Going paperless as a business is not only an environmentally responsible thing to do, but it can actually help your company operate more efficiently.
When you’re at work in the office, do you make sure everything you print is absolutely necessary, or at least gets recycled when you’re finished with it? If you do, then you are in the minority. In the United States alone, nearly 260 million tons of waste is generated from office supplies that end up in the trash on a daily basis, according to EPA data. Unfortunately, only a small part of this amount gets recycled – about 34% in total.
By embracing innovative paperless solutions, forward-thinking businesses will no longer need to depend on their traditional office supplies, saving money and going greener in the process. Digital technologies are becoming increasingly more effective, with the potential to dramatically reduce waste and costs for businesses of all sizes.
Below are just a few of the many ways your business could reduce its reliance on paper and shift to more efficient, environmentally friendly, paperless solutions:
Filing Your Business Documents “In The Cloud”
Some businesses still rely on paper archives, folder databases, and books. These solutions aren’t only wasteful, but are also antiquated and increasingly ineffective in a world where speed and efficiency are essential. By moving your files to a cloud based system like QuickBooks Online, Dropbox or Google Drive, you could save a considerable amount of money on supplies, as well as de-clutter your work space substantially. You could also use tools like DocuSign in place of needing to print out and sign physical documents that you then have to turn around and send via fax or PDF anyway.
With less clutter comes more efficiency, especially now that all the information you had on documents can be searched by leveraging the intelligence of a system.
Social Media Campaigns and Online Ads
Many businesses spend a lot of money in creating traditional promotion materials. Flyers, business cards, billboards and similar products can be effective, but in most cases, investing in a digital marketing campaign can have an even greater impact in helping businesses reach more people with better results. While fliers can easily end up tossed in the bin or in the streets, social media ads can help companies target people with extreme detail – down to their location, age, interest, and personal data.
Printed promotional materials are still relevant in some cases, but using digital promotion allows a significantly greater reach directly onto the screens of your target audience while saving money and preventing waste on a large scale.
Electronic Payroll Solutions
Companies who still rely on old-fashioned payroll solutions are nearly extinct. Now, more and more companies are taking advantage of the many perks of electronic payroll solutions such as Paychex and Intuit Full Service Payroll, which integrates directly with QuickBooks Online so you can do all your bookkeeping and accounting in one place in the cloud. Processes are easy to automate and track, reminder notifications can be set up, payments can be processed immediately, and simple management tools are only some of the benefits. And all of these perks are in addition to coming one step closer to going paperless!
Mobile Devices: Phones & Tablets
Instead of using notebooks and other paper tools to manage inventories, take notes or communicate with other employees, businesses are starting to use mobile phones and tablets in order to cover a wide range of tasks. There is an app for nearly any business task you can think of, and with the internet, your team can communicate constantly in real time in an organized and permanent format that will never get lost or create paper waste. Using mobile devices and web-based solutions such as Evernote, Google Keep, or even just simple email based communication can help you reduce your business costs and work to bring paper waste to a minimum.
Virtual Employees & Services
Internal employees are often a company’s largest cost on top of being THE leading cause to paper waste being created. Many small businesses are able to operate entirely online and with remote employees who work from their home. This forces the company to exist mainly in a digital environment where creating paper documents is not only wasteful, but also risky in terms of losing information that could have easily been kept in a preserved, accessible digital format.
Virtual services can work in very much the same way, but tend to be more flexible and affordable than hiring an employee. For example, phone answering services could easily take the place of having a receptionist, and communications would again all happen in a digital format.
Being among the few businesses who already recycle their office supplies is certainly something to be proud of, but by no means should that be considered the end goal to going green. Even more important than recycling what you use is to minimize your waste altogether, and going paperless can play a huge role in achieving this. With a bit of effort, a touch of planning and some help from the tips provided in this article, your business could take a big step in reducing its carbon footprint by becoming a paper-free company.