Paperless in a Paper Centric Biz Part II: 5 Parts to Paperless Primacy
So what have I done to go paperless? Here are the five things that have really made a huge productivity difference for me and hopefully reduced my carbon footprint: 1. Having a desktop scanner; 2. Running a dual monitor set-up; 3. My iPad; 4. Using electronic storage solutions; 5. Using Docusign in as many ways as we can imagine.
As I mentioned in one of my other blog posts about paper hoarding, one of the best solutions is to have a desktop scanner at your workstation (Click Here to read more). The second action that has saved loads of paper is a dual monitor set-up. I use a laptop as my primary computer and have a larger desktop monitor that I connect to my laptop when working. I use the “extend desktop” graphics feature and can view multiple documents on both my laptop screen and the monitor (most laptops have this auxiliary video card already built-in). I know this doesn’t seem like a paper-saving strategy. However, for me, it has been both a paper-saver and a time-saver. Having a working document up on one screen and a reference document open in another eliminates the need to print the reference document. From a productivity standpoint I use Outlook and can have my dashboard with calendar and tasks and emails on one screen while my MLS search interface is up on the other screen.
The third item that continues to move me toward complete freedom from paper is my iPad. I’m a chronic note taker – whether on a pre-listing appointment, at a conference, or a buyer interview, I use my iPad as the formerly ubiquitous REALTOR clipboard. I take notes, take photos, record video all on this device. I don’t print floor plans and elevations – I ask for the docs electronically and present them on the iPad where you can zoom, pan, and see even more of the document than if it were on a static sheet of glossy 65# cover stock. I LOVE the Notability for iPad app. It allows you to hand write or type notes as well as append and highlight pdf documents. You can clip photos to your notes and email notes you’ve taken to other folks. It isn’t a free app but the cost is so nominal compared to the value – definitely something to check out.
Fourth on the list is electronic storage. Whether it is DropBox, iCloud, Google Drive or just an external hard drive (and some combination of the above) being paperless can’t truly be achieved unless you have some sort of well structured and redundantly backed up electronic storage solution. I’ve not used Carbonite but they have a pretty aggressive ad campaign going right now and probably worth checking out. That product isn’t just a storage facility but a back up for your entire computer.
Finally, no transaction can even come close to being paperless without a simple solution for clients and colleagues to affix their legitimate signatures to binding documents and contracts. DocuSign has been our e-signature vendor of choice for over a year now and we LOVE it. It is versatile, well-supported, and accepted by more and more institutions each month. I look forward to the day when the title company simply hands everyone an iPad and we all just use DocuSign Ink to ratify the closing docs and the closer hits a button and electronic copies of the executed documents fly off to all the parties who need them and every closing can save a minimum of 500 sheets of paper.
According to the website Conservatree.com, a case of paper requires .6 trees. For every 20 paperless closings that’s 1.2 trees. For a modest sized title outfit doing 900 closings a year, they could either save 54 trees or (even more importantly) reduce the amount of energy expended to produce the paper and reduce our dependence on foreign oil as well as C02 emissions.
For some back story on my relationship with paper, check out part 1 of this blog series http://actvra.in/HHq