Every year on April 22nd, people across the globe come together to celebrate Earth Day; an event held to show support for environmental protection through civic participation. It is designed to create awareness around how the actions of people and businesses alike are harming the environment.
Fortunately, this isn’t the only holiday dedicated to this important cause. World Paper Free Day encourages people to go paperless for a day.
Why go paperless?
By going paperless, you can reduce the number of trees that are cut down and used to manufacture paper products. Why is this important? In the U.S., we use over 8 million tons of office paper every year—the equivalent of 178 million trees. And each one of those trees could have supplied a day’s worth of oxygen for up to four people.
Going paper free will also help improve your company’s bottom line. According to IDC, between locating information and, when it can’t be located, duplicating information that already exists, companies can waste millions of dollars each year. Eliminating physical files and organizing documents digitally with an electronic document management system reduces many of these unnecessary costs.
Don’t allow your office space to remain cluttered with papers. Why not take the plunge and transition to a paperless office for this upcoming World Paper Free Day? Here’s how…
What is a paperless office?
For small businesses and freelancers, going paperless may just mean eliminating physical files by handling all communication over a smartphone and using a laptop to draft documents. But what about larger businesses like yours that follow far more complex document management processes? Is it still possible to reduce paper reliance in our world and make a smooth transition over to digital? Yes, it is!
Get started on the path to paper free with scanning
To start, you should have your documents—AP and HR are great places to start—scanned, indexed, and uploaded to a document management system. This will save space in your offices and allow you to securely store, organize, and share them across your organization.
Scanning documents on your own is possible, but can be a daunting task. Make it easier on yourself by working with a trusted document management partner instead. They’ll prep, scan, and index each document for you—no matter the size, content, or format—creating vivid digital images that can then be easily managed with document management software.
But don’t stop there. Accounts payable and human resources aren’t the only departments that can benefit from digitization. Most of the documents that enter your company enter through the mailroom. If you opt for a virtual mailroom, you can stop paper flow right at the source.
Tackle the paper problem with digital mailroom
With a digital mailroom service, your incoming mail is received at a dedicated PO Box. From there, it is taken to a secure document scanning facility to be prepped, scanned, and indexed. Once digitized and indexed, documents and data are delivered to you to be loaded into your ERP or document management software.
Digital mailroom services can help you manage email as well. Incoming email can be directed to a monitored email inbox, after which attachments go through quality-controlled data capture and are converted to the appropriate file type for processing. This means when you receive your documents and data, they’re ready to process—no downloading attachments or printing necessary.
What are the benefits of going paper free?
Increases efficiency by eliminating time consuming tasks
A recent study revealed that 46 percent of both small and medium sized businesses waste time on document processing—manually filing, printing, scanning, and processing them. If numerous employees are required to sign-off on a specific document, it could take days or even a week each time it needs to be transferred from hand to hand.
When you scan your documents and store them with document management software, employees have instant access to documents needing approval and can be instantly notified when action is required on it. It’s great for tasks like invoice processing, that would otherwise create unnecessary paper and drain employees’ time.
Encourages remote work and better collaboration
Eliminating paper clutter by digitizing business documents not only opens up your office space, but also allows employees to work remotely if it suits your business style.
You can support and increase the productivity of employees who work remotely by adopting document management software with workflow automation functionality. With automated workflows, employees can easily access, approve, and share documents from anywhere. With remote access to key documents, employees will be able to collaborate and work more efficiently even when they’re on the go.
Reduces environmental impact
A study on U.S. consumption found that, “despite making up less than 5 percent of the population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper”—12 trillion sheets of paper to be exact. While we touched earlier upon what saving a single large tree can do for the oxygen levels on Earth, going paperless can also cut down on paper manufacturing pollution, reduce the release of greenhouse gases, and save water.
There are many incentives for your company to reduce its environmental impact:
- Positive public response: People are more likely to trust a company that shares their personal values.
- Improved workforce: Cutting down on paper clutter reduces stress in the workplace. If a good portion of your workforce are millennials, adopting environment-friendly policies has a high chance of resonating with them, given that 83 percent of them find it to be an important issue.
- Tax incentives: Certain states give credit and tax incentives to companies that meet their green business standards.
Make a Change this World Paper Free Day
We’ll come together on November 6th to commit to a paperless day on World Paper Free Day. But don’t let your commitment end there! Lead by example—become a paperless business and do your part to protect the Earth for years to come.