One-third of all of Canada's waste is from paper and paper products. Manufacturing paper ranks third in the largest user of fossil fuels globally.
But we also save 17 trees for every ton of paper we recycle. This means we can take actions that can make a positive difference to the environment both at home and even at the office.
In fact, it's even possible to go entirely paperless in an office setting. And you'll also enjoy the benefits of increased productivity and better organization by having a paper-free office.
If you're wondering how to implement going paperless in the office, we want to help. Keep reading to learn the seven simple steps on how to set up a paperless office.
1. Awareness is the First Step Towards Going Paperless in the Office
It's impossible to make positive changes when you have no idea what you even have. The first thing your office should do is to gather all employees and announce your intention to go paper-free.
Ask them to go through all of their paper files and create a list of what they currently have. At this point, all employees should also shred or recycle any paper files that aren't necessary to keep for business or legal reasons.
Determine Your Paper Consumption Levels
You should also see what your current paper consumption levels are at. Find out how much paper you use every month and what the purpose of the paper was for such as:
- Marketing materials
- Office supplies
Get everyone involved to see where you can cut down on unnecessary printing jobs. Adopt a rule that all documents must be double-sided.
2. Develop an Office-Wide Paper Management System
Ask your employees to share their thoughts on how ways you can all go paperless in the office. Find out what current systems are working and why.
Ask them to point out which current systems are failing. Ask them for advice on why it's failing and how to fix it to lower your office-wide paper consumption.
Communicate and Ask for Help to Create a System Everyone Can Easily Use
Then together work to develop an office-wide paper management system. This will help everyone have access to the following information:
- Where to find documents
- How to file documents away properly
- How long to retain documents
- How to keep documents secure
- When to dispose of documents
Create a system that's easy to understand. If you had a good paper management system, use that as a guide when creating your e-document management system.
3. Pick a Storage Service
In an effort to cut down on paper, you'll need to find an online solution to storing documents that everyone in the office has access to. Since a lot of people conduct business other than the office these days, find a storage service that lets you access your files anywhere and backs them up automatically.
A smart idea is to invest in document management software. It's easily accessible and helps improve productivity. Best of all, it's secure.
4. Scan and Shred
Once you have an online document system created it's time to start scanning all your paper documents.
Make sure you've properly filed them away on your online system before you shred them. You can use a mobile app, desktop scanner or a scanning function on your multifunction printer.
If there are too many files to scan, using a professional document scanning services company is an excellent option. Hiring professionals will help you save time and money.
5. Find Online Tools to Use
Thanks to technology, many paper systems can easily be converted into an easy e-system. All you have to do is perform some research and there's often another solution that doesn't require paper such as:
Electronic Signature Software
This software eliminates the need for your employees to print, sign, and scan documents before sending them back. This software saves paper and time.
Online Financial Tracking
It's so much easier to get and stay in touch with banks, suppliers, and your customers when you use online banking.
You can electronically send invoices, which means saving money on postage as well as paper. And you can receive paperless bank statements that automatically download so you can stay on top of your budget.
iPads to Register Guests
Skip the paper visitor logbook and let guests check-in using an iPad.
6. Rethink Your Marketing Efforts
While offline marketing still has its place, you may want to refocus your marketing efforts more towards online efforts. Ditch direct mailing for paperless marketing strategies such as:
- Search engine optimization
- Blog writing
- Social media marketing
- Online reviews
The fact is that 82% of smartphone users are consulting their phones to find out more information about purchases they're about to make in-store. 45% are on their phones reading reviews before making a purchase.
Your target market is online, making it effortless to refocus your marketing strategies in that direction.
7. Replace Paper With Alternatives
If you still want some offline marketing materials, invest in promotional items like reusable mugs to use in the office. You can even hand them out to customers as a way to market your business and encourage them to go paperless.
And there are other ways to replace paper in the office. Replace the paper towels in the kitchen and bathrooms with cloth towels that can be washed and reused.
Reusable Containers and Cutlery
Use returnable containers to ship out supplies. Ask that deliveries sent to your office be shipped in returnable containers as well.
Encourage everyone to bring their lunch in reusable bags. Use real cutlery or buy eco-friendly disposable products.
If you have to buy paper products, make sure they're made from recycled paper, including your business cards.
Get a Free Quote
Going paperless in the office doesn't have to feel overwhelming. It may help to have professionals guide you through the process.
We're dedicated to helping businesses boost their productivity and organizational levels while reducing global paper waste. And we're ready to help you. Click here to receive your free quote.