The Paperless Office
Reel never quite knows where she will have to be on any given day or what information she will need to have at her fingertips, so she used to keep much of it in her car. Documents were scattered all over the back seat and stuffed in the trunk. Her car became a rolling repository of her ever-burgeoning work product—a veritable four-wheel filing cabinet.
“My car got to be a disaster. Oh my God, it was a mess,” Reel recalls. “And I’m not good with clutter.” So she got rid of it. Almost all of it.
It happened about three years ago when Reel was transferring her main office to JHU at Eastern. She decided to throw out lots of paper files rather than move them. “We said, gosh, if we haven’t looked at this for a long time, we probably don’t need it. If we do need it, we’ll scan it.” By deep-sixing and scanning, organizing her computer files, and keeping almost all her documents online, she swiftly converted her work domain to a largely paperless office.
“It’s definitely more efficient,” Reel says. “If I need to find something, I can do a computer search on a title or search for a folder on my shared drive or even on my local drive. You don’t even have to get up. It’s right there at your fingertips.”
Reel defines “paperless” as having no filing cabinets or physical space devoted to storing documents. She keeps everything online. She asks colleagues to send communications electronically, if possible, to avoid starting a paper trail.
—Neil A. Grauer
Stephanie Reel’s 12-Step Program
Could you go paperless? According to Stephanie Reel, vice provost for information technology, it’s possible to stop using without even checking into Hazelden. Here are 12 easy steps that can help you come clean.
1. Admit that you are powerless
2. Clear the Clutter
3. Trash the Trivial
4. Embrace the Electronic
5. Scan the Significant
6. Design with Discipline
7. Secure Your Stash
8. Leverage the Loot
9. Save the Space
10. Treasure the Trees
11. Ban the Backslide
12. Spread the Word