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Six steps for a paper-free office

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We now live in an age where every worker will have a computer at their work desk and a smartphone that they use to make their job easier. That means that it is easier than ever do without paper in the office.

There are lots of good reasons to go for a paper-free office too – firstly it will save you physical storage space that can be used for more practical purposes by your staff. It can also save you money on the cost of paper for printing. Additionally it’s far easier to manage digital files and documents than large cabinets filled with paper. That’s before we even get on to the benefits for the environment. So here are six steps to a paper-free office.

1. Discourage paper use by employees

If you are serious about a paper-free office then there needs to be a cultural change within the business. It’s up to management to take the lead on this and find ways to discourage paper usage on the whole. This can achieved by putting structure in place that make it more difficult to use paper and easier to get on without it. For example, you could make it less convenient to print by reducing the number of printers in the office. When printing is less convenient staff will begin to phase it out of their normal routine.

Management also need to take the lead by showing staff that they can work without paper. The culture cannot change if the people at the top do not practice what they preach.

2. Take control of internal documents

Of course your business with naturally work with other companies who may prefer to deal with paper documents, so it can be very challenging to be an entirely paper-free operation. But that means you need to focus on the aspects that you can actually deal with yourself. You have complete control of your internal documents, so ensure that they are never based on paper. Internal documents can be created using Google Docs or other cloud-based systems that everyone can access. There is no need to keep hard copies of process documents or contracts if they are all available on the computer.

Move your own systems away from paper-based systems such as fax or generating printed reports. Remember that everyone in your office will have access to a computer or screen, so there shouldn’t be a need for paper.

You can also request that your bank sends you paperless invoices and any other businesses you work with that send you invoices or bill use a digital format rather than putting it in the post. Some suppliers or clients may be unwilling to do this, but many are more than happy to do so.

3. Go to dual monitors

Consider why it is that most people print out using paper. Often it is to do with cross referencing something on their computer with another document. This is a good reason to move on from single-screen workstations to dual monitors. Having two monitors for each employee means that workers can easily cross reference documents without having to print them out.

This might seem like a costly outlay simply to reduce paper usage, but dual monitors are useful for much more too. Being able to have a screen open for work and another for relevant information. Having two monitors can massively improve productivity in the office. So this is a double win for your business.

4. Scan, scan, scan

It’s a brilliant idea to get into the habit of scanning every physical document so that you don’t actually need to keep hold of any hard copies. Remember that once you’ve got a scanned copy of anything you can always re-print it if necessary.

5. Ban printouts for meetings

One of the biggest wastes of paper occurs due to large printouts in meetings. Many businesses assist on providing full copies of agendas or other documents to everyone who attends a meeting. These printouts are often glanced at once and then later put in the bin. Printouts for meetings should be banned – the vast majority of meeting spaces have computer screens that can be used to display any visual aids

6. Make recycling easy

Recycling can make a big difference to your office. Not only is it doing a good thing for the environment, but it can also show your staff exactly how much paper gets wasted. When people see that paper is being used for no real reason it can encourage them to avoid it.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the business and marketing sector. For the information in this post, staff scheduling specialist Planday were consulted.

 

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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