Office Document Strategies Blog

8 Ways To Make Your Office Greener with Document Management

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

There are many reasons to consider document management for your office.  One which is often overlooked is the environmental benefits which can be gained by dealing with electronic records versus paper filing.  8 Ways To Make Your Office Greener with Document Management

Here are 8 ways to make sure that a shift to electronic document management can successfully green your office.

  1. Make sure your users are able to work on the electronic document that is retrieved from the system to their workstation monitor.  The best way to do this is to make sure they are using high resolution flat screen monitors of sufficient size to ensure they can EASILY read the documents.  Why is this green?  It helps to avoid users printing copies of the document to read at their desk.

  2. Consider providing dual monitors for workstation users.  With dual monitors it is easier to work on two or more documents at a time.  This is important when you need to edit, copy or recompose documents.  Why is it green?  Again, it helps to discourage users from printing a copy of a document they want to edit so they have the 'paper' in front of them while they compose the new edition.

  3. Make it easy for everyone to have access to scanning and a place to properly file and index the resulting scanned documents.  Why is this greener?  If a person has the ability to clear the paper from their desk, even for short term use, they are less likely to stay in the habit of working from paper.  Being able to clear a document the first time it is used and then deal with the electronic version from then on makes it much easier to make the transition from paper.

  4. Encourage your users to understand that the objective is 'less paper' not paperless.  Why is this greener?  If users are encouraged to feel like winners because they have reduced their use of paper, while still being able to access it without feeling discouraged when they feel they must, they will be much more likely to keep working on the process.

  5. Route documents using e-mail, link sharing from the document management system, or other electronic means without creating a paper copy.  Why is this green?  You reduce the number of trees you kill by printing paper to route through out your office.  Letting people work on a virtual document when they need to access information saves the cost of printing.

  6. With the integration of electronic workflows reduce the number of printers and print devices in your office.  Why is this greener?  Every device has its costs in hydro, capital cost, paper stock, toner, service plans and IT support needs.  As more and more documents are dealt with in non paper format it is possible for fewer print devices to be required and for users to walk further to their print device if they do print.  The distance can be a tool to discourage unneeded printing further.

  7. Distribute as many documents as you can to clients in electronic format.  Why is this greener?  It reduces the need to print, the use of envelopes and the costs of transportation for paper materials.  Can you arrange with clients to use a portal, e-mail or other electronic means to transmit quotes, invoices, statements, contracts, and other documents?

  8. Encourage your clients to install a document management system.  Why is this greener?  If your clients are able to deal with your electronic routing of documents and store them efficiently into their own electronic system then the environmental benefit is magnified and is transferred to them as well.  This is good for you, good for them and good for the environment....

How else can document management contribute to your greener office?  What has worked for you to ensure people become comfortable with less paper?

Share your thoughts below....

Lee K


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Photo Credit: Atelier of the Boxes - Writing Tablet and Lid - Wax Writing Tool 1340 to 1360, Courtesy Walters Art Museum - Wikimedia


Topics: document filing, document storage strategy, document management, Document, cost of printing, paper filing, Environment, Less paper office