Did you know that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year? And according to RoadRunner Recycling, 45% of that paper ends up in the trash.
Talk about a waste of time and resources.
When you add in the time it takes to print something, organize it, file it, then someday look for it again, not only is paper waste environmentally unfriendly, but it’s also extremely unproductive as well.
Today’s advancements in technology have given us hundreds of systems and tools to cut down our paper trail and make us more productive, yet many offices are still printing, scanning, and faxing just as they were 25 years ago.
If one of your goals this year is to step up your productivity game, then you might want to start re-evaluating some of your daily “paper heavy” tasks.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common office management duties where paper usage is unnecessarily high and how we can make them more efficient.
Onboarding new employees is a lot of work. From health and dental applications, payroll forms, internal policies, and signed agreements, the hiring process is easily one of the most paper heavy and time-consuming tasks in an office.
The next time you hire someone, before hitting the print button on your onboarding packet, consider this: an online or digital orientation package is just as useful as an in-person one. Using an online system such as JustWorks allows you to manage all HR, payroll, and benefits packages digitally. You can also save time and paper by sending virtual invites to your new hires with an orientation time, and then proceed to conduct the orientation via an online hangout platform.
Receipts, mileage tracking forms, invoices, and bills are usually stuffed in a filing cabinet somewhere taking up a lot of unnecessary space. When it comes to end-of-year accounting and audits, sorting through piles of paper is stressful and time-consuming.
Wouldn’t it be easier if everything was saved and archived digitally and could be found with the click of a button?
The first step is to electronically scan all of your old paper records to get them on a secure online document management platform. This will be an arduous task up front, but in the long run, it’s worth it.
Next, start using digital accounting software like Quickbooks Online which can generate digital invoices, catalog receipts, as well as track your financials. In addition, you can use their mobile app to access your finances on the go. You can even use it as a receipt scanner through your smartphone camera. This way, employee expense reporting and tracking is easy and doesn’t have to take hours.
Finally, now that you have no more use for mounds of paper, get rid of those filing cabinets! Now, maybe you have space to hire another employee or add some extra, much-needed coffee machines. Whatever it is, make it’s more productive than piles of paper!
Contracts & Agreements
Contracts and signed agreements are sensitive and very important documents to keep track of. But what if there were ever a fire or flood, what would happen to those original copies?
To ensure your most important contracts and sensitive documents are safe, secure, and impervious to natural disaster, store them digitally with a contract management solution. Oftentimes there is a lot of back and forth between contracts and multiple versions are created until the final one is signed off on. That’s a lot of time and paper. When your contracts are managed digitally, you can access, amend, sign, and store them between multiple parties without ever using a single sheet of paper.
There are many of us who still enjoy jotting down a “to do list” using a pen and paper or taking notes during important meetings. While these efforts can often be rewarding (physically crossing off a big list item), there are still more efficient ways of staying on the ball. One of my personal favorites is using Evernote.
In meetings, I use Evernote to take down notes, thoughts and add reminders for myself. All of the information is saved and accessible via the mobile app which makes referring back to it easy and fast. Furthermore, I don’t have to recopy any information. A simple copy and paste allows me to share information with the click of a button.
The Approval Process
Whether you’re drafting a whitepaper for your business or revising marketing materials for an upcoming tradeshow, instead of reprinting each iteration during the approval process, keep it digital using tools like G-Suite and Trello to organize your projects to improve team collaboration.
For example, Google Docs allows multiple users to access the same document with the ability to edit it directly or leave comments and suggestions everyone can view. Trello helps organize workflow and keep track of tasks all accessible by your teammates or anyone you add to your Trello board.
How can you make your daily workflow more productive? I hope some of these tools and resources have given you some different ways of eliminating expensive paper costs while giving you back something we could all use a lot more of – time.