In an effort to reduce costs and their environmental footprint, a lot of companies are trying to develop a paperless workspace. According to Envirowise – a government-funded group – only 7.5 per cent of office waste reaches a recycling facility. It was also found that 80.6 million tonnes of printing and writing paper in the UK enters the waste steam each year.
Going paperless benefits the environment, saves you time, increases productivity and clears clutter. Here are three tips on how to cut your paper usage.
Develop good printing habits
Before you start making changes, stand by the office printer and observe what sort of documents are printed on a daily basis. You’ll want to establish what bad habits your work force has picked up.
Try to establish a culture of necessity when it comes to printing. Tell staff that they should only be printing documents if it’s absolutely necessary. One way to speed up this change is by limiting the amount of printers your company uses. Remove as many of them as you can from your office so the process of printing is no longer as easy.
If you’re willing to spend a bit of money to make savings in the long-term, you should definitely consider implementing print management software. Packages like PaperCut allow companies to track their paper usage across all departments and set up print quotas on individuals. If Simon in accounting only has £10 credit for the month, he might think twice before printing that 30-page financial report. You can assign different costs to different printers and charge less for printing in grayscale. This can help foster greener habits.
Giving your workforce access to additional technology is a great way of banishing paper from your office. If employees have a lot of documents to manage at the same time, they may appreciate having a second monitor. They make it easier for employees to refer to documents side-by-side, without the need for paper copies. These devices also have added functionality that can improve efficiency. They can be taken into meetings for note taking or even display presentations.
Software like Dropbox and Google Drive are excellent alternatives to those cumbersome filing cabinets. All your documents are saved in The Cloud and can be accessed by staff you choose to share them with. This means that employees can access and easily search for files without having to leave their desk.
It won’t happen over night
You’ll need to temper your expectations as you start to go green. The money you will save will be minimal to begin with. Your costs may even go up if you’re investing in new technology. But as your employees become acclimatised to the change, you’ll begin to see a reduction in the cost of printing, mailing and shipping. As time goes on, you may also experience other benefits such as increased productivity and time saving. Staff will spend less time rummaging through filing cabinets, and more time getting their job done.