Taking the plunge to go paper-light
03 July 2019
By Hayley Carmichael
The Dementia Services Team at Sussex Partnership decided they could something to become paper-light and reduce their impact on the environment.
Save money, save waste, save time and save the planet
The Dementia Services Team, based in Chichester wanted to do something to reduce the environmental impact of their work. As a team they got together and considered their options, deciding on reducing paper use as a good starting point. Although the team felt a bit daunted, and there were some reservations they embraced technology to drive the change in behaviour.
In looking at how they used paper the team realised they could be much more efficient and developed electronic processes that improved security, stopped duplication and enabled access to information across locations. Another benefit was that partner organisations such as GP’s could access information sooner, so patients could get the treatment or medication they needed sooner too.
The actions that create change
Deborah Hoddinett speaking for the team said, “We looked at what we could use instead of paper records and how we could change things. We adapted our processes to make best use of the data base and technology currently being used. Of 25 filing cabinets in our office hub, we now only use 7 which is amazing progress.”
The team have increased their use of emails and while a bigger in-box is a nuisance, it does mean they aren’t sending letters by post that can be sent as an attachment instead. Everyone makes a real effort to only print when strictly unavoidable, and then they always print double sided to reduce waste.
Pro’s and cons
The team are enthusiastic about the changes they have made. While paperless files can be a problem if the system goes down, they have found ways to resolve this and ensure service can be maintained, Debs said, “it is surprising how easy it has all become for us, we just now automatically look for the opportunities to remove paper from our way of working.”
The benefits have been surprising; not only are they saving money and resources, they are saving so much time because they are not filing or shredding as many documents. With less filing comes less need for filing cabinets, and the team are enjoying the increased office space available now.
You can do it too
Debs and the team have a simple message for any other teams looking to go paper-light too, “Just do it! You’ll feel good for doing something positive and it is so much easier than you think.”
If you want to go paper-light to help keep you motivated sign up for our pledge to ‘paper cut’ through our Dare to Care engagement programme, which offers staff a way to support our work at Sussex Partnership to Care Without Carbon.