Workday drastically reduces paper use

A stack of paperwork.
Paper is expensive to purchase, manage, and dispose of. By going paperless, WSU has reduced the costs associated with paper-driven processes.

About 45,000 sheets of paper once used to track employee leave each month are now being saved at Washington State University as a result of the switch to Workday in December 2020. 

It’s one of several examples the Modernization team has found that the cloud-based financial and personnel management software is saving the WSU system money, time, and resources by nearly eliminating the use of paper from dozens of routine business processes.

While it can be difficult to calculate savings university-wide, the team said that converting two other formerly paper-based processes, effort certifications and enrollment activities, have produced dramatic results.

In fiscal year 2018, for instance, 11,252 paper effort certifications were printed and mailed across the state. In fiscal year 2022, 100% of these forms were digital, reducing paper effort certifications to zero. HRS Benefits also estimates 30,000 pieces of paper each year are saved on enrollment activities previously completed on paper.

Prior to implementing Workday, WSU relied on paper-based processes to perform a broad range of business activities, contributing to considerable paper waste and reduced efficiency with lost forms and missing signatures. 

Reducing the use of paper has a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Reduced costs: Paper is expensive to purchase, manage, and dispose of. By going paperless, WSU has reduced the costs associated with paper-driven processes.
  • Improved efficiency and reduced administrative burden: Workday has eliminated the need for employees to spend time producing, distributing, circulating, and storing paper forms and records. Workflows are streamlined, and potential mistakes can be corrected quickly, all in the same platform. Sensitive information is stored digitally, meaning important documents are routed only to those who need to see them.
  • Reduced waste: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper accounts for around 23% of waste generated in the United States per year, with 11% going directly to landfills. The switch to Workday has greatly reduced WSU’s contribution to these figures, helping save the environment, as well as time and money.
  • Recruitment: In a recent survey of college students by Inside Higher Ed, 85% of students said it’s important for their campus to prioritize sustainability. Additionally, 45% of students considered environmental sustainability in their college enrollment decision

This article is part of the Modernization Team’s Workday Success Stories series. Since the launch of Workday in 2020, the Modernization Team has been keeping track of the ways Workday has changed work at WSU. Each month leading up to the Elevating Cougs conference, a new story will be shared on the Elevating Cougs newsletter, highlighting how the hard work of WSU staff and faculty university-wide has led to improvements across all Workday functional areas.

Interested in hearing more Workday Success Stories in the future? Sign up for the Elevating Cougs newsletter, or visit the Elevating Cougs page on the Modernization website.

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