This week the Globe and Mail published a story about Idea Rebel, a digital agency based in Vancouver. From the launch of the company in 2008, owner Jamie Garratt has been committed to having a truly paperless office. To go paperless, he has instituted a number of eco-friendly policies and invested in equipment to take paper-based functions digital.

Here are some of the ways that Garratt has eliminated paper at his company: 

- There are no printers anywhere in the office 

- Pay-stubs are sent via email to workers; no paper stubs are provided 

- Tablets and whiteboards are used for note-taking; employees may bring in one paper notebook, but it cannot be stored at the office 

- All employees have two computer displays and one iPad at their workstations, allowing them to look at multiple documents at once without the need to print.

- Signatures for contracts are collected on a computer software program called SignEasy and Mac Preview is used for adding them to the documents

- Files are stored using the cloud service Dropbox 

The article also discusses a large company called Accenture, which has thousands of employees around the world. The company has recently instituted new policies to slash the amount of paper used on a daily basis.

At Accenture, there are only a limited amount of printers, and employees are discouraged from printing. Paper consumption is closely monitored. The company tracks which employees use the printers and what they are printing. Employees who are using too much paper are coached and encouraged to consume less. Documents are shared for collaboration via Microsoft Link to reduce the need for printing and sending papers via couriers.

The stories of Accenture and Idea Rebel are proof that any company can go paperless or at least dramatically reduce how much paper they use. From studying their methods of paper reduction, we can all see some best practices that can help us do the same in workplaces.



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