Skip to Main Content
Filter By +
Topic +

How HR Can Help Achieve a Paper-Free Office

Technology is part of our daily lives today more than ever, with 89% of Americans using the internet and 95% using a cellphone, per the Pew Research Center.

So why, in this increasingly digital-dependent society, is paper usage also on the rise?

What goes up must come down

paper-free office makes for a green earth icon

Believe it or not, consumption of paper has grown by 126% in the last two decades, according to the nonprofit organization Green America.

The International Data Corporation estimates that U.S. companies spend up to $35 billion a year to file, store and retrieve paper forms or files. Meanwhile, RoadRunner Recycling reports that paper accounts for 70% of waste in the workplace, with:

  • nearly one-third of all printed pages never retrieved from printers
  • 45% of all pages trashed daily
  • the average employee using about 10,000 pages annually

Businesses have a lot of work to do in impacting these numbers – and they know it. Almost 50% of them want to reduce paper usage, with 60% in agreement it would improve their bottom line, a recent Xerox study found.

What organizations can do

Achieving the C-suite’s desire of a paperless workplace requires every employee to get on board. Unsurprisingly, the HR department can play the biggest role in making that happen.

paper free office recycling icon

In conducting business, your workforce likely has transitioned from typewritten and handwritten documents to emails, texts and instant messaging. Therefore, they should be open and primed to conducting HR tasks digitally, too, with one major caveat: The technology must be easy to use. In fact, a nationwide survey found employees placed “ease of use” as the most important factor in self-service technology.

Although no shortage of HR technology providers exists, employers should not ignore the wants and needs of their workforce. If the software does not mesh with their expectations, they won’t use it fully, or perhaps at all — which is not a scenario you want to encounter with an enterprise purchase, especially one acquired expressly for them.

What employees can do

Ideally within one app (which also supports ease of use), employees can conduct numerous HR tasks on their own that remove paper from the process entirely.

paper free office recycling container iconThese include, but are not limited to:

  • submitting hours worked
  • requesting time off for vacation
  • submitting expense reports
  • accessing one’s W-2, 1099 and other tax forms
  • enrolling in benefits
  • changing one’s contact information

By mandating employee usage of this technology, your company will not only save paper in each and every interaction, but recognize an increase in productivity, engagement and profits. As a further bonus, HR gains back the time to focus on people, not paper.