Will you celebrate World Paper Free Day with us?

Did you know that today, November 4, 2016, is World Paper Free Day, or #WFPD. AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management, is using this day each year to remind organizations to think about the ways they can reduce paper in their business processes.

I think we all can agree that paper is useful for a few things:

  1. Paper airplanes
  2. Wrapping gifts
  3. [Insert toilet-related joke here]

Among other things, paper has it’s place in the world. I think we can also agree that paper is terrible when it’s part of your business process. Here are a couple of scenarios to think about:

Paper Forms

Think about the last time you had to fill out a paper form as part of a business process, for example, visiting a new doctor or onboarding for a new job. Often these forms require you to fill in information that the organization already knows about you, or even having multiple forms in the same process that ask for the same information. It’s extremely frustrating and time-consuming to use paper for these kinds of processes.

Printing Emails

I giggle a bit any time I see this in an email signature:

evergreen_treePlease consider the environment before printing this email

You may be surprised, but thinkbeforeprinting.org estimates that 50% of emails and documents that are printed are never looked at. Not to mention the pages that are inexplicably blank, other than a page number.

Signatures

Whenever I’m forced to sign a document with a pen, I imagine an office building full of people somewhere in the Midwest. Their only job is to compare my signature on this document with the hundreds of other documents I’ve had to sign over the years, just to make sure it’s actually my signature.

AIIM reports that 56% of surveyed organizations still require wet signatures for important contracts and order forms. Electronic and digital signature technology has been approved for use in the US since 2000, so there’s no compelling reason to keep those paper contracts around anymore; plus, having to wait for wet signatures on paper documents increases the time it takes to process those contracts and orders.

According to AIIM, “On average, 3.1 days is added to most processes in order to collect physical signatures. 22% of organizations add a week or more to their processes.”

I’ll leave you with one final thought: When was the last time you got a paper cut from an electronic document.

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