Three Ways to Keep Your Paper-Lite Environment Working

Topics: Optimizing for Electronic Medical Records Transition | Information Management: New Thinking

You have successfully created a paper-lite environment at your organization. But your efforts cannot stop there: Now you must maintain it. If you do not, all your efforts will have been for nothing. Keeping up the strategy can be a real challenge, and many organizations have struggled with this very task.

With maintenance in mind, here are three things your organization can do right now to ensure the ongoing success of its paper-lite environment:

1. Create Paper-Lite Policies

The first thing your organization should do is create paper-lite policies that dovetail your overarching records management policies. These guidelines will address things like printing, saving and sharing habits, which will make employees think before they print. As software company Foxit writes on its blog, "According to the Sierra Club, the average worker in the United States ... prints six wasted pages per day, totaling 1,410 wasted pages per year." In addition, "The average cost of a wasted page is $0.06, equaling $84.60 every year in paper waste for each worker in the United States." That is a lot of wasted paper from hitting the print button.

It is not practical to eliminate printers entirely. However, organizations could make printer access inconvenient by scattering them throughout the office, for example. Then users might waste less paper and use their devices to view information.

2. Purchase Paper-Lite Tools

The second thing your organization can do is purchase some paper-lite tools. If you are going to encourage users to print fewer documents, then you must provide a friendly alternative. What could that be? Today, it is very common for users to own a tablet or e-reader for personal use. In fact, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 50 percent of people in the United States own one of these devices. Why not purchase them for employee users and encourage them to view documents electronically as PDFs? It is certainly a practical solution that most are already comfortable with, and for a relatively small up-front investment, it absolutely saves paper. If purchasing an e-reader or tablet is not in the budget, you could always provide users with an additional monitor.

3. Train Your Staff

After creating policies and purchasing some neat tools, you must not forget to train your staff. A paper-lite environment is going to be a rather new concept for many, if not all, employees in the organization. Therefore, it will be extremely important to train your staff to make sure they are comfortable with all the new concepts and the reasons behind implementing them. If your staff are made to feel like they are an important part of a solution that ultimately benefits everyone, they will be more likely to want to work toward the goal of a paper-lite environment. This is key for future success.

Need help selling the paper-lite concept to your C-suite? Check out this blog post.

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