The world of business would grind to a halt without the exchange of information. But, unfortunately for the environment and your company’s bottom line, too much of this information is shared on paper. Cutting down the amount of paper you use in the office brings benefits financially and in terms of reducing waste – if you have a printer in the workplace, your ultimate aim should be to sell it and enjoy a paper-free environment. Why? According to an AIIM survey, two-thirds of companies that went paper-free enjoyed financial benefits within 18 months. And paper-free offices function more productively and efficiently than those working with piles of paper.
Where to Start
Think about the amount of paper you use, on average, in the office every day and what this means in terms of paper costs and the costs of printer cartridges and energy. The average office worker uses 45 sheets of paper each day, according to the Green Office Guide from WRAP, and nearly half of this ends up in the waste bin. Complete an audit of where you use the most paper and who is using paper for non-essential purposes. Figure out how the most wasteful processes can be converted into paper-free solutions. For example, many documents are printed out to be signed, but with electronic signatures, this step is bypassed.
Aim for a solution that means the documents in your office can be accessed electronically. This will mean scanning and storing paper documents in electronic format. To make the process easier, call on the help of professionals to scan the paper documents for you. A company like www.shredall.co.uk/ has facilities for fast and accurate document scanning, so you can retire your paper documents and work more effectively in a paperless office. Implement a digital mailroom where documents are sent to clients and customers electronically. And keep the office mobile, meaning people are more reliant on smartphones and tablets and less so on printed documents. Simple steps also help – make the printer less accessible to combat people printing documents without thinking about the amount of paper they are wasting. Make sure that management and high-level staff are on board with the process so that their actions will inspire others and make it easier to implement policies across the company. If there are doubters in the business, put forward training and information so that they can see how to achieve paper-free solutions and understand what benefits come from the system.
Think about the money you will save in the long run on printing costs and post. There are other benefits to going paper-free, too. Experts estimate that 7.5% of all paper documents are lost and 3.5% are misfiled, so they, too, are effectively lost. Putting paper out of the process increases productivity and cuts waste. You have easier access to documents, and the process of document production and storage is streamlined and more efficient. Time savings result in cost savings as you can use the spare time to focus on other areas of the business.
Image attributed to FreeDigitalPhotos.net mrpuen
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