If you’ve planned and budgeted and set goals for a paperless office but you’re still drowning under a sea of printouts and invoices, then you’re not alone. Only 1% of businesses in Europe are paper-free, according to a survey from Iron Mountain. But it’s clear that those companies successfully adopting paper-free policies are at an advantage – an AIIM survey found two-thirds of businesses that set paper-free policies in motion had a payback within 18 months. Yet you probably already know that paper-free pays off. The real issue is, why haven’t you achieved your paperless goals yet? Here are five reasons why your plan isn’t working out.
1. You Haven’t Set Up Electronic Signatures
One of the main reasons for printing out documents, businesses claim, is to have people sign them. Even with developments in electronic signatures, many companies are unaware of the process or believe it won’t work for them. If you’re printing just to get the ink at the bottom of the page, invest in a decent secure signature package, and you can cut down your printing needs.
2. You’re Still Sending and Receiving Post
Do you still have a mailroom? An actual room, and not a digital space? If you do, this could be another reason why you can’t leave paper behind. Putting policies in place where you only send out digital copies of letters, brochures, and marketing material helps cut down on the amount of trees you’re getting through.
3. You’re Tied to Your Desk
It helps when your workforce is mobile – when you get used to performing all the tasks you need to complete your job without access to a printer, you discover how easy it is to do without it. It also helps if your office documents are available digitally – a company like http://shredall.co.uk/ can help with document scanning.
4. Employees Sit Too Close to the Printer
Do your workers have easy access to the office printer or – worse – their own desktop printer? Moving the printer to a less accessible location and taking away personal printers means less opportunist printing and wasteful use of paper. If you don’t move the printer, give each member of your staff a code they must access in order to use the printer so that you can audit who’s making excessive use of paper and correct their behaviour accordingly.
5. Management Isn’t on Board
It’s not easy to implement a policy that may make life harder in the short term when management isn’t fully behind the project. If you are failing in your goal to achieve a paperless office, then look upwards – does the managing director print out a mountain of handouts for every meeting? Could the HR manager be sending updates by email and not by memo? Get the upper levels on board, and progress will follow lower down the ranks.
Clearly, businesses are not doing enough to achieve the paper-free goal. Putting an emphasis on cost savings, as well as environmental issues, may help swing the balance. Performing a thorough audit of the times when paper makes an appearance will also help to halt wasteful processes. And providing training and information will help convert doubters to the paperless cause.
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