The workplace experience is overly dependent on paper, which has had a serious negative environmental impact. Not only is the dependence on paper bad for the environment, this reliance also makes it hard to track down specific documents when you need to access them most. What’s more, workplace security and compliance efforts are challenged by the need to store information in a safe, organized, and responsible way.
A variety of factors are colliding in the modern workplace, making the paperless office a reality. Workplace managers who are interested in shrinking their environmental footprint realize that going paperless is not only good for the environment—it also makes employees’ lives easier and the office safer.
Here are 10 steps to build a paperless office:
1) Take a Stand
Make your paperless office policy official and accessible. You can set up specific limitations for paper printing, packaging, office supplies, marketing materials, and mailings. It’s also a good idea to select a paperless champion in the office to create momentum.
2) Start at reception
The look and feel of your reception area sends a message about your workplace and your company. If you want to strive for a workplace that is modern, streamlined, and connected, you no longer need to print and file paper documents, keep a sign-in sheet at the front desk, handwrite visitor badges, or leave notes for employees when their guests have arrived. There are many high-tech tools available to transform your reception into a paperless lobby.
3) Downplay printing
Putting less emphasis on office printers and promoting the use of easily shareable file formats like Portable Document Formats (PDFs), digital signature software, internal communication tech tools, and electronic record filing—all of which make it easier to rely less on paper.
4) Move to digital financial statements
Make plan with banks, suppliers and customers to move to electronic banking, online invoicing and paperless bank statements. These new practices will cut down on the use of paper and envelopes, while also improving productivity.
5) Find paper alternatives
Companies like Envoy ask every new hire to bring a mug to share with the office. This shows personality and gives new employees something to talk about. It also eliminates the need for paper cups and disposable mugs.
6) It’s time for electronic signature software
Technology that allows for legally valid electronic signature documentation is well known. Several companies make it easy to collect digital signatures on contracts and legal docs to avoid printing, signing, faxing, and physical storage.
7) Paper-free internal communications
Every office should use some form of electronic internal communications for collaboration, project management, and company notifications. If you are still relying on passing paper, you should consider your options. If you’re interested in going paperless, replace your paper trail with an easy-to-track digital record of the visitors, employees, and packages that enter your workplace.
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Admin & HR Intern