Did you know? The average person uses over 317 kilograms of paper every year!
With this huge amount of paper used (and often wasted), many businesses and households are trying to take drastic measures to reduce their everyday office paper usage. There is so many negatives when you consider using paper as a business tool.
- 70% of the total waste in offices is made up of paper.
- It is estimated that 45% of paper printed in offices ends up trashed.
- On average, companies completely lose around 7.5% of all their paper documentation.
- Every 12 filing cabinets require an additional employee to maintain it.
Going paperless is great for the environment. Not only does it significantly reduce your environmental impact, but it can also save you a lot of money on office supplies. Printers, toner cartridges, paper, writing tools, shredders, photocopiers, staples, paperclips, folders and cabinets add up to an enormous amount per company per year.
Here’s how you can start:
Most businesses want to use less paper but aren’t sure where to start. How does one undergo such a massive digital transformation to become a paperless office?
- Set a Goal
Most employees would probably agree that going paperless is a good idea, but they won’t act until they’re told to. Come up with plans and policies that are implemented into everyone’s daily routine. As time goes on, alter the targets until no paper is being used at all in your company.
Targets to start you off could include things like:
- Keeping the amount of printing done under a maximum amount
- Keeping the number of packs of paper ordered under a maximum amount
Start with small, achievable goals to get people used to using less paper.
Offer rewards for reaching these new targets, such as a Friday happy hour in the office, or other incentives to encourage everyone to get involved. Most people want to and are eager to do everything in their power to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Think Digital
- Go digital with your document management.
It may seem like a simple solution, but the best way to work towards a paperless office is to find a digital approach to document management that works for your average office worker. There are plenty of software options to help you store and manage all of your digital documents very easily.
- Going digital provides your business with better document security.
Storing documents online means they can only be accessed with secure passwords, with most of your data stored in the cloud. Using a digital form means that you can easily access all your documents from different devices, which, besides using less paper, is a more convenient method of document management anyway.
Documents in the cloud also make it much easier to work remotely, or for you to access documents while on-site with a client or during meetings.
- The important back-ups
Using cloud storage can help protect your important data in the case of computer failure, or the loss of physical documents thanks to water or fire damage.
- Get organized
This is where the work comes in, especially for those companies who have fully relied on paper from the start. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Set a daily goal and take it one box at a time.
Scan in documents and save them to your new system of data management. Nowadays, you can even do this from your phone by using apps like Pocket Scanner. Scanning all the documents can be delegated to interns, or you can hire a document scanning service to get it in a digital format without taking up as much time from your business.
When you have digital copies of everything, you can recycle the paper copies, and make your business practically free of any paper. Now you can also get rid of the filing cabinets and free up a lot more space in the office!
- No more brochures!
Send emails instead of letters. Even if what you’re sending needs to be signed, there are ways to get an electronic signature instead of using more paper.
Take your marketing efforts online! You don’t need to send out leaflets or brochures, you can post everything to your social media pages or website and use paid advertising to reach your desired audience.
- Swap to online invoicing and payroll
Since creating an invoice online is not by any means difficult, you shouldn’t have any problems in that regard. There are lots of different options for accounting software that your business can use. With these, you can manage payroll, send out digital payslips, electronic invoices, and more.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Switch to digital bank statements. Reach out to your bank for paperless banking.
If you are getting a paper letter or bank statement through the mail on a regular basis, opt for an electronic version which can drastically cut the amount of paper that comes into your business.
- Consider a second monitor
Using a second monitor makes it far easier and faster to use multiple programs simultaneously. Instead of having to switch between full-screen windows, the second program can be put on the second monitor, making for fewer clicks and faster workflow. This also limits printing documents that need capturing.
A 2012 study found that dual monitors were measurably more efficient and less frustrating than a single monitor. Additionally, 98 percent of the participants chose a dual monitor configuration as their preference.
Some benefits are:
- Better control over the information, the ability to access it instantly, and improved organisation of workflow
- Users save time when referring to another website or doing research.
- Multiple displays make it simple to compare documents side-by-side.
Even if you can’t go entirely paper-free, you can do a lot to drastically cut the amount of paper that gets used, and still enjoy the benefits of being greener, saving money, and using online tools to work.