Rethinking our use of paper since Covid-19

Lockdown measures across the world have lead many businesses to rethink their daily work life and as many pack up their equipment and begin working from home, employees and staff have had to get creative when it comes to sharing, saving and storing paper documents.

With that in mind, Joe Muddiman, General Manager from Rads Document Storage explains why now is the time to re-evaluate our use of paper going forward for the benefits of both the environment and businesses.

The impact of wasted paper

On average a single office worker might use up to 10,000 sheets of paper each year. That’s a lot, especially if you consider a standard pine tree produces around 10,000 sheets of paper, that’s a whole tree, for one member of staff.

To add that to, most businesses have an average staff size of up to 9 people, so that’s potentially 9 trees that have gone to waste and as this is just an average, the number could be higher in other cases.

If you were to follow the environmental impact along the chain, it might just convince businesses to continue down the digital route.

Most of this paper is wasted due to printing unnecessary emails, duplicates or not using the function to print on both sides of a sheet and so there has to be a solution to this and well, there is; digitising and cloud storage.

Business impact

The pandemic has forced businesses to think differently and actually take full advantage of remote working, saving documents to the cloud by getting them digitized through the help of ProScan Document Imaging or similar service providers and reducing the amount of physical paper waste that would have been made otherwise.

The lockdown has already had a positive impact on digital communication, as more organisations use online software to chat, have meetings and share files.

However it’s also had a negative impact on businesses who supply copy paper as the pandemic has forced these businesses to close and as the demand for copy paper declines, will new business decisions impact paper suppliers for longer, even when people fully return to work.

Creating a paperless environment

For a while now some organisations have been working towards a paperless future, ensuring that all their paper documents are stored and created online, with staff having access to any files that they need.

If caring for the environment isn’t enough of a reason to change your paper habits, there are an abundance of benefits to going paperless, these include:

  • Saving money
  • Saving staff time
  • Improved quality of work
  • Time saving searching for documents
  • More office space

Naturally with businesses getting back into the swing of things there may be some spare time to think about document retention, which should be considered even as a standard GDPR task. This will also give businesses the opportunity to see, actually, what documents they no longer need to store and what paperwork would benefit from being digitised.

Overall remote working and changing our thinking behind using and wasting paper is only a good thing and as this new way of living and working has forced many of us to think strategically in order to continue as normal as possible, hopefully it will give many more businesses the opportunity to start fresh, be more sustainable work smarter, not harder.