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How to Go Paperless in Your Office

When it comes to paper use in the office, you may be surprised to learn just how much waste is created. The average office worker generates two pounds of mixed paper product waste each day.

Between junk mail, excessive print jobs, and packaging, we often consume more paper than we should. Unfortunately, it tends to end up in a landfill.

If you want to improve your company and help the environment, it could be time to switch to a paperless office. By removing paper from the office, your company can be more eco-friendly, save space, spend less money, and embrace the modern age.

Although it may seem overwhelming, it’s actually easier than you think to go paperless. If you’re ready to get started, keep reading to learn how to go paperless in the office.


A Paperless Office Starts with Getting Staff on Board

To have success, you need to convince all staff and workers that ditching paper is the way to go. Many workers find this tough, as they have worked their whole career with printers, signed documents, and traditional paper offices.

You may want to work out your objectives of paperless office conversion, to help convince them why and how they can go paperless.

Host meetings and training workshops where you let workers know exactly what to do instead of using paper, and help to ease their concerns or answer questions.

You may want to bring in other initiatives to be more eco-friendly in the office as well. You could try switching to renewable energy sources, bringing in more natural light and plants, and encouraging workers to walk, cycle, or carpool to work.

Move to a Cloud-Based Platform

If you’re moving away from paper, you need to come up with a new filing and storage system that all workers can access.

For many companies, a cloud-based platform is the best paperless office software. Programs like Dropbox or Google Docs allow workers to access company documents from anywhere in the world, as long as they’re connected to the internet.

You can create copies, collaborate on drafts, and easily save files to your drive.

This has many advantages, in addition to removing paper from the office. It also frees up storage space in the office and makes it possible for your company to switch to remote working.

With cloud computing, you no longer need to have a physical server on-site in the office, which saves space and reduces the risk of files being damaged from flooding or fire.

Use Electronic Payroll Software

The HR and payroll departments are often big users of paper, but the good news is that they can also make the switch to going paperless.

Using electronic payroll software, you can create payslips that are sent directly to staff’s email, instead of printing out payslips each week. For a large company, this by itself can make a huge difference in your paper use.

HR files and documents can also be securely saved online, so there’s no need anymore for giant filing cabinets full of employee records.

Storing payroll and HR files online can create an added layer of security as well, as you can password protect all documents. This is more secure than leaving them in an office filing cabinet.

Make Recycling Easy

When you’re switching to a paperless office, accept that there will need to be a transition period, at least for a few weeks or months. Staff will need time to change habits, clean out their desks, and embrace going paperless.

During the transition, make it as easy as possible for staff to recycle paper products. Consider bringing in extra recycling bins so you can ensure the paper is recycled.

One of the best reasons for going paperless is to help the environment, so companies should make sure as much paper as possible gets recycled, helping to stop it ending up in a landfill.

Switch to Paperless Marketing

Your paperless office strategy should encompass not internal office practices, but also your external.

One top consideration is your marketing strategies—can you go completely paperless with marketing? It’s easier than you think to do away with letter drops, brochures, and printed materials.

With so many great digital marketing options, such as social media, Google Ads, and SEO, you can grow your business without ever needing printed collateral. If this is all new to you, there are plenty of digital marketing agencies that can help your company make the switch.

Sign Documents Digitally

One large consumer of paper in offices is signed documents. We sign documents when new staff are hired, when employees are promoted, with external suppliers, and when contracts are signed.

However, electronic signatures are just as good as the real thing, with many companies embracing digital signing to cut down on paper.

If you’re looking for a way to sign documents digitally, this tool can help.

Spread the Word

To be successful with going paperless, you need to let everyone know, internally and externally. Ask your suppliers to send digital invoices, rather than putting them in the mail.

You can also cut down on magazine or journal subscriptions, remove the company from mailing lists, and switch to e-newsletters. Printed mail coming into the office each day can add up quickly, and it often gets tossed away.

By changing your preferences when it comes to receiving mail, you can reduce clutter and enjoy less mail coming in each day.

Consider drafting an email that you can send to all clients, suppliers, and stakeholders, letting them know the company has gone paperless and asking them to adjust their communications accordingly.

Reduce the Number of Printers in the Office

Sometimes, cutting down on the numbers of printers in the office can help when going paperless.

For example, do staff have their own printers at their desk? If so, is this really necessary?

You may want to centralize printing with one larger printer for each office. Larger, industrial-sized printers tend to be more efficient with ink and power as well, helping to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

As motivation, why not create a tally each month of how many pages were printed by the company? As you start to go paperless, staff can watch this number drop, month by month.

It’s a fun way to encourage people to think before they print, helping to reduce unnecessary print jobs. Often, staff get distracted and forget to even pick up the job they printed, so you want to make sure only essential documents are sent to the printer.

Bring in Digital Scanners

Digital scanners let you turn paper documents into electronic documents. Your staff will definitely need to use scanners as they move from paperless to digital, as it’s an easy way to save copies of files online.

You can also use scanners to help with archiving. Instead of having boxes of files and documents sitting in a storage room, collecting dust, you can archive them digitally and destroy the originals.

The files will be safe online and easily accessible whenever needed.

Encourage Laptop and Tablet Use

To go paperless, staff need to have technology at their fingertips—which is tough if staff are still using desktops.

Using laptops and tablets makes it much easier to stay connected, especially during meetings. In the old days, staff would print out meeting agendas and take notes.

However, if they take their tablets into the meeting, they can read the agenda online, take notes digitally. They can en save copies of the meeting notes for anyone who wasn’t in attendance.

For staff to succeed in a paperless office, they need the right tools to do their jobs. Moving away from desktops also makes it easier for staff to collaborate and work in teams, without needing to be bound to their desks at all times.

Go Paperless Today with These Top Tips

As you can see, it’s certainly possible to create a paperless office! It’s something many companies have achieved, both small businesses and large corporations.

If you’re ready to make the change, use the tips above to develop a plan for converting your office into a paperless one. It takes patience, as you can’t change overnight, but soon you’ll be on track to being truly paperless.

Your staff will feel proud that their company cares about the environment, you’ll reduce your daily waste, and you’ll save money that would’ve gone to ink, printers, paper, and energy.

Get started today and start enjoying the fantastic benefits that a paperless office can provide.

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