OFFICE MANAGEMENT | 4.5 MIN READ
As more businesses are shifting processes online to transition to a permanent remote environment, or simply are wishing to help Mother Nature by reducing paper usage, they are looking for ways to use less paper in the office. While obvious solutions such as printing less exist, there are still some business aspects that companies, especially those in print-heavy industries, must use paper for. However, there are some lesser known tips that your business can employ to reduce office paper usage. Keep reading to learn a few tips on how to reduce paper in the workplace.
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Paperless Isn't Realistic, But Less Paper Is
The push for companies to become more environmentally friendly and the constant drive to reduce spending and cut waste means that many are searching for ways to reduce or eliminate paper usage in the office.
While you can, for instance, take paper out of your invoicing or sales processes, meetings, and marketing efforts, there are still many ways in which companies still have printing needs. For instance, important documents may still be required to be sent and delivered by mail.
Those in print-heavy industries, for instance legal and education, especially may find it difficult to completely make the transition to a paperless work environment.
While going entirely paperless may be a stretch for some companies, reducing paper usage as much as possible is within the realm of possibility for every company.
Consider a Multifunction Printer
While it sounds counter intuitive to use a printer to reduce office paper usage, there are certain settings on a multifunction printer that can be used to limit paper waste.
Multifunction printers have many settings that can reduce the amount of paper used for a print job. Enabling simple settings like two-sided printing for all print jobs can cut the amount of paper you use in half.
Also, by enabling the Find Me, Follow Me feature on your printer whenever possible, you can reduce the amount of forgotten about prints that contribute to paper waste.
With this feature, when you send a print job to a printer, that printer does not begin printing until you walk over to the printer and manually release the print job. This feature is beneficial for employees who, without this feature, may send print jobs to the printer and forget to pick them up.
This feature is also beneficial for file security as well. When sensitive files are sent to a printer and are not picked up, those printed documents sit in the paper tray for anyone walking by to pick up. For those who are subject to data privacy regulations, this feature can help keep you compliant by reducing the risk of data breaches.
Use a Document Management System
Your business can reduce future paper usage by converting current paper files and processes to a digital format. This can be done using a Document Management System.
Document Management Systems (DMS), use software to store, organize, and track electronic documents.
These systems, which are sometimes cloud-based, are employed by businesses to streamline business operations while transitioning to a paperless environment.
Paper files are typically uploaded to the system via a document scanner, where they are then stored. Converting paper files to digital versions can eliminate the need for file cabinets while better ensuring the security of said files.
Some key features of a document management system include: organization, file security, integration, and efficiency.
RELATED: Document Management System Features
Get Managed Print Services
As a Managed Print Services Provider, we assist businesses every day with streamlining printing processes. We use printer data to make recommendations to reduce overhead costs and save money by cutting costs on paper, toner, machine parts, and labor.
This data lets us analyze the complete cost, volume, performance, and utilization of each printer to make printing strategy recommendations. Some examples of how managed print services can be used to reduce paper/printer usage include:
- Using data to see which department is using the most printing. You could use data like this to better allocate or reduce departmental printing budgets.
- By seeing how many print jobs are wasted, you can know to turn on Find Me, Follow Me settings to hold print jobs to prevent future print waste
- By re-directing print jobs to lower-cost devices and creating rules to manage the use of more expensive color printing, less ink can be used
Encourage Environmental Friendliness
While using recycling bins to encourage employees to be more environmentally friendly can reduce the amount of paper that ends up in a landfill, there are other ways to use recycling ideas to reduce paper usage and cut costs in your office.
For instance, you can use scrap shredded paper from non-sensitive documents to make package fillers. This can especially save money if your company ships a lot of packages.
Additionally, by encouraging employees to work digitally whenever possible, you can reduce the amount of scrap paper in your office. For instance, instead of employees constantly using sticky notes and printer paper for note-taking and reminders, encourage them to use digital sticky notes or take notes in Microsoft Word or other digital document systems.
You can even take this idea of workplace environmental friendliness one step further by encouraging employees to bring reusable water bottles and food containers to work. This will reduce the amount of paper plates and disposable utensils that you'll need to buy for the break room.
Fostering a culture of environmental stewardship within your organization will make each employee united in the effort to reduce paper usage in your office.
Use Environmentally Friendly Shipping Options
Think about all the mail your company ships and receives. The amount of paper envelopes and documents you send and receive can add up quickly, contributing to excess paper usage and a build-up of paper costs.
Consider purchasing products with less packaging or with no packaging at all. This may cost a little more money up-front but could save you money in the long run.
If you request that your office deliveries be shipped in returnable containers, you can return the emptied containers back to the supplier.
Finally, consider evaluating your current business processes to see what can be shifted to a fully digital format. For instance, with a little extra effort, maybe you could convert files to a digital format so they don't need to be shipped.
Reducing your office's paper usage offers two-fold benefits by helping the environment and reducing costs.
We hope that this article provided your organization with some actionable tips you can employ now to improve business operations tomorrow. For more office technology-related content, follow our blog!
Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.