Human beings take a lot of time to alter their habits and ways. While most of us are today aware of the need to save the environment and avoid the use of paper, few of us practice it in our professional and personal lives.
Though the modern offices are well equipped with computers, desktops and the latest devices, they have never been able to reduce or stop paper usage and wastage the way they should have.
Though marketers came up with the idea of ‘paperless office’, the concept hasn’t been implemented by organizations around the world. It wouldn’t be possible for businesses to become completely paperless overnight, here are some steps that can help them to achieve that objective in the long run:
Tips for Creating a Paperless Office Environment:
1. Get Rid of Obsolete Methods:
We can achieve paperless office spaces only if we completely abandon the obsolete and ageold methods. While man advances and comes up with interesting new ways that are efficient and reliable, some people never give up their old ways.
It is time we understand how technology can help to save nature and have a green environment. The first initiative is surely to get rid of obsolete technology. Here we have explained how.
2. Maintain a record of the pages being printed by every person:
The facility to take printouts of internet pages is one of the major causes of paper wastage. Many of the employees take printouts of pages for their personal use and reference. The misuse of paper can be controlled only if the management strictly monitors the use of paper in an organisation. When strict rules are made, everything falls in place easily.
One of the first things that you can do is to create a monthly report and share it with everyone. This will be possible if the office printer and the printer server are used in combination in your office. A lot depends on the way printers are installed. The use of standalone printer server software could be a wise decision, but it may prove to be very expensive for little ventures.
3. Minimize the number of printers in your office:
Another measure that you can adapt to create a paperless office environment is to lower the count of printers within your office. You can achieve this by integrating low-end machines with printers that have the ability to create a high volume of printers in a central location. Without having access to printers since it is no longer on their desks, employees will get over the habit of printing every now and then. This will also reduce your monthly expenditure on stationery.
If you have just one printer and an operator to take all the printouts, people will restrict their habit of taking printouts. This is a necessary step that every organisation should take to protect the environment. Deforestation is a major cause of the global warming and reducing paper usage can actually help to protect the green cover on this earth.
4. Ask for paperless statements:
Another step that you can adopt is to request financial institutions like banks to provide paperless statements. Make it a point to pay all these bills online so that it minimizes the need for the use of paper checks and envelopes, which are essential for posting them.
The faster the firms adapt to the modern ways of internet banking, the lesser will be the paper wastage in these firms. Each of these practices can extend the life on Earth. We must understand the significance of such habits and pass it to the next generation.
5. Inculcate a process of recycling in your office:
Active encouragement for reuse and recycling of paper can bring about a change in the attitude of people towards the usage of papers within your office. Using an empty box for collecting non-confidential documents for the purpose of recycling would be highly useful. The use of email signatures will also reduce the necessity for printing of emails and messages.
Firms need to spread awareness among their employees for opting green ways. Many people are habituated to the use of paper for every small need. Dissuade them and also mention the significance of paperless office environment during office gatherings. It will help to bring about a great change in office culture.
6. Remove the usage of physically signed official documents:
Abolish the usage of physically signed printed documents, especially the ones meant for internal use. This rule can be made applicable for the ones that are needed for external use, as new laws provide validity to electronic signatures.
Unless it is extremely necessary to have a printed copy, go for soft copies for all internal office records and needs. You can try and explain to your employees and colleagues the myriad benefits of soft copies over printed documents.
7. Abolish the use of fax within your office:
Another smart alternative that you can use to create a paperless environment is to avoid the use of fax. Paper forms will, therefore, make way for PDF ones which can be easily submitted either through email or a web browser. You can make use of the free PDFescape online tool in order to create PDF files.
This way you are not just saving paper but also opting for a much smarter free tool that will help you reduce overall office expenses. Change with the times. There are many modern software and apps that work efficiently and help you achieve the same goals without the use of paper.
8. Replace Old Machines With Apt Modern Options:
You cannot encourage your pals to stop the use of paper if you do not provide them with better alternatives. Many of your coworkers, colleagues and employees will be willing to change, provided they are shown appropriate alternatives. So research and find out the best options and alternatives. While suggesting them to avoid paper, tell them the better alternatives that are possible.
Here we have listed down a few examples:
9. Opt for a dual or multi-monitor setup:
One of the major reasons why workers print documents every now and then is because of the need to cross-refer them with some other document. This type of wasteful printing can be minimized by creating a multi-monitor workstation. Use of LCD monitors rather than upgradation of systems would be a wiser decision.
10. Digitize the use of paper notes:
By digitizing paper notes and all means of official correspondence, it will make it easy for your staff to share documents electronically. Therefore, they will get over the habit of making photocopies every now and then. Use of personal scanner for individual use could also be a wise idea.
11. Adapt to use of OCR software:
The use of the optical character recognition(OCR)software will make it possible for you to turn static images or PDF files that are made through hardware scanners into editable files.
12. Adapt to the process of duplex printing:
Printers that provide support for duplex printing are highly useful and can help you to get inevitable paperwork printed by using both sides to cut down on the usage of paper.
13. Make efficient use of smartphone apps:
While using business cards in order to handle your office related day-to-day business transactions, you can use a number of smartphone apps such as WorldCard Mobile and CamCard that can help you to capture their contact and also generate a digital contact when it is necessary.
14. Use smartphone apps to capture images of important documents:
This is the most suitable for offices that do not have a hardware scanner. The use of applications such as TurboScan and Scanner Pro can help your staff to capture images of important documents using the inbuilt camera of their smartphone. These files can be easily uploaded through a cloud storage services, following which they will be viewed and shared from a tab or smartphone.
15. Practice What You Preach and Spread Awareness:
The greatest amount of paper wastage has always happened in the traditional style office where everything happened through written documentation. Revolutionizing the office environment is the first thing to do to reduce paper usage. But do not forget that you have to follow the same rules even in your personal life.
The colleagues and coworkers who respect you for your paperless office environment policies will expect you to follow exactly what you preach even in your personal life. Never give them a chance to complain by setting a wrong example.
Even in your home, make sure you reduce paper wastage as far as possible. Make sure you do not ask for written bills in restaurants. Make online payments for all bills related to household expenses. Encourage people at home to recycle paper and also replace the old ways with new efficient ways that do not require paper.
Try and explain to kids why it is necessary to save paper. Tell them different ways in which they can contribute to saving the environment. This way, your colleagues will appreciate your efforts since you really believe in what you preach and act on it too.