is crucial to set up your business to be adaptable in the future, and a paperless workplace may help you achieve that. Access to electronic information is a strong instrument that carries a lot of responsibility. In paperless talks, be careful to involve your IT, HR, and compliance employees.   

Last but not least, ensure sure any unnecessary material is thrown away or destroyed by a reputable shredding company.