Go Paperless: Benefits of A Paperless Office
Every day we read about how our Oceans are becoming more polluted, and how sea creatures are now mistaking plastic and waste as food sources, leading to huge problems in the waters. We hear about climate change and global warming. In recent news, 2.7 trillion tons of ice have been lost in Antarctica due to global warming, resulting in raising sea levels by as much as a centimetre.
There is debate over how much we can do as individuals to stop these changes to our planet, but one thing is for sure – most Countries, Government organisations, and responsible humans are pushing towards a more sustainable future.
As part of this, a lot of businesses are coming up with ways of making their everyday work processes more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Just simplifying processes, such as reducing their paper consumption with a paperless workflow, can go a long way to help the cause.
To give you a better idea of paper usage, one carton (10 reams) of 100% virgin copier paper uses 0.6 trees. One tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333 sheets, which means that one ream (500 sheets) of paper uses 6% of a tree!
When you think about the amount of paper an office worker uses in just one day, that leads to a colossal amount of trees being cut down each year, just to make provisions for one business!
For years, manufacturers have been searching for something to replace paper. But what are the alternatives?
According to a study by Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, USA, paper must be made from a fibrous material. Fibres can be found in biomass other than wood. Some examples are Kenaf (a plant originating from Africa), Industrial hemp cotton, and some other fibres. However all of these options come with problems, for example, hemp is currently illegal in the United States of America.
Rather than replacing existing paper with new paper made using a different method or material, the advice from the college is to make efforts to go paperless wherever and whenever we can. This includes performing banking and other transactions using the internet, communicating by email instead of regular mail, using digital marketing instead of brochures, reading newspapers or magazines on screen, and archiving/organizing files digitally, rather than using books or printed folders.
The WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the leading World fund for nature, also believes there are many easy ways for individuals and businesses to reduce their paper use and costs. In fact they believe that reductions of 20% or more are possible in most offices.
These reductions are not solely limited to environmental benefits but also offer cost benefits to an organisation.
They believe that potential monetary savings are up to 10 times the costs of paper by reducing the cost of storage, toner, printing, labour, postage and disposal. Estimates show that offices specifically can further make a 10-30% reduction in paper usage with appropriate use of available technology.
One example of an organisation who has seen the real-life benefits of becoming a paperless office is The Bank of America. The largest bank in the USA has been reported to have reduced its paper consumption dramatically through online reports and forms, e-mail, double-sided copying, and lighter-weight papers. The total tonnage of paper used for internal operations decreased 32% between 2000 and 2004 (by over a billion sheets of paper).
At LocknCharge we have also found that a lot of customers are now using iPads or tablets paired with charging stations to go paperless in the office. In fact, one of our customers at Inflight Pilot Training actually cut back on 40,000 pages of flight manuals by going paperless with the FUYL Tower and iPads. They needed a way of making sure all iPads were charged fully before taking to the air, and the FUYL Tower met this need.
The FUYL Tower is a charging station made up of 15 individual lockers, each of which is equipped with one fully-charged iPad. The individual locker is opened with an admin-assigned pin number, entered on the tower’s keypad by the pilot. This allows approved pilots and flight instructors to check out a plane, during or after office hours, without talking to a single staff member.
And it is not just private businesses that can benefit from becoming a paperless company either.
Back in 2011, Ben Johnson, a career educator with recent experience on the campus level and district office level, found that some teachers are given paper allotments for the entire year at their school sites.
Ben says, “Let’s say that in a school of 100 teachers, each teacher gets a 50-ream allotment. Each ream of paper holds 500 sheets, so per teacher, that would be 25,000 pieces of paper. In a class of 30 students that is 833 pieces of paper per student per year. This would mean at a school of 100 teachers, that school would use 250,000 pieces of paper annually. With that, a school like this would spend approximately $7,500 per year on printing on this paper and paper itself costs $25,000, not to mention costs of copy toner and service agreements. So, I’m thinking that every school could use an extra $30,000 to $50,000. Perhaps this would be enough to invest in technology that inscribes indelible information in the brain instead of on paper.”
Whatever your individual view on sustainability, paperless office solutions such as the use of tablets and iPads, are giving solutions to businesses and organisations that want to show a commitment to not only the environment but also reduce their business overheads. And that can’t be bad.
To view the FUYL Tower from LocknCharge and see how it can help your business, click here.
For more information or to read more of the research in this article please use the links below:
See here for the full study from Dartmouth College.
See more about the WWF here.
To read more about Inflight Pilot, click here.
Read the article by Ben Johnson here.