The Savviest Tech Choices Improve the Environment and Productivity
Every element of the business landscape needs to work harder, fact. We are accustomed to (and very good at) questioning every cost in our accounts and departmental budgets, but we need to make sure that we are examining the hidden costs too.
Of course, levels of productivity and the entire concept of what it means to be productive vary from country to country. But wherever we operate, the key challenge is how to make the most of our valuable time. How can we make sure every colleague is enabled to work as efficiently as they can? How do we best consider the environmental and social impact of our strategy? And how does all this contribute to our performance?
These are not new questions. The issue is that we’ve already picked the ‘low-hanging fruit ‘- the easy wins that give us more time in our business days, reduce operating costs and make us greener.
Think of how technology and apps have transformed what we are able to achieve; innovation has allowed us to cut costs at every level. Megatrends like climate change and global carbon regulation, increasing pressures on natural resources and rising expectations about corporate environment performance have inspired radical improvements in energy technologies and business models. All of which has made us more efficient and sustainable. We can even change our own behaviour to help us achieve better strategic clarity, as Ann Latham points out for Forbes.
But business does not stand still, nor do the demands placed upon it. Organisations are under sustained pressure to improve productivity and cut hidden costs.
If we think about the colossal tension between the need to be sustainable whilst also driving value, sweeping change can be problematic but need not always be required. Sometimes, a simple switch can deliver massive mutual benefit.
Take inkjet printers, for example. Can your friendly office inject printer really make a difference to your business working harder, responsibly? In a word, yes.
Recent research shows European companies could save up to €176 million on their energy bill and 333,041 metric tons of CO2 emission savings by simply choosing inkjet.
If you’re responsible for print technology in your business, that’s an immense double-win. You free up resources that can be invested back into the business while also delivering real and tangible sustainable impact. Substantial savings do not need to be at the cost of the environment. Innovations like this remove any need for so called ‘greenwashing’ - the ugly practice of listing ‘green’ principles which make little or no impact on business performance or the environment, which is nicely articulated by George Serafeim, associate professor at Harvard Business School.
When we consider our visible operating costs in print – we tend to naturally focus on reducing expenditure per page but it is the hidden costs where technology advances can also have a big and positive impact.
Cutting time spent on maintaining and fixing printers and ordering supplies seems like a pretty great place to start. Facilities and IT staff would certainly appreciate more time to spend on the tasks that actually matter to them. How about faster warm-up and printing times? Better still, what about a more productive workforce empowered through flexible print services that allow people to print wherever and from whatever device suits them, as they work flexibility on the move?
Putting inkjet performance in context helps best illustrate the point. In education, freeing up resources (and time) means investing back into our children’s learning. In retail, it means time and money to enhance and invest in the customer experience. In hospitals, it can free up medical staff to spend more invaluable time with patients. And across the corporate sector it means we have more time to focus on sales and the bottom line.
In the endless quest for efficiency, our working environments need to work harder in response to competitive pressures. The office inkjet printer may not immediately look environmentally friendly, but it could be doing us all a favour in terms of sustainable tech - delivering big and very meaningful savings indeed.