Around 50 years ago, IBM promisedus the paperless office, but it’s only in recent years that there’s been a serious downturn in the amount of paper being used at work. This reduction is partly due to the internet and everyone now using a PC, a laptop or a handheld device and partly because people want to reduce paper usage.
You don’t have to do away with paper completely
Companies have to be realistic, we’re not going to be without paper 100% in the foreseeable future, maybe not ever. This doesn’t mean workers can’t at least reduce the amount they use, though. Some people like to sketch or doodle ideas and they may not want to use a handheld device to do this. There are haptic styluses that offer users the “real feel” of pencil on paper, but they can be expensive and it’s not fair to force someone to use a device they’re not comfortable with to save a few sheets of A5.
So, here’s a few tips for reducing paper usage in your workplace – you don’t have to work at one of the California tech giants to make a contribution – your office space in Mayfair is as good a place to start as any. It’s all about the sea change.
Discourage paper use
Track the number of pages employees print out each month and email a report to everyone – offer rewards for the biggest reducers. Some printers have the software to do this already, but if not, a package like Print Inspector might do the trick.
Make it harder to print
Get rid of the banks of low-end printers in every corner and replace them with some better quality, higher volume machines that can also print on both sides. Employees will think twice about printing if they have to schlep up and down stairs.
Bank and pay bills online
Opt for online statements from banks and service providers and pay bills online so you’re not using cheques and envelopes or asking for paper receipts.
Think inside the box
It’s retro, but it’s visible. A box for recycling non-confidential documents will fill up surprisingly rapidly. It’s also good for fishing out scrap paper for doodling and note-taking.
Change business processes
Likewise, company handbooks, manuals and notebooks can be reproduced as Google Docs. These are handy because they can be used for static documents, like handbooks, or dynamic documents, like project spreadsheets. Click here to read more about spreadsheets.
Use online forms
Replace paper forms with fillable PDFs – there are lots of free or cheap online tools to help you to do this.
Use more screens
One reason workers end up printing out documents is so that they can cross-reference them – one on a screen, one on paper. Having two or three screens per desk prevents this and you may only need to buy monitors.
Digitise your doodles
Scanning sketches and notes and emailing them to teams means no more photocopying or printing. Digitised notes are actually more useful because they’re searchable and they take up no physical space.
Featured image credit: Pixabay