Paper waste is a big issue in business. In fact, it makes up the largest part of un-recycled waste that offices generate. According to research conducted by Kyocera, the average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day, and a staggering two-thirds of that is considered waste.

Clearly, we need to make some changes to how we dispose of our paper, or better yet – learn how to be paperless.

As a digital solution, DocuSign is highly supportive of ways to save paper, and initiatives that aim to create awareness and promote responsible disposal. So, we thought we’d share a few of the ways we work without paper in the office, which you can adopt in yours.

1. Think before you print

For some of us, printing meeting agendas or presentations has become a habit. But if we really think about it, how often are those handouts referred to again? You’ll find that most are left in the room or thrown away.

In your next meeting, try adding the agenda to your Outlook invitation or emailing attendees your presentation in advance. Having a soft copy allows them to add notes or comments, and gives them something they can refer to later.

Being a software company, DocuSign embraces technology to help us go paperless. We have TV screens in our meeting rooms so anyone can connect their laptop and showcase presentations in large format.

This is especially helpful in conference calls with staff or customers who are overseas or working from home.

2. Take paperless notes

If you’re a note-taker like me, there are some great online alternatives out there that enable you to work without pen and paper.

My personal favourite is Evernote. I like the simplicity of the functions, being able to use it across multiple devices, and how widely used it is – my entire team uses it, so collaborating on or sharing notes between us is easy.

If you’re looking for an app that feels more like a paper notebook, Microsoft Onenote is great. You can store your notes in ‘books’, colour code them and easily organise everything. Plus, you get the benefit of Microsoft’s font formatting and program functionality.

While I haven’t used it personally, my some colleagues swear by Google Keep. It’s great for use in meetings as it has the ability to create photo or voice notes. A pretty handy function so don’t have to type up your notes later.

3. Use online or cloud storage for your files

Many businesses are adopting online file storage programs. In the past I’ve used Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

All have their pros and cons. My preference is Dropbox. It’s easy to file your documents and multiple people can access the same document, at the same time. This is great for reports as you can see the data being completed in real time.

Google Drive is also widely used, probably because you can store multiple formats, edit online using familiar formatting functions, and share documents or folders with your team, or a single person. Plus, getting 15 GB of storage for free is pretty good too.

At DocuSign, we use Box. Again, it has very similar functionality to other cloud-based storage products, but it allows us to have complete control of our data. For our company, data security is critical, so we ensure our internal platforms meet our high standards.

4. Hot desking keeps our office looking Hot desking keeps our office looking 100% fire

It can be a bit of an adjustment in the beginning but hot desking is actually a great way to keep paper use to a minimum. It’s much harder to amass a collection of papers if you might be sitting in a different seat each day.

5. Cultural support

While hot desking is helpful, what really helps is to have an internal culture that reinforces the paperless message.

DocuSign is committed to helping businesses go paperless, and our office culture reflects that too. We don’t have a cupboard full of stationery. There are a few pens and highlighters in the cupboard, but we don’t make regular orders. Instead, staff make one-off requests when they need an item.

The idea is that if you want to use paper you can order a notepad, but we’re encouraged to use our laptops for taking notes. For a die hard pen and paper user, I found it challenging at first, but having such a deep-seated focus on technology replacing paper has helped me to make the transition to online notes. And I’ve never looked back.

Even my personal diary is at home gathering dust. Which is sad for my lovely little diary, but fantastic for our environment.

6. Keep recycling bins handy

Even if you’re a paperless office like DocuSign, there will always be paper products in need of proper disposal. To minimise recyclables being chucked into the garbage, we don’t have personal bins. Our only bins are in the kitchen and tea area.

To see first-hand how DocuSign enables companies to go paperless by digitising the agreement process, start a free 30-day trial.