Forget yellow, blue or red, Scotland wants to be green

According to Bank of Scotland’s Business Barometer survey, nearly 70% of two thirds of SMEs in Scotland want to be more environmentally sustainable.

“The survey found 69% of small to medium sized businesses believe it is either important and very important while 72% said they have taken steps to become greener in the past 12 months. It found 28% have made alterations to their premises to make them more energy efficient, while a fifth (22%) have purchased low carbon vehicles and other means of transport.

The main motivation for 24% of Scottish firms was the potential for long-term cost savings rather than just to mitigate climate change. But 35% say they are motivated by demand from customers and the wider public.

Only 13% of SMEs said the cost had put them off making their businesses more environmentally sustainable in the last year.”

Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland commercial banking, said: “With environmental sustainability high on the agenda for firms of every size – whether that means they’re doing what they can to reduce energy consumption or cut waste – Scottish businesses understand there is often a financial benefit to making their operations greener.


  • Meeting handouts

Whether it’s an agenda or a full-blown copy of a report to be discussed, the end question is the same: does it really need to be there?

Emails, shared cloud documents and better use of whiteboards are just a few paper-free solutions.

Typical printing guidelines also apply for meeting handouts:

  1. Print double-sided
  2. Use recycled paper if you can
  3. Re-use your print-out for notes and other scrap paper uses
  4. Recycle the print-out once it’s thoroughly used up.
  • Timesheets

This method of recording attendance is still widely used today, particularly by temporary staffing agencies and other small businesses which pay staff by the hour.

The typical timesheet process is:

  1. Employee prints out and fills in paper timesheet
  2. Employee hands timesheet into manager at the end of the week/month
  3. Managers and/or supervisors check every single timesheet to confirm the hours worked
  4. Admin or payroll staff collect the checked timesheets and transfer all the handwritten numbers onto an Excel spreadsheet or other format, ready for Sagepay.

As you can doubtless see, this is a convoluted and unnecessary process.

There are a number of good digital alternatives, but everyone involved does need to agree to use them!

Often when agency staff are involved, processes are duplicated. Agency attendance might be via email, while the other company might still demand a daily paper sign-in sheet.

At minimum, an environment-conscious company should email timesheets to employees not to be printed, but to be filled in electronically and emailed back.

If maximum accuracy is needed, a full-blown time and attendance management system is ideal.

  • Holiday forms

The final example of an area which wastes reams of paper a year is holiday forms. Perhaps your company still uses a cumbersome paper method, where forms are printed and filled in by hand and sent around departments and photocopied and scanned and … you get the idea.

There are many different digital options for holiday booking out there, from utilising Outlook’s calendar function to using specialising holiday booking software.

A good rule of thumb when looking at your paper usage is that if you’re making people fill out a paper form in order for someone in a different office to put that data straight onto a computer system, you’ve got an easy start! Cut out that paper middle-man!