Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Paperless – It starts with you!

Businesses are one of the biggest natural resource abusers, especially when it comes to paper.  For years I told myself I couldn’t manage without paper, assuming my Company should be taking the lead-until I had enough!  My job includes a large amount of legal paperwork – especially while managing lawsuits or insurance claims.  I use to drag large binders, in a box, on wheels to proceedings and then bring binders with paper back to my office, which was overcrowded.  I became pregnant with my second child; I was managing several lawsuits and over a hundred insurance claims.  I just needed to simplify my life and cut down on the waste.  I couldn’t physically drag heavy binders and paper around, let alone spend time filing paper.  I decided to utilize what I already had available to make my life easier.  I soon discovered by best assets at work – a scanner and a large Company shared drive (on a server). 
I started small; each file on my drive had a name, date and location.  I organized each folder as if it was my binder or office drawer with files.  I contacted all of my vendors/business partners and notified them I could no longer receive mail – only electronic documents via email (this cut down on my scanning activities and mail).  I took any spare moments available to scan and organize documents.  All old documents were placed back in my printer, to print on the other side and then once both sides of the paper were used, they were shredded and recycled.  When I receive an email, I drag and drop the attachment or email into the folder, then hit delete!  I must admit, it took about 2 years to become completely paperless.  It also allowed me to share documents with remote co-workers.  I could also reduce my annual budget for office supplies, because paper, printer ink, folders, binders, etc. are no longer needed.  I donated all of my office supplies to other co-workers and I have an office of empty drawers and clear desk top space.  Ahhhh, it is so nice and simple.  Also, if I am remote, I have all of my documents at my fingertips through logging into my drive.
I have reduced my impact on the environment through reducing business waste.  Don’t want until your Company claims they are “paperless”, it starts with you.  Even the small steps make a difference.  Reduce paper, reduce stress!
-Heidi Bastien
Cousin to Melissa West & Guest Blogger

1 comment:

  1. Great effort Heidi - I just think it takes a commitment and mind set to actually eliminate paper. I'm really trying to eliminate paper and am struggling with having one screen to compare things and view designs. It's a little slow coming but I think I'm at 90 per cent now. You've encouraged me to keep trying to find ways to use no paper!