We are doing business in a digital world. Technology has become so prevalent that the employee who pulls out a notebook at a meeting is now the odd man out. Yet, you will still find dated paper-consuming devices in modern offices like fax machines. Is it possible for an office to go completely paperless?
In theory, it is possible to use several digital solutions to alleviate our dependency upon paper and stop killing the poor trees, but in practice, going paperless is very difficult. Even with all of our digital advancements, paper consumption in modern offices continues to increase by 20% each year, and it has been estimated that the average office worker uses one piece of paper every 12 minutes.
What’s causing the Paperless Problem?
Your own desk may be testimony to this paperless paradox. You may have a smartphone loaded with paper-saving apps, sitting next to a pile of scrap paper that needs to be recycled. Across the room may sit your old fax machine, still churning out the occasional paper fax. Maybe the reason for this paradox is that digital advancements actually give us more ways to print things.
Fifteen years ago, you couldn’t print from your cellphone. Now, every new mobile device comes with wireless printing capabilities. If your fat fingers cause you to hit the wrong button on your device while reading a blog article, then you might walk by the printer and see that you accidentally printed it off and wasted paper.
Then there is the old mindset of “We need to keep a physical copy, just in case.” In case of what? Are you worried about a natural disaster taking out your power forcing you to dig up a copy of your credit card statement so you can pay your bill on time? This scenario is not very likely and its standard practice for major companies to keep thorough digital records of everything so you don’t have to keep a physical copy.
You Need a Paperless Plan
When it comes to successfully going paperless, you have to be deliberate in your paperless resolve. Going paperless requires changing habits, and habits are hard to change by simply creating a new policy that says, “From this day forward, no one can print anything.” To be successful, you will need to have a paperless plan, implement the best solutions, and train your staff on how to use them.
To implement the best paperless solutions, you will first have to identify what are the biggest paper wasters in your office. Your three biggest wasters may be your printers, fax machines, and your mail. You can replace your old fax machine with a fax server solution that will digitize all incoming faxes and send them to your e-mail’s inbox. After your new fax server solution is installed on your network, give yourself the satisfaction of forcefully disposing of your old fax machine…off the roof of your office building.
While you can’t eliminate letters that people mail to you, and you don’t want to if these letters contain checks, you can go out of your way to pay all of your bills online and encourage your customers to sign up for online billing. One way to encourage this is by offering your customers a discounted rate or another incentive if they sign up for paperless billing.
In regards to your printer, if you have the determination to try and do business without one, then we applaud you. However, for 99% of businesses, ditching the printers is not an option. If you commit to ditching your printers, then you will have to send all interoffice communications digitally. There are many different technologies that can be used for this. Another printer solution is to install a print server; this will allow the network administrator to better control who can print what, which will help conserve paper.
If you commit to a paperless office, then you will not only have to overhaul your office with new technology, but you will also have to commit to training your staff on how to use it, and work closely with them until you see changes in people’s paper consumption habits. Michell Consulting Group can help, give us a call at 305-592-5433 and let us walk you through all the steps you will need to go paperless!