Aiming at paperless offices

The move towards paperless offices has been slowly gaining momentum across the country, especially after the appeal by the Indian Railways to its passengers to travel without printouts of e-tickets. In Technopark’s new-age workspaces we find that the trend towards paperless offices – a work environment where the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced – has been in the works for a while now or, at the very least, going paperless is a popular choice among techies.

Most emails from techies/IT companies, for example, include (often highlighted) footnotes that go something like this: ‘Please consider the environment before printing this email’. “While it’s practically impossible to completely avoid using paper in the office, I think that IT firms by default tend to be paperless. Apart from certain sections within companies such as the legal department or the logistics department, there not much paper use in our offices,” opines Anil M., who works in corporate communication at a multi-national company.

Bijoy who works at Suntec Business Solutions adds: “In my opinion, paper use is shrinking because technology is becoming more efficient and because we are relying more and more on technology to ease work. For instance, we rarely use paper in meetings these days. Instead, points to be discussed or the minutes are sent via email or jotted down on tablets or smart phones then and there.”

Most companies have an unwritten rule to use paper as minimally as possible, especially when they’re subject to Information Security Management System (ISMS) guidelines, a standard set of policies concerned with information security management or IT related risks. As it is most of them digitise documents and files. An employee of IBS says: “At the moment the company doesn’t enforce the rule. Instead, we encourage them using various means such as e-mail reminders, posters and calendar art to scrap the use of paper. Everyone more or less follows through.”

Organisational updates, medical certificates, salary slips, notices, and even company newsletters/magazines are now usually sent via email. “Also, we now have the option to make corrections on PDF prints. This actually cuts out a lot of unnecessary paper use,” says Parvathy A., who works as a programmer at an IT firm in the city.

Additionally, there are signboards or posters especially near printers asking employees to think before they take prints. A young techie who works at Allianz says: “The printers in office are set default for double-sided printing [most companies in Technopark follow this system, it seems]. In case someone does want to access printer, they can do so only with wipe cards.”

Some firms such as Suntec have made whiteboards and markers available to its employees – “each cubicle has an attached white board,” explains Bijoy.

But at the end of the day, they say that its individual effort that counts. “I prefer to do my jotting down on a whiteboard that I have kept especially for the purpose,” says a techie who works at IBS.

All the techies seem to welcome the trend, but they say that it won’t work until the support system too becomes paperless. A concerned techie explains: “For example, it defeats the purpose when I can’t take my e-medical certificate to hospitals in the city.”

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