In this day and age, the need for paper in an office is dwindling. Sure, there are some aspects of work that absolutely have to be printed, however we don’t live in 1950 anymore, so reams of records shouldn’t be cluttering up your office. The fact is this though: many businesses would absolutely love to go paperless, however they have no idea how to – and that’s the purpose of this short guide.
Before we look at the ways in which an office can go paperless though, it’s probably important to understand the benefits – and there are certainly a huge number! Some of them are:
- Faster communication. Sending a letter takes time, while sending an email takes just seconds.
- Lower costs. Adding up all the paper and ink you use probably leads to a scary number. So, getting rid of these costs will produce some huge savings!
- Recoverable. Floods, fires, thefts. All of these can lead to a vital piece of paper going missing. If the document is stored on the Cloud though, you can access it from anywhere.
- Environmentally friendly. That paper has to come from somewhere, and it is destroying the world’s forests and environment. A paperless office therefore helps the environment hugely.
- Better work environment. All that clutter spread over desks isn’t conducive to a good working environment. Having everything nicely organised on a computer is though.
So, if you are looking to make the leap from a cluttered office to a paper free one, here are a few ways in which you can get the process started…
Audit Your Printing
The first step to reducing the paper in your office is to work out how much you currently print. That way, you’ll have a benchmark that you can use for future audits. It’s actually quite easy to work this amount of printing out, as there are now a number of good pieces of print audit software out there, which don’t cost too much money.
Work Out Potential Savings
Money is a great motivator, so you need to see how much you could save. Once you find this out, your jaw might well drop, and you’ll suddenly see the idea of a paper free office in a new light! It is worth getting these calculations right, so consider using a professional account to help with them.
Outsource Your Printing
There are loads of different printing companies out there, who can print your documents for you off-site, and for an extremely reasonable price. By outsourcing to one of them, you’ll banish the piles of recently printed documents, leaflets and brochures from your office, and have far more space for your staff to work in.
Use the Cloud
The Cloud is a place where you can store all your files online, so that they can be accessed from anywhere in the world. These files can only be accessed by authorised people though, so they are completely safe. Many other companies also use the Cloud, so you can send important documents to them in this way. Dropbox is also a great tool to use, especially if you have staff members in different parts of the building collaborating on one project.
Your employees are probably the ones responsible for the vast majority of printing at your company, so they need to be encouraged to stop printing as much. One great way to do this is by offering incentives. For example, you could allow each staff member to print 100 pages per month, and reward them if they meet this target. You won’t be losing money, as the rewards will come from the savings you make.
Train Your Staff
Many staff members will be reluctant to embrace a paper free office, and this is for one simple reason: they don’t have the skills needed to transfer their work to a digital platform. They shouldn’t be judged for this – some might have been doing the same job for thirty years – but instead trained. After a while, they’ll feel far more comfortable with the new way of doing things, and will also probably understand the reasons why.
Going paperless isn’t going to happen overnight. In fact, it probably won’t even be achievable in a year. Set yourself small goals to reduce paper use by 5-10% each time, and then re-evaluate your goals once they have been met. You’ll never be 100% free of paper, but you’ll always be able to find a new way to cut down.