PRODUCTIVITY

6 Ways to Encourage Employees to Avoid Paper

Ian Waterhouse

Paper can be a real burden on an office environment.

Whether it’s the memo dotted on a monitor or the pile of reports bundled onto a desk, paper can give an office a feeling of being cluttered. For many small and medium-sized businesses paper is a reality of everyday workload.

From documenting a customer or client's experience to logging accounting information, the paper becomes a vital part of the processes in getting things done on a daily basis. Typically an average office worker will get through over 10,000 sheets of paper per year in the UK. That’s a lot, equating to four full boxes of copy paper, imagine the space of a career, crazy!

Typically an average office worker will get through over 10,000 sheets of paper per year in the UK

But despite the rise in technologies and communication, paper use and wastage are on the rise, since the 1980s, research suggests that paper use has increased by 50%. Many small to medium-sized businesses are making the effort over the last few years to transition to a paper-free or paper-reduced office experience.

Reducing the amount of paper and interaction with paper in your office routine will not only help the environment and your company’s impact but the overall office productivity. The noise of paper can cause workflow issues thanks to the nature of its format. Keeping everything organized and prepared digitally can save you huge amounts of time and efforts.

In today’s feature, we’ll be exploring how you as an employee or employer to reduce your office’s level of paper usage and take the leap to the world of digital organization.

1. Meeting Notes  

Meeting notes can easily be converted to a digital format using two methods.

You can either upload them directly to Evernote or a resource very similar to this. Within these resources, you could use the scanning function to upload the document/note for later or input it into a new note. Either way, they both provide you with a way to avoid the need and use for the paper about the office.

Evernote is one of the leading note-taking resources and is highly recommended by many individuals who take notes for work, personal and leisure. Evernote is a free resource and has over 100M users worldwide who take notes, everything from work-related meetings to creating new ideas for their own business.

Note-taking apps are a popular way to space meeting notes and bring them together in an easily viewable space for all to enjoy.

2. Document Storage 

A lot of people forget about the advantages that Google Drive has on storing documents locally. Even storing documents locally on your PC/Mac can be dangerous and subject to hacks or even data corruption. Using an online document/data storage site will help avoid any negative impact on your work.

Despite technologies, paper use and wastage are on the rise

Google Drive is a storage resource that can be used to create documents and also to store files and information. Google Drive is very secure allowing you to take all of you existing data and store it on their systems.

The benefits of storing things on Google Drive is that you can allow connection to other formats of documents for example. Docx, PDF, PNG, JPEGs, projects and much more. This secure location helps for simple and easy access to the whole team without the need to worry about security or damage, consuming less paper as you go too.

3. Plan your WorkDay

Planning your day can take a lot of paper up.

Whether it is using it to create a to-do list application or to plan the week ahead using a digital resource might be a more effective way to reduce the amount of paper used. Think about your desk it's probably getting a bit messy with all of the paper used for work or even for your personal organization. Try using a to-do list application like Todoist, Things 3 or TickTick. All of these resources provide you with a way to manage your to-do list online, for safe storage and backup for later.

To-do list apps are underrated, and once you get started with using them on a daily basis, you’ll discover all of the benefits of not having to remember everything in your head or even on a loose piece of paper.

4. Scan in documents

Newly introduced scanning document apps have taken the market by storm.

In offices worldwide, the trend to scan a document using a smartphone is becoming more accessible and saving teams a vast amount of time, space and money. The hundreds saved on buying a scanner is now a thing of the past and offices are finding value in this.

Scanbot is one of the leading solutions on iOS and Android for scanning in documents from your phones. This app is well-crafted and perfect for securely sharing files too with others in external storage or via communication apps like email, Linkedin etc. 

Using Scanbot, you can save files and documents into the likes of Google Drive, Evernote, and other storage services for later. Perfect for on the go and use anywhere. You and your team will have access to these documents anytime allowing you to take control when sending them to clients or storing them for later.

5. Design a workflow

As a manager or a leader of a team, it is important to understand the process of how a document is stored and organized for later. For example, if you and your team don’t have this process, you might suffer from time spent searching or finding said document.

Creating a workflow for your document organization will help you to save hours of time day-to-day. You may be thinking this is 5-mins here and there, but it all adds up. Saving one of your team that time searching for a document will pay off later for overall workplace productivity.

So, as a manager, set aside the time to induct the team with the technologies you use, share how everything is organized and plan in regular reviews to keep everyone happy and well-organized in their day to day activities.

6. Paper Ban

Saving paper might mean aggressive tactics.

Reducing paper is a collective effort so setting company targets for paper saved might be a great way to get the employees engaged and excited about finding ways to reduce paper use. For one week, set a challenge for the team asking the team to save as much paper usage as they can, documenting how much they have saved.

At the end of the week, review with your team who the most successful were. This way you can review their tactics that they used to avoid the paper use and how the other team members can implement this. A simple tactic, yet very useful for progressing with the effort to save paper in the office.

 

These are just a few of the ways that you can start reducing your paper when in an office environment. This combined with a more effective effort to organize yourself will help to create more fluency and efficiency in an office environment as well as a personal organization.

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