4 Tips to Help You Go Paperless

Have you added paper reduction to your list of annual goals? By committing to consistent, incremental reductions of your paper and print usage, you can save your company money and make significant strides to reduce your environmental impact.

If you need a little more motivation, check out the numbers. The average employee uses 10,000 sheets of printer paper each year. We know that the average tree can produce about 8,000 sheets of paper. So, that means a 100-person company uses 125 trees worth of paper every year!


Use these four tips to help make your path to paperless quicker and easier. 

1. Set a goal.

By setting a company-wide goal around paper reduction, you can involve your entire company in your goal to reduce your environmental impact and unnecessary expenditure. The wording is important — make sure your goal is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). For example, when Bank of America set out to reduce paper consumption, they publicized this simple, SMART statement, “Bank of America will reduce paper consumption throughout the company by 25 percent over three years.” It was a clear statement that employees could rally around, customers could support, and set them on the path to incremental but significant progress.

Going paperless won’t happen overnight; it takes consistent and sustained effort at all levels of your organization to break habits decades in the making. However, sharing updates on your company-wide goal and milestones at a regular cadence will ensure paper-reduction stays in employees’ minds. Don’t forget to include your paper reduction goal in new employee onboarding, too! 

sheldon paper

2. Provide training.

You can’t expect employees to change their printing habits and paper usage instantly. Not only will it take time to adjust, but they’re also going to need a little help from you. With your new goal in mind, start building a training plan for employees that includes both education and training on specific skills. 

The educational component of these training can include information on why you set this goal, how reducing paper impacts the company and the environment, and why it’s important to the company now. By looking back at your print history and pulling some numbers (or making a quick call to your Managed Print Services provider), you can use your company’s actual print numbers — how many pages did you print last year? What did that cost the company? How many trees did it require? Sometimes half of the battle of printing less is simply drawing attention to how much we really print. 

Armed with the education and motivation to reduce how much they print, employees might also need some technical training. For example, make sure employees know how to print duplex, how to print six slides per page instead of one, how to scan, how to create fillable PDFs, and set up esignature processes.


3. Implement printer software.

You can’t be there to remind employees of your goal every time they strike ctrl+p, but your printer itself can help! Your printer fleet can remind employees of your goal and even encourage paper-saving habits. By implementing software like PaperCut, you can set custom notifications when employees click print. For example, the notification can prompt them to print large jobs as duplex or double-sided. You can also include cost information to show the employee exactly how much that print job will cost the company.


print policy

These notifications are simple, effective ways to gently remind employees of your company goal and how they can make a difference. Papercut also allows you to implement pull-print technology where a job is stored in a queue until an employee authenticates at the printer itself. This simple and secure process helps reduce accidental prints and unclaimed prints.


4. Use online forms and esignatures.

Switching to online forms not only saves you money and reduces paper waste, but it adds efficiency to your most paper-intensive processes like employee onboarding. Gone are the days when you needed to print a 50-page employee handbook and loads of paper forms for every new employee you onboard. Instead, try sending new hires a digital version of your handbook and all their forms to fill out as PDFs and esign. They’ll have all the paperwork out of the way even before their first day, and you’ll have the start of a paperless employee file.

“Lockheed Martin estimates savings of eight million sheets of paper and $250,000 by putting a 100-page manual on the Internet.” – ForestEthics


Love the idea of going paperless next year but need some support? A managed print services specialist can analyze your print environment, set up print-reducing software, and advise you on ways to spend less and use less paper.

Schedule a free consultation with an expert at imageOne. On average, our clients see a 20% reduction in document-related costs and a 51% reduction in IT Help Desk tickets.

While wireless printers take a bit more setup than standard wired printers, you and your employees gain the flexibility to place your devices anywhere and the cost savings of having a printer that can accept jobs from any device on your network. Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn and keep up with my company imageOne. Check out my website or some of my other work here.