How to Reduce Paper Waste in the Workplace

Money may not grow on trees, but trees made into paper certainly cost a lot of money. While recycling paper is a step in the right direction, it’s far better for a business’s bottom line if the paper wasn’t used for printing in the first place. In fact, businesses in the U.S. spend over $120 billion on printed forms, most of which become outdated within three months. Rather than simply managing paper waste with recycling, it’s time to save trees—and a lot of money—by reducing paper waste with paperless office software. 


Strategies for Reducing Paper Waste at Your Company

Reducing paper waste is an effort that involves everyone in an organization. Here are some strategies everyone across an organization can use to help prevent wasted paper in the workplace. 

  • Use printer monitoring software: Several different types of paperless office software products monitor who is printing, how much, and when. These metrics can help the company make strategic decisions about where printing is necessary and where the organization can cut back.  
  • Create a company culture of electronic communication: Printed forms are less and less practical, especially with remote work and global teams. Invest in features such as esignatures, chat platforms, digital content reviews, and cloud content storage such as OneDrive or Sharepoint.
  • Digitize existing content: Digitizing physical content items is a great way to prevent extra copies from being made and more paper being printed. You can scan images, faxes, photos, and forms. Bonus: they’ll be easier to find and share when they’re electronic. 
  • Take notes electronically: Taking notes electronically and using solutions such as OneNote or Evernote is a great way to reduce paper waste while also making your notes more searchable for future projects. 
  • Invest in a document management system: Document management software works for electronic documents as well as scans of existing documents. This prevents the need for extra copies and facilitates document collaboration. 

How Businesses Benefit from Reduced Paper Waste

Businesses that invest in paperless office software gain many company-wide advantages. Reducing paper waste is an environmental success—and  92% of consumers trust environmentally responsible brands. In addition to building trust, your business will see some other tangible wins along the way. 

For example, using less paper leads to immediate cost savings—paper, printers, ink, postage, and storage costs can add up. The average employee’s printing habits cost a company $725 per year per employee. Reducing paper usage saves space, too. By transitioning to digital storage, businesses can free up physical storage space, reducing the need for filing cabinets or off-site storage.

Increased security is another major benefit of moving away from excessive printed paper. Digital documents can be encrypted and protected with passwords. Access to documents can be restricted to authorized personnel only. This provides a level of security that’s hard to achieve with physical papers.

Digital documentation is safer against being hacked, but it’s also safer against physical danger. With proper backups, the risk of losing documents due to fires, floods, or other disasters is minimized. 

Other benefits you’ll see when you move away from those 8×11 sheets include the following:

  • Easier collaboration and access: Digital documents are easier to share and collaborate on, especially with tools that allow for real-time editing and commenting. This supports remote work arrangements and ensures that critical information is always at hand.
  • Better customer service: Easy access to digital records can lead to faster response times for customer queries or issues.
  • Easier compliance and auditing: Paperless office software solutions often come with features that allow for easy tracking of document changes, access histories, and versioning. 
  • Scalability: Digital solutions can more easily scale with your business, accommodating larger volumes of data without a proportional increase in physical space or manual effort.

Common Questions About Reducing Paper Waste at Work

Have questions about reducing paper waste in the workplace or investing in paperless office software? We’ve got you covered. 

What are the top features to look for in paperless office software?

When considering paperless office software, look for a product with automation features. These features often include naming, sorting, and batching capabilities. You’ll also want software with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities, which makes data entry and document editing possible. 

What are some legal and compliance considerations with paperless software?

Security is always top-of-mind with legal issues. Make sure the paperless office software has authentication features for better data protection. Paperless software can also provide streamlined reports for compliance audits and help you track any incidents you may need to report. 

Does paperless office software have a mobile app?

Many paperless office software products have apps. Apps help you access information while you’re on the go, sign documents quickly, and communicate faster than you could when you had to hand printed packets to your team.