Reducing Paper Waste
Although the nature of business and its consumption of paper are shifting as our ever-evolving digital world adapts to a more virtual and cloud-based existence, there is no denying that the property management industry still heavily consumes paper through resident leases, reports, notices, legal paperwork, back-office support and more. In fact, the average U.S. office worker uses upwards of 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. That’s a lot of trees, energy and money, not to mention countless hours spent walking to and from the copy machine and filing all that paperwork away. Simply put, saving paper saves natural resources, money and time.
That said, the perception among Alliance associates (as indicated by last year’s annual employee survey), is that we use a lot of paper and you would like to see us do a better job in reducing our consumption. We want you to know that we are listening and truly appreciate the honest feedback.
Although we’re not a paperless company yet, we’ve made strides to eliminate or substantially cut back on paper consumption in our operational practices. For example, we are BETA-testing a paperless leasing office and are continually looking for smarter, more efficient ways for our corporate office support teams to eliminate the need for paper and save time.
Here are a few examples of what some of our support groups are doing to reduce our company’s overall consumption of paper:
- ADP (My Alliance)
- Electronic benefits enrollment
- Electronic labor distribution reports (also eliminates FedEx envelopes)
- ARW online portal (Alliance Resident Works)
- All designers/team members collaborate within a digital share environment
- eBrochures as the preferred alternative to printed versions — properties that need printed brochures are encouraged to use much smaller sizes/quantities
- Online training through Alliance University
- Online performance reviews
- Online resume submittal
- iPads brought to recruiting events to further reduce the need for paper handouts
- Discontinued printing account reconciliation for month-end review process and review is completed online (this equates to an estimated savings of roughly 8,000 sheets of paper per month!)
- Dual monitors for all accounting teams to increase efficiencies and reduce the need for printing
- Accounting team’s paperless BETA test will begin Q3 2014
What you can do:
- We know that many of you already operate in a very “lean and green” way and make it a priority to reduce unwanted waste—we encourage you to check out these tips and implement any practices you may not have already added to your daily task list.
- Think before you print or copy. Ask yourself “Does this need to be printed?” If you do need to print something, always check for errors or blank pages by using “Print Preview” first, and be sure to print only the pages needed.
- Make sure to set your computer defaults to print double-sided.
- Recycle or reuse office paper.
- When purchasing copy paper, purchase paper with a minimum 30-percent recycled content. To ensure you are receiving the best pricing, use our preferred vendors Give Something Back Office Supplies and Staples.
- Know the expression “old habits die hard”? Keep adopting new methods that reduce paper waste, in accordance with updates to Alliance best practices and processes. The best way to stay on top of changes is by paying attention to our monthly “Need to Know” emails and, of course, referring to our Focus Green playbook (now live on LearnAtAlliance.com).
We would love to hear from you! Please send ideas, thoughts and suggestions to FocusGreen@allresco.com.