During the embryonic days of the computer, we were assured that a “paperless office” was only a matter of time. Fast forward 50 years, and a paperless office is still a concept for the future as people continue to print emails, spreadsheets, reports and other computer-generated materials.
Today, environmental concerns add an element of urgency to the reduction of paper usage. While hard copies may never be completely eliminated, you can take steps to increase digitization, making paper copies less necessary.
Here are some back office tips that will help your company get closer to that paperless ideal.
Rethink printing hardware
- Do all your employees have printers at their workstations? Consolidate individual printers by installing high-volume printers in centralized locations. People will think twice about printing everything out when it’s less convenient.
- When you do need to print a document, make it count. Many current printers include duplex capability so you can print on both sides of a piece of paper.
Upgrade digital functionality
- Convert documents to PDF format, which preserves the original style and formatting while eliminating the need for specific software to read them. Files take up less space, are more secure, and can be reviewed on any device. PDFs can also be used for fillable forms, allowing you to discontinue use of a fax machine.
- Think twice before printing documents to obtain signatures. The ESIGN Act of 2000 allows electronic records, including signatures, to satisfy legal documentation that was formerly required in writing.
Adapt a paperless mindset
- Move to electronic statements and online payments for banks, utilities and other service providers.
- Incorporate recycling into your company’s culture. Provide plenty of recycling bins around the office and have your employees add a line to their email signature asking recipients to refrain from printing emails. Issue periodic e-newsletters containing office tips geared toward reducing paper usage.
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