We have collated a few tips to help you get started on the journey to becoming paper free.
This week is National Tree Week (November 26th – December 4th 2022). It is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration spearheaded by The Tree Council. Advocating for trees since 1973, The Tree Council is on a mission to bring people together, to care for trees and thus our planet’s future. With almost half of the UK’s biodiversity lost over the centuries and the increasing effects of climate change dramatically playing out in the form of natural disasters - it is a mission more critical than ever! The Tree Council seeks to inspire individuals and local communities through to large organisations and the government, by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to create effective change. The most powerful tools? Trees and hedgerows! National Tree Week is The Tree Council’s seasonal campaign that marks the beginning of the winter tree planting season and encourages folk to go out and plant for the future. To celebrate, AppDrawn made a donation to The National Forest who are transforming a landscape marred by heavy industry into a flourishing forest.
There is another way we can play our part to save nature’s majestic canopy and protect the environment and that is to reduce our paper usage. Being a software development company, going virtually (pun intended) paperless was an obvious and relatively easy option for us. We have collated a few tips to help you get started on the journey to becoming paper free.
How to Go Paperless in the Office
- Digital Note Taking - Note taking is probably one of the biggest culprits for eating away at paper. Going digital with your notes is a no brainer! Great apps include OneNote, Google Workplace, and Evernote. This way your notes will never get lost. You don’t have to waste extra time typing them up to be shared. It is more collaborative and multiple people can contribute to the notes in real time. This blog from the Lean Leadership Center goes into more depth on options for taking paperless notes and is well worth a read.
- Project Management Apps - To do lists are constantly changing. Tasks will be added and priorities will change. Trying to keep on top of that in paper form is tricky. Too many annotations and arrows can get confusing or you resort to writing out a new list but in that time, things may have changed - again. There are project management apps out there which allow you to keep on top of your tasks digitally. Not only do individuals know what they need to do but you also get a vision for the entire project and roadmap to delivery. Everyone knows who is doing what, you can simply drag and reorder a list when priorities change and you can do all of this in real time across platforms and devices. Not only are you saving paper, you are saving time! Examples include Trello, Asana and Basecamp.
- Cloud Sharing - Goodbye to extensive filing cabinet systems and rooms with stacks of dusty paper. Enter the cloud. By going paperless, you will need somewhere to store and organise your files digitally. Platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are great places to start. Ensure that when you set one up, you have a methodical system to your digital filing that is easy to navigate, so there is no temptation to revert back to paper. We have a Tech Tip post coming up in the New Year that discusses organising files digitally - so keep your eyes peeled!
- Instant Messaging - Long gone are the days of post-it notes and/or awkwardly lingering at colleagues’ desks. Say hello to your new friend and eco-ally the instant messenger. Apps such as Whatsapp, Skype for business and Slack allow you to communicate in real time and share documents. You no longer have to sift through a sea of post-it notes, reports and other paper files that swamp your desks!
- Sign electronically - Previously, in order to sign a document, it meant you had to print out the form, sign it, scan it and send it back, making the physical hard copy redundant, adding to your mass of filing or headed straight for the shredder. Now it is easier than ever to sign documents electronically. Our previous Tech Tip - How can I sign a document on my computer? has a step by step guide on how to do so safely and securely.
- Finances Digital - If you are still receiving paper receipts, invoices and statements opt to receive them by email instead. With a majority of suppliers, login to your account and you will be able to change that setting there. It is also common practice to find a record of your payment history on your account. Great bookkeeping apps/software include: Xero, FreeAgent and Freshbooks.
- Multiple Monitors - In tasks where there are a lot of fine details to cross reference, some people may use print outs to make their job easier. Rather than printing out on reams of paper, which at the end of the day will most likely end up in the bin, why not use multiple, larger monitors. You can then have all the necessary information displayed clearly and legibly, making your job of cross referencing a whole lot easier, whilst saving a tree in the process.
- Marketing - Consider other channels for marketing beyond printed media. We appreciate that in certain circumstances the personal handwritten touch can go a long way. But we encourage you to seriously weigh that up as an option. There are so many clever ways to conduct campaigns and connect with people with all the various social platforms and apps out there. You can create eye catching email campaigns using software such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. With regards to marketing, the world really is your oyster and there are so many options out there to be creative!
- Recycle - In some instances, avoiding the use of paper is just not possible. Any paper you do use, make sure to recycle and/or shred it. At AppDrawn, we have a paper recycling bin that we fill up every 1.5 years. This then gets shredded by a local service and repurposed into tissues. See if there are any local initiatives where your paper waste can go on to serve another purpose.