News Feature | November 2, 2015

Is ‘Going Paperless' Really Possible?

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

How Is The Paperless Office Initiative Faring?

As World Paper Free Day approaches, take time to think about how going paperless and becoming digital can help your business and much more.

According to non-profit WRAP’s green office efficiency guide, the average worker uses up to 45 sheets of paper per day — half of which is considered waste. WRAP notes a best-practice office can use as little as seven reams of paper per staff member per year (there are 500 sheets of paper in a ream).

How do they suggest reaching this goal? First, reduce the number of printers, because as they are easy to reach, people tend to print items unnecessarily. And a real no-brainer is using both sides of paper which can reduce use by up to 50 percent. Additionally, use electronic communications when possible to reduce printing and faxing, and encourage staff not to print emails unless absolutely necessary.

While doing all this is sure to reduce paper consumption in any office, is going completely paperless possible? The promise of digital documents is certainly alluring, but according to CMSWire’s David Roe, the paperless office is no more than a dream. “Even though office workers are mobile, computer literate and aware that paper-free processes improve productivity and lower costs, most organizations are still struggling against the tide of paper documents that clog offices and stall business processes,” he explains.

Despite the fact we may not be ready to go completely paperless just yet, the Association for Information and Image Management encourages businesses to participate in World Paper Free Day November 6. “It is hard to believe that in 2015, so many of us are still so reliant on paper,” said the president of the organization behind the push, John Mancini of AIIM in a press release. “It is slow, inefficient and terrible for the environment. There are much better options available, with more and more technology dedicated to reducing use of paper.”

“We will never get rid of paper entirely,” says Mancini, “but the volume used unnecessarily every day is mind-blowing. World Paper Free Day is all about asking people in workplaces around the world, to think a bit harder about whether they really need to press that print button. We all know that that’s the best way to help your business flourish, as well as protect the environment.”