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Return to the Office, Not to Paper


Where is your paper coming from?

Our office introduced the Fetch the Future—Rethink the Ink campaign in early spring 2020. The message focused on how working in a remote environment turned paper into a liability. How when suddenly finding ourselves in the middle of an emergency, we needed to cultivate solutions to allow ourselves to be productive and continue to move forward, without relying on paper records. And generally, I think we can all say that we have taken steps to rethink the ink and go digital.

As we finally start to plan our return to campus, to capture the potential, to make sure we continue to take advantage of the unexpected opportunities and challenges the pandemic dropped in our laps, it is important to continue to rethink the ink. It’s important to stay digital.

Where is your paper coming from? Other than handwritten notes, just about anything you produce internally is created on a computer—why print? Most of the records you receive externally are in email, PDFs, or email attachments—why print? If you are still receiving paper from external sources, scan it. Did you know that the UW has scanning policies in place for records attached to Ariba, Workday, or EDMS? Did you know GCCRs and checks deposited into Bank of America are also covered by central UW scanning policies? Did you know we have a template, our scanning policy builder, to help you create a scanning policy for all your other records?

If you used DocuSign during the pandemic, those documents do NOT have to be resigned in ink when you return to the office. Continue to use DocuSign after returning to the office. It’s a fabulous resource and it’s free. How much better than paper is that?! For more information on DocuSign, see UW-IT’s page and our previous newsletter.

Returning to the office this fall is exciting! Let’s continue to capture the potential and the momentum we started in response to working remotely. Intentionally allowing ourselves to take advantage of change through making relatively small decisions to move away from paper makes us more resilient and sustainable. Small is good, small is all!  

Remember, the pandemic was an accelerator of change that was ready to happen. Let’s not drop the ball. Going digital wasn’t just about the pandemic, it’s about increasing efficiency, it’s about saving money, it’s about being able to easily retrieve and share our records from any location, ensuring smoother business continuity during something as simple as an absence, as complex as an audit, or as stressful as a snowmageddon…or a pandemic. Remember small is all. It doesn’t take much to continue to move forward.

Workflows of the Jurassic

It can be a lot of work to take a process digital when its roots in paper date back ten, twenty-five, even fifty years or more. Despite the effort involved, we encourage you to strive toward online workflows because there’s value in electronic records and electronic recordkeeping. However, when thinking about going digital, make sure you are not creating more work for yourselves than necessary.

There are some problems that don’t need solving. For the ones that do, we’re here to help.

Online trainings now on our website

Formerly hosted in Canvas, our online trainings are now accessible via our website to anyone with a NetID.

Take one of our trainings today:

As we introduce new courses, we will announce them in this newsletter--stay tuned! We welcome your suggestions for new training topics and feedback on our existing materials. We'd love to hear from you at


Click here to watch the video on this new University-wide initiative.


Barbara Benson

Cara Ball

Emily Lemieux

Michael Mooney

Lynn O'Shea