A Paper Free Workplace

It’s surprising that in the digital age we live and work in, paper wastage, especially in the workplace, is at an all-time high. In fact, despite the huge advancements in technology, e-mails and digital office management systems in the last half-decade, global consumption of paper in businesses has INCREASED by almost half since 1980. ‘Who cares about paper waste?’ I hear you say…. it’s only paper, right?! Well, paper wastage not only decreases profitability and efficiency within a company, but it is having a drastic and destructive effect on our environment, the world we live in, and this trend of wasting paper must stop.

Here are the shocking stats that may make you rethink the way you use paper in your office….

The average office worker in the UK uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. That equates to 4 boxes, and at £10 a box that’s £40 for just one employee. In an office of 100 employees, that adds up to £4,000 a year just on paper that could be halved or even eradicated. 10,000 sheets of paper equate to 4.5 trees…. being used by just ONE person a year on paper. By reducing paper usage by just one tonne a year in the UK, this would save 7,000 gallons of water, save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, and 4,000 kilowatts of energy. Paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries. It uses 12% of the total energy in the industry sector today. A study found that, on average, 6,800 of the 10,000 sheets of paper used in an office are wasted, and 76% of respondents in a survey conducted by Loudhouse admitted to printing non-work related documents in the office every single day. The cost to a business of using paper in the office can be 13 to 31 times the cost of the actual paper itself. These costs come from printer ink, printer running costs, extra room and storage needed, and most importantly the cost of errors incurred when work is printed and lost.

What can we do about this?

There are many ways that we can stop wasting paper in the workplace, some of which are very easy to implement.

Stop printing! – Educate employees about the effects of using paper and implement rules around printing. Encourage team members not to print e-mails unnecessarily, to read large documents on their screen, and to just be more mindful of the paper they use. Use digital forms wherever possible, such as digital invoices, receipts, payment reminders, reports. Digital management systems can create a COMPLETELY PAPER FREE office. They can be used to run every aspect of your office meaning there is no need to print at all. From digital job bags to digital WIP’s and digital invoicing. Systems such as these also massively reduce error and increase efficiency. There is no risk of work or important documents being lost and everything can be found with a click of a button. No more rooting around cluttered cabinets! Printer settings – Set the printer to print double-sided, which would instantly halve the paper consumption in the office. Also buying lighter-weight paper is a quick, easy and cheaper way of reducing paper consumption. It is possible to turn this paper wastage trend around, and large companies have seen a massive impact of reducing their paper consumption. The Bank of America cut it’s paper consumption by 25% in two years by introducing online management systems to replace old fashioned paper-based ways of working.

By reducing paper consumption in the office, it will not only save money to the business, reduce storage and risk of error, and increase efficiency, but more importantly will help in saving the planet!

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