The paperless office: our 3 tips to go paperless

Go green or go home, right? In this post, we will explain and explore how to reduce the carbon footprint in your workspace by ditching paper.

As climate change continues, organizations and companies must do their part to transform their throw-away culture in the office. Going paperless at work doesn’t have to be difficult. Digital technologies such as visitor management solutions, e-signature software, and cloud-based collaboration tools have made us less dependent on paper at work. And as more and more folks are returning to the workplace, building a better, more sustainable workplace is crucial.

Let’s take a look at 3 ways that you can use to build a paperless office: 1. Ignore the Backlog

The first step to going paperless is to forget about any paper accumulation you've already accumulated and instead focus on the new habits you need for the future. What will you do differently from this day forward? It may seem counter-intuitive, but it works. Having to deal with a to-do list can feel overwhelming, and when people feel overwhelmed, they procrastinate. So forget about it for now. In short, don't look back. Instead, take a forward approach. You'll get to your old piles of paper someday—or not. For now, don't let old papers stop you from starting something new.

2. Get these 5 Applications

To make real progress going paperless, you'll need five apps or services.

  • To-do list app. You need a to-do list app to write down and organize not only your tasks and chores but also for shopping lists and other reminders.

  • Scanning app. A scanning app helps you quickly digitize physical papers.

  • Online storage services. An online storage service is where you will store most of your digitized papers. A few examples are such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. We'll go into more detail about this piece later on because it's a little more complicated than the other apps.

  • E-signature tools. E-signature tools are more common than you might realize. In all likelihood, you probably already have an app preinstalled on your computer with this functionality. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Apple's Preview are two examples.

  • Document delivery or sharing service. A document delivery service helps you send and share files without printing them. Most online storage services already include tools for sharing and delivering documents, and they're fine for most people's needs. However, if you send a lot of files that need to be signed and returned, a specialized service such as DocuSign or HelloSign may be better.

3. Create, store and share content online instead of printing it

Store and manage images, videos, PDFs, and other files using Drive. Drive then syncs to the cloud so everyone’s always accessing the most up-to-date content. The sharing features and access controls in Drive make working with internal teams and external partners simple and secure. You can create new documents right in your browser window. Instead of printing lots of handouts for your next training session, write and share the handout online in Docs, or share graphs and presentations online in Sheets or Slides. Everyone can see the latest version on their computer, tablet, or phone, and add feedback in real-time.

In addition to these tips, one of the things we have tried to minimize and will continue to do more in the future is to reduce the use of paper in our events. Printed materials - agendas, flyers, leaflets, among others - is something that goes against sustainability initiatives, in addition to making it difficult to reduce costs. Instead, a simple-to-apply solution is to create QR codes with all the relevant information.

How is the paper minimization process going in your company?

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