The promise of a “paperless office” has been going since the 1980s and seems to be no nearer to becoming a reality. Indeed, the proliferation of office computers seems to have increased the amount of paper most offices consume and then have to store since every employee can now create endless reams of paper documents. However, the advent of cloud computing and cloud software seems to be finally bringing the promise to fruition, or at least making it more practical.
Leading the charge in this arena is the G Suite, a free suite of software Google originally developed as a means of making their Google Drive service more appealing for business. Equipped with a suite of software comparable to Microsoft Office or LibreOffice, G Suite turns any device with the Chrome web browser into a complete office machine, ready to handle documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or anything else that might be needed in the day-to-day office situation. Best of all, G Suite is free for most users, and available for much lower than the cost of other software packages for corporate and organizational use.
What sets G Suite apart, though, is that documents can be accessed by any authorized person for editing and commenting purposes. Rather than tossing a document back and forth between persons for endless revisions, revisions can be done directly on the document itself in real time. This not only eliminates the need to print out paper documents to make revisions, but it enables revisions to be made anywhere on any device. Because G Suite is compatible with most smartphones, edits can be done even by people who are home sick, on vacation, or otherwise out of the office.
It’s this “work from anywhere, on anything” capability that makes G Suite so fantastically useful. Mobile forms can be used to gather feedback from customers or employees on the go or just to keep tabs on what’s been done and where it has been. Checklists can be created for routine tasks, to ensure that there is a documented progression when dealing with common tasks. Documents can be worked on from home, lunch, during the commute, and sent to clients or customers once complete without ever being printed out.
G Suite can also enable documents to be presented and modified on the fly. Contracts can be re-negotiated during discussions rather than printed out, marked up, and then printed again. Presentations can be re-written or re-done to reflect new information, as well as have integrated content to display best what is being said. It is this intense flexibility, and the ability to be edited by anyone on the team as they read it, that enables G Suite documents to get an office as close as possible to being paperless. But it doesn’t eliminate paper entirely – some documents will still need to be printed out where physical signatures are involved, and G Suite isn’t 100% compatible with other office suites. However, it can read and modify most document files and types, and its ability to go mobile makes up for most other shortcomings. You may find it useful to visit ProntoForms for more information.