world paper free day

Seven habits of highly effective paperless offices

Back of-the-envelope calculations are good — particularly when you realise that you are reusing the envelope that helps you save trees from being cut. But envelope jokes apart, it makes sense to do some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic to get some sense of how we can save money and precious natural resources by going paperless.  On World Paper Free Day, we offer you rules that will make you smarter, savvier and enviornmentally sexier.

But before that, get a real hang. We are a startup with only 25 employees but we are already splurging on 20 pages per head per day.  That is a bit ironic because our mission is to have paperless offices everywhere. The problem is that you can’t wish away the past overnight. So we look at the hard reality as we scale back on paper. At the current run rate, we consume 350 reams of paper every year and just in costs we can save 25,000 rupees a year by going paperless. If you are a large corporation, you can easily realise how much you are wasting from your resources.

And we are not even talking of the additional savings from avoiding printer cartridges and ink.

So here we are, offering you rules to make good the idea of going paperless.

  1. Send and accept digital invoices. Do away with those paper notes. There are websites that offer free electronic invoice formats, such as Zoho.com
  2. Ask your utility service providers such as electricity and telecom companies to send their bills by email. In fact, even your milk vendor can be trained to send WhatsApp messages or text messages in lieu of bills in the coming days.
  3. In word processing documents, use track changes, instead of scribbling your views on paper with a pen. New word processing software apps are increasingly cool.
  4. Using an efficient Document Management System for storing, indexing and searching documents. If you are looking for a document needle in an electronic haystack, look no further. Remember, it is estimated that 7.5% of all company documents are lost completely.
  5. Give your teams collaborative workflow tools. Be it account-keeping or presentation or a plain letter, collaboration-friendly software apps make life easier.
  6. Inculcate a company culture of printing less and sharing efficiently by using online tools. Tell your employees that increases chances of a safer, smarter world. It has been estimated that searching for documents takes about 20% of an employee’s time.
  7. Incentivise your employees. How about diverting a small portion of the money saved by paperless actions to throw an office party? Higher the savings, bigger the party budget. Tell them this, and they get the message.