Sunday, May 26, 2024

How To Eliminate Paper In Your Business 

If you run a business, it makes sense to make it as sustainable and environmentally friendly as you can. Not only is that good for the planet, but it also helps to future-proof your business, and it means that people are possibly going to want to buy from you over and above your competitors – many people specifically look for eco-friendly businesses to buy from. 

The great thing about this idea is that there are so many different options for you to implement to become a lot more environmentally friendly throughout your business, but that can be a bad thing as well; how can you choose what to do and where to start? Luckily, there’s no rule that says you can only do one thing to become more sustainable, so you can actually do as many of the options as you see fit, but as for where to start, why not start simply by reducing or even eliminating the paper you use in your business? With that in mind, read on to find out what to do. 

Photo by Pixabay

How Much Are You Currently Using? 

The first thing to do before you can eliminate your paper usage is to know how much you’re using at the moment – unless you do that, you’re not going to know where you need to focus your attention, and you won’t know if and when you’re making any progress. 

The best places to start are in your finance department because invoicing often takes a lot of paper when you haven’t moved to digital tools, for example, plus it’s wise to think about how you communicate with your customers and clients – do you send out letters and flyers? If so, it might be time to reconsider. 

Invest In Digital Tools 

Unless you have an alternative way of working, cutting down on paper might not be possible – you might even harm your business if you do away with it too soon without having anything in place to replace it. The good news is there are plenty of different digital tools that can help you, so before you stop using paper, make sure you do your research and determine just what it is you can use instead. 

There are all kinds of things on the market, including quality management software (QMS), document management systems, electronic signature software, cloud-based storage, and much more. These solutions could be perfect for you if you want to move away from using so much paper but still keep your business functioning in the way people are used to. Implementing these technologies means you won’t disrupt your business or upset your customers, and you should be able to move forward seamlessly without any issues. 

Digitize Your Existing Documents 

Planning to stop using paper in the future and having tools in place to help you do it is great, but what about the paper you’ve already used? It’s true that you can’t undo the environmental impact you made, but equally, you might not want to have so much paper around anymore if you’re trying to make positive and sustainable changes. So what can you do? 

You can digitize your existing documents and store them sustainably – and you can recycle the original paper documents once you’ve done it. When you scan your papers, you can create electronic versions of everything which can then be stored in the cloud or on an external hard drive, meaning you’ll have constant and easy access to everything, you’ll need less space to keep it all, and you’ll have a good system for all future documents as well. In fact, it should be easier to keep your paperwork ordered and make it easier to file (and find) things once it’s all digitized, and although that can be a big task, it’s an important one. 

Use Digital Communication Channels 

As well as the documents you generate in your day-to-day business dealings, another area where paper is used a lot is in communication – we’ve mentioned letters and flyers above, and there are also newsletters and invoices, plus a lot more. That gets printed, mailed, and then, depending on the recipient, filed or thrown out, and in either case, it’s taking up more space, costing more, and it’s not environmentally friendly either. 

The best thing to do is to move to entirely digital communication channels like email, instant messaging, chatbots, and collaboration platforms (this is especially useful when it comes to your team – no more paper memos will be necessary). 

As well as making your outgoing and internal communications digital and therefore paperless, you can ask your customers and clients to do the same – if you’re not receiving paper mail, you won’t have to worry about digitizing the documents and recycling the paper. 


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