Our slogan on the footer of our emails has been “Be green keep it on the screen” for many years, but it took a pandemic to make us live and breathe this statement.
March 17th 2020 is a day imprinted in many of our minds as the day when the world changed – Pandemic news hit us and we were told to stay and work at home where possible. This meant for most of us that we didn’t return to the office for over a year and we continue to work in this new hybrid home/office environment.
Microsoft Teams meetings and webinars became the new norm reducing the need for printing handouts, final specs, agendas and notes. We started to use Sharepoint, OneDrive and Teams to collaborate on documents.
At Hunterlodge we implemented a new MIS system, at the beginning of 2021, that transformed our business processing and enabled a complete digital transformation. We would not have survived the Covid 19 Pandemic without it and has enabled a virtual office environment that allows us to stay in touch and be up-to-date. All staff members now have full visibility and transparency of all jobs including finance.
In 2018/19 Hunterlodge printed 97,000 sheets of paper, we collectively reduced this number down to 17,500 sheets in 2021. An 82 % reduction. Our photocopying also came to an abrupt halt – down to ZERO from 53,495 sheets a year. A 100% reduction.
Whilst the exact science behind calculating the amount of carbon absorbed by a tree is hard to find, the European Environment Agency suggests that one mature tree absorbs about 22kg CO2 over one year from the atmosphere, and in exchange releases oxygen. This would mean that we saved as much CO2 as 14 trees would absorb in one year, 308KG of CO2. As paper production also takes about 5 litres of water per sheet, we also saved 664,975 litres of water or 2,262 bath tubs full.
Whilst these figures may not seem vast, together we can all make a difference and have a huge positive impact on the environment. Three years ago, we genuinely would have believed that not printing in the office would have been unthinkable.
Our Human brains are hard wired to the path of least resistance, and In a digital world, we have to unlearn and relearn and let go of our beliefs that we need to see, mark up and sign off work in print. We’re not saying its easy to break a habit – they say it takes 3 weeks to change – and at first it felt hard to adjust and actively think how can we could solve becoming paperless and still comply with legislation and practical issues. The figures don’t include any potential home printing on our personal devices, but, this is likely to be a comparatively low amount.
There are other benefits also as a clean desk creates a nicer working environment for all. Where piles of paper once stacked our desks there is now room for houseplants or a clear space allowing your mind not get lost in clutter.
So as we return back to the office, ask yourself what printing is necessary and what can be avoided? Make digital the new norm and consciously keep using the tools and resources, that you and your team adopted and learned to use, as the best way forward.
Talk to your colleagues and give it a go, we would love to hear about your journey to a paperless office.