Paper-free, does that sound like utopia to you? I can well imagine! Each Dutch employee makes an average of 9 photocopies a day. The current total paper usage in the small country of the Netherlands is an astonishing 2.8 million ton! Okay, you enjoy “real paper” at home, for instance, leafing through a magazine on the couch with a glass of wine. However: we can and should drastically reduce paper usage at work, using the digital methods at our disposal.
Reduce paper usage: how?
There are various ways to decrease the amount of paper used by your organization. For instance, by establishing a printing policy where you register how many copies are made by each employee. With this paper usage is reduced, and photocopying costs as well. Is there also a small printer in each office? If they break down, don’t replace them anymore, then colleagues need to share a printer. And, in particular, use apps that make paper unnecessary. For instance, to-do lists and notes can be made digitally with an app. No more “things to do” pads, Post-it notes or legal pads.
How do you handle the greatest source of paper waste of all: meetings? Many organizations still meet in the traditional way with printed meeting materials that are delivered to each participant by mail or delivery van. It is more sustainable, cheaper and faster to take a digital route here as well and introduce digital (and thus paperless) meetings.
Meeting on your tablet
If you meet digitally, piles of paper are replaced by a tablet. Almost everyone has a tablet at home, so the transition shouldn’t be very great. With one click, everyone has the correct materials. These are even available everywhere and at all times. If there is an update, you don’t need to reprint all of the materials; you just amend the document and click on send.
Ready for Generation Z
With digital meetings your organization is ready for the future on more fronts. The generation that was born after 2000, Generation Z, is that of the so-called ‘digital natives.’ They expect nothing less. After all, they grew up with the internet and digital tools. For employees who are resistant to reading materials on a tablet, there are courses offered to learn speed reading from a screen/tablet. In addition, according to research, it seems that reading from a tablet is even healthier for mature employees.
To the question of whether your office will be totally paper-free in 2017, the answer is likely “not yet.” However, if you start now with digital meetings then you will have already taken the first major step in the direction of a paperless office. For more arguments for paperless meetings, read our e-book!