5 Simple Ways to Reduce Paper Waste at Work

Written by Sarah Quezada on April 30, 2014

Posted in Form Hacks

Did you know that the average office employee uses about 10,000 sheets of paper a year? That’s more than a tree per person!

Go paperless to shrink your company’s carbon footprint, save time from searching through paper files and reduce your supply costs. There are so many tips and tools to help you reduce paper waste at work. Here are some easy ones you can implement right away:

  1. Create and save your expense reports online. Use an app like Expensify to eliminate your stockpile of paper expense reports and receipts. The app collects receipts and details for you, even on mobile, so there’s no excuse for the business tripper to claim a lost receipt.
  2. Track your tasks with a to-do list app. Install more white boards in the office and toss the scrap paper notes that are cluttering your desks. Want to keep your activities top secret? Try Evernote or Wunderlist to manage tasks on your computer and phone. These apps are great because you can review completed tasks as well (perfect for the boss who was wondering what you worked on last week). 
  3. Leverage HR software to consolidate your files. Increase turnaround time and reduce new hire paperwork with an eSignature service like SignNow. Simply mark where you want someone to fill out information and where to sign. The software will walk them through it. Formstack also offers the ability to create onboarding forms in seconds, and they can also include an e-signature field. Need to manage PTO? Consolidate your time off requests with an online form. Formstack’s features will allow you set up a submission approval system that automatically communicates decisions to requesting staff. Unfortunately, there’s no integration that will allow you to tag along on their vacation. Sorry!
  4. Ditch the file cabinet and take to the cloud. Let’s be real. Filing cabinets are so 80’s. With cloud storage apps and access to online libraries, you can ditch the folders. For starters, toss equipment manuals and download the PDFs on manufacturers’ websites. Save them all in one place and you’ll likely have better luck finding them digitally than you ever would have if you needed the paper copies. Scan and save archived documents. Use a secondary hard drive or apps like Dropbox or Google Drive to organize and store everything. Bonus? You can search for keywords when you need something. Saving and accessing online files is so easy that your biggest challenge will be finding someone to take the filing cabinet off your hands.
  5. Try an e-book for your next read. Next time you choose a book for the team to read, try an e-book. They’re typically cheaper, arrive instantly and save trees in the process. Books purchased through Amazon Kindle or NOOK can also be read on your computer – so no excuses for your employees without e-readers! Corporate responsibility is important, and environmentalism is an easy win. Transition to a paperless office and you’ll see instant benefits.

What ways does your office reduce paper? Which one of these tips will you try? Let us know in the comments below. And we’re not afraid of a shameless plug; online forms are a great way to immediately reduce paper waste at work. Sign up for a 14-day free trial right now. Get those forms off your desk and into the 21st Century!