January is a great time to start fresh – you survived Christmas and the New Year and are starting to get organised. You’ve taken your email off that out-of-office auto reply and you’re back to business.
But before 2016 starts to get away from you, why not take some time to think about how you can reduce environmental waste in your business? Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, cutting down on the amount of paper in your business will likely bring efficiency gains too.
Here’s SmartCompany’s top tips for helping the environment and your business’s bottom line.
1. Scan and ban
Avoid the clutter of paper by getting a portable scanner to scan all documents, statements, invoices and receipts. Keep hard copies of necessary documents, and shred/recycle the rest. This is a bonus at tax time knowing you won’t misplace that receipt or realise its faded. Additionally, any non-confidential shredded paper can be used for packaging.
2. Reduce the number of printers
It might not seem like it, but reducing to just one printer in the office will save on paper. If there’s one less printer, a few extra feet away, this might make your employees think twice before printing that email.
It takes 10 litres of water to produce a single A4 sheet of paper. According to Australian Science, we each use an average of 230kg per person per year.
3. Beat business card blues
Apps such as CamCard or CardToContact allow you to stockpile all your business cards in one database. These handy apps allow you to snap and convert business cards to a digital format. CamCard is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows and even has an Outlook Plugin. It is available in both a free and premium version. CardToContact is free and has got the Android users covered.
4. Post-it notes
Instead of writing notes on a Post-it note, which is used once and discarded, consider switching to a note taking app. Apps like Workflowy or Wunderlist can help you keep track of the things you and your team need to do.
5. Share the good news
6. Bank 100% online
Most of us are banking online, but not everyone is receiving their statements online. Switching to e-statements takes all of five minutes and can save both the paper and the time it takes to digitise the original to your records.
7. Store me
Storage becomes essential when going paperless. External hard drives are useful, as is cloud-based software for being able to access data on the move. For those with data security concerns, this new USB from Kingston with an alphanumeric keypad that allows users to create a word or number password to keep documents safe.
Create an electronic signature to cut down on the need to print out documents to sign and re-scan. Those precious minutes add up. Sign and scan your signature once and simply drop it in where needed.
9. Go live and stay live
Pick a single ‘go live’ start date to reduce the paper in your business and stick to it. There will be an inevitable backlog of paperwork that can make the task seem mammoth and overwhelming. Making a conscious effort to scan in all new documents and stopping paper statements from this date will help establish a pattern.
10. Create a workflow
You’ve begun digitising documents and manuals but where are they being stored? And how are they organised? Getting the office on the same page is crucial in going paperless.