This blog post was written by Howie Chan, Business Analyst at TechAlliance.
About a month and a half ago, I made the effort to go paperless – my New Year’s resolution.
I thought the challenge of going without paper was both noble and a great learning experience. Yes, I probably won’t make an impact on aggregate paper consumption in Canada, and no the industry isn’t doomed (Pulp and Paper was a $963.8 million dollar industry in 2010)
Fun fact, I’m not alone in my commitment; the Federal government (through FSDS) announced it would reduce paper consumption per employee by 20% by March 2014 (challenge accepted).
So how have the last few weeks been? Evernote has helped me take notes and keep organized. The great thing about the app is its ubiquity across platforms (web, mobile, tablet). I can sync information and have access to most functionality across all my devices (including my Blackberry Z10).
With Google apps (email, calendar, docs) and productivity tools like Salesforce, SurveyGizmo, and MailChimp, I was already pretty setup to make the switch.
There are however, areas of everyday life that have been difficult to eliminate paper completely. Take for example, packaging. E-commerce although digital in nature, has created a tremendous amount of packaging waste relative to the now relegated – plastic bag. Vis-à-vis the plastic bag, boxes and foam peanuts take up more room in our landfills and are more costly for businesses.
From a startup entrepreneur’s perspective, is there a significant benefit to not using paper? Cost savings are minimal. Entrepreneurs likely don’t print excessive amounts of documents in addition to the low-cost of paper and supplies. However, there are technology and productivity benefits. You also position yourself with the ability to easily adopt emerging technologies which will likely be paperless.
As startups, you have the opportunity to start fresh and without paper. I challenge you to consider the future benefits of a paperless workplace.