20 Ways to Cut Down on Paper in 2016

The end of paper usage and the idea of the paperless office has been discussed and predicted for several decades now. And while the notion of a business that uses absolutely no paper is still more of a dream than a reality, we’re getting closer each year.

The benefits of reducing your paper use are clear. Not only can you cut down on overhead costs, improve customer service, increase productivity and streamline your business operations, but you get the added benefit of being able to say that you’re an environmentally conscious organization – something that consumers are paying more and more attention to these days.

The start of a new year provides an ideal starting point to reduce your organization’s dependence on paper.

ways to cut down on paper

Make it a new year’s resolution to cut down on paper by following any or all of these suggestions:

If you must print on to physical paper:

1.Speak with your colleagues about the importance of reducing paper usage around the office and encourage them to “think before you print.” Set clear expectations on how you wish to reduce the office’s paper consumption in 2016, and make sure everyone knows about it.

2. Make sure your employees are familiar with the “print selected page” functionality rather than printing entire documents when it may be unnecessary.

3. Encourage your colleagues to double check their work before the print, to reduce wasted paper.

4. Reuse paper whenever possible. If it’s not going out to a client, there’s no harm in getting the most out of each sheet of paper.

5. Use both sides of the page. This can be done through the Print Settings menu of most Windows-based software programs.

6. Establish a document template with thinner margins. This allows more text or information to go on each page, cutting down the amount of overall pages.

Around the office:

7. Print receipts to a file, rather than paper, using software such as PDF Image Printer to Print to PDF. This can allow for a significant reduction in paper, and make everyone’s life easier; more on this, below, in point #20.

8. Make sure all of your company’s billing is received digitally. Companies large and small alike have gotten on board with this, and it should be a readily-accessible option in most cases.

9. Reduce the amount of junk mail your office receives. Even if you cut down your paper use within the office, there are still lots of opportunities to cut down on external uses. Contact companies and let them know that you do not wish to receive their mailings, or prefer them in digital form.

10. Display presentations on a screen rather than printing everyone a copy. You can always email them a copy afterwards.

11. Send your clients an e-card rather than a printed card around occasions like the holiday season. The thoughtfulness will still be appreciated.

Paper Saving Projects:

12. Move your new employee handbooks and the various corporate guidebooks you have online, rather than handing out bulky printed documents. If they’re in a format such as vector PDF, this makes them more easily searchable than a physical, printed copy.

13. Only display your business’s digital contact info on your business cards; this can make it more likely that when your contact needs to reach out or send you some documentation, they’ll utilize those methods. Alternatively, eliminate business cards altogether and instead just follow up with an email containing your contact details.

14. Take advantage of the range of digital signature solutions. In many jurisdictions, an electronic signature now holds the same weight as a handwritten signature. There are a number of solutions that allow signees to simply draw their signature on their device, or click/tap to sign off on digital documents.

15. Reduce your business’s dependence on fax machines. Instead, make use of emails, scanned documentation, or wholly digital documents.

16. Coordinate with your company’s IT or digital team to move client/customer forms online. Not only is this just more convenient for many people these days, but it can also allow for better document organization, information retrieval, data manipulation and analytical insights.

17. Create a digital document filing system that is superior to your old paper-based filing cabinets. The best way to get “buy in” from your colleagues is to improve on the status quo.

18. Shift your company’s accounting practices to be more digitally-based. Speak to your accounting department to discuss ways to reduce paper usage in that sector of the business; even if they can’t eliminate paper entirely, there are some tools that can significantly impact the amount of paper used for tasks like expensing and invoicing.

19. Send employees a TIFF or PDF of their pay stubs rather than printing them. A lot of people rarely even look at them anyway. If they need to, they can easily print them off on their own.

20. Invest in software that makes image printing and file conversion efficient, and easy. A new generation of the workforce has grown up with computers and is comfortable with the tools required to make a significant dent in your office’s paper consumption habits. The simplest way you can start is by encouraging your team to print to file, rather than printing to paper. This involves installing a piece of document conversion software, or driver, on your computer systems, that can integrate seamlessly with the PRINT functionality of their existing software programs. In many cases, the user can simply select from a dropdown menu to print to file; this converts the existing document into an image format that can easily be stored and shared with others.

Software Tools for Reducing Paper Use

There are a number of software solutions that can significantly ease your transition towards a paperless future at your office.

Print your documents to PDF:

As mentioned in idea #20, above, “printing” to a file rather than a physical piece of paper is one of the easiest and most versatile changes that you can make to your company’s daily workflow. The PDF format is, for many companies, ideal for this purpose – and software like PDF Image Printer is perfectly suited to this purpose. Once you have the outputted document, you end up with a true-to-form virtual version of a printed page (and if that page absolutely needs to be printed, you can entrust that the physical copy will look identical to the on-screen, virtual copy.) This file can be used in a wide variety of ways – great for sharing internally or with clients/customers, or even posting on your company’s website. If you need added functionality in assembling your PDF documentation, an option such as PDF Creator Plus might be right for you.

Print your documents to TIFF:

TIFF is a widely-used file format in the corporate world, particularly in industries where there’s a need to store or archive a lot of client information. The format is widely used in the legal profession, and medical community, for example. TIFF Image Printer makes it easy to convert a Windows document into TIFF format. TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format, and as an image format, that makes it a more secure alternative to many file formats – malware, viruses, hidden links or malicious code cannot be embedded within the actual document. Another big benefit of TIFF is its high-quality output; the degradation that you see as a result of image compression in formats like JPEG, for example, are not evident within TIFF (though the format does offer some compression options, if desired.) If you still need to print a TIFF file to physical paper, it will appear on the printed page exactly as it appears onscreen, providing the resolution and settings are correct, making it an easy way to maintain document formatting.

Print your documents to TIFF, PDF, and other formats:

If you expect that you’ll have a need for various formats of outputted files, a piece of software such as Raster Image Printer could be a good fit for you. Raster Image Printer combines the functionality of TIFF Image Printer and PDF Image Printer into one easy-to-use package. It also allows the user to convert to JPEG, convert to PNG, GIF, and a variety of other formats. Documents can be digitally printed from all of the main, common formats that most businesses would be using on a daily basis; for example, Excel, Word, PDF, Powerpoint, text files, HTML pages – any file that you can open and print to paper, you can print to file as well. Some of our existing customers’ common uses for this piece of software include using it to convert PDF to TIFF, or PDF to JPEG. Raster Image Printer also offers the ability to customize your settings (print quality ranging from 50 DPI to 1200 DPI), and allows image manipulation and adjustments before outputting your completed file (for example, resizing, rotating, cropping, and more.)

A New Year, a New Commitment to Paper Reduction

Whether you’re a single individual user, or an enterprise-scale organization, PEERNET has a product to fit your image printing and document conversion needs. View our entire line of file conversion products. If you need more explanation on the benefits and differences between our range of offerings, please take a few minutes to watch the short video below in order to discover the product that’s right for your needs:

And if you need further guidance, we’re here to help. Simply contact us with a little bit of information about your requirements, and we’ll happily get you pointed in the right direction.

Happy New Year from all of us at PEERNET!