Embracing a paperless office
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
In Australia, we use 230 kilograms of paper per person every year. Given that it can take up to 25 trees to produce 1 tonne of paper it is easy to see how much damage we are causing to the planet. But it isn't only our forests at risk, paper production is also water intensive and uses a lot of electricity (primarily from fossil fuels) and delivers pollution and unnecessary landfill from ink and toner cartridges. Paper is a wonderful product that we need in our everyday lives, but it is also a destructive force if we aren't cautious.
Although there have been decades of discussion on moving towards a paperless office, the practicality of the idea always seemed a decade away from fruition. And then something incredibly bad happened - a pandemic.
One of the key realisations working through the covid19 pandemic is that many of the familiar ways we did business had to change because they were fundamentally broken. The move to a work-from-home environment suddenly meant that teams had to rely on technology to replace paper documents and cabinets full of files that were rarely touched.
Within a matter of weeks everyone was learning to use Zoom or Teams for meetings, using digital signatures, or adapting to new policies for alternative methods of contract approvals. Suddenly we had more time, we weren't held up by a printer breakdown, and we didn't feel guilty about all those trees going to waste.
There is no disputing that 2020 was a bad year, and 2021 hasn't been much better, but it has given us a great opportunity to review our business workflows. At My Coordinator we are almost paperless, thanks to technology, and we are helping participants to also embrace a paperless NDIS experience.
Traditionally, an NDIS participant could generate hundreds of pages on their file with multiple NDIS plans, intake forms, service agreements, consent forms, assessments, reports, and other correspondence. Reducing the number of pages that need to be printed can make a big difference to the environment.
With our reMarkable tablet, we are able to present documents, such as service agreements, for participants to approve and sign directly on the tablet with a copy sent to them by email immediately. No need for duplicate printing, copying, or postage and absolutely no delays.
Of course, some people prefer traditional paper and we will continue to accomodate everyone's preferences, but we hope that more people will follow us on the journey towards saving the planet.
In the meantime, My Coordinator is committed to minimising our use of paper, utilising environmentally sustainable products, and offsetting our carbon use. We use Canva for the printing of some of our promotional material. Canva has committed to incredibly bold sustainability goals including planting one new tree with every order placed.
That's a great start and we are proud to be part of the solution. if you have an idea on how My Coordinator can do better we'd love your feedback.