Simple steps toward an eco-friendly office
Going green is not just trendy, it's also good for our own planet. At work, you can do so many little things that would make a huge difference: from reducing copies to using as much natural light as possible. If you start, then all your colleagues will also improve their routine habits!
Everyone is going green these days. From improving the amount of natural light indoors, to only buying and using environmentally friendly supplies, it is evident that the human race has woken up to the realities of environmental change. Just like in homes, offices too can develop eco-conscious spaces. All you need to do to make your office eco-friendly is stop any human activity in the office that contributes to environmental degradation, and instead adopt practices that promote environmental conservation. Train your employees to practice environmentally-friendly habits in the office, at all times.
That being said, which simple steps can you take towards creating an eco-friendly office?
1. Reduce printing
Printing is a large contributor to deforestation. And because offices have made printing too convenient, people are doing it even when they don’t need to. For example, do you really need to print memos and when you can reach every employee via word of mouth? Do you need to print bulky reports which you then dump in a dustbin without reading? It is best that you invest in a digital document management system, adopt digital communication within the office, and equip employees with the proper tools to read and share documents without needing to print them.
2. Bring in houseplants
If you're able, invest in nice, modern grow lights and then bring in a few office plants to improve indoor air quality. Employees swear that they become more productive when nature is brought into the office environment. That is particularly because plants produce more oxygen and consume most of the carbon dioxide that we emit, consequently cleaning the air. Plants can also clear out the chemicals your furniture and paint emit into the office space.
3. Use renewable energy
Start using solar and wind energy, or any other green power or renewable energy source, in your office. Rooftop solar installations are now more affordable and accessible than in the past, which makes it easy for you to make the switch to a green energy plan. Consult your local electricity supplier on how you can make the switch.
4. Reuse and recycle
Reduce the usage of plastic in the office, reuse water bottles and everything reusable, and liaise with junk removal companies to recycle your recyclable junk. Get rid of those disposable cups and buy reusable metallic cups, for example. While at it, avoid buying things that you don’t need, or using plastic bags as shopping bags.
5. Green office supplies
Staple-less staplers, refillable pens, and reusable paper clips, among other green office supplies, are affordable and easily accessible. Replace your rubber bands and ballpoint pens that are single-use with such green items.
6. Conserve energy
If you don’t need artificial lights to work in the office, switch them off. The printer, scanner, computers, and other electronic equipment around the office do not have to keep running from 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening. You can save your company a significant amount on your electric bill simply by switching these electronics, and at the same time save the world. Make it a company policy that every employee must play their role in conserving energy in the office.
7. Maximize natural light
Sunlit windows will not only lower your energy bills but will also improve employee productivity. Workers are less likely to fall asleep or be distracted when working near a window than when they work on a desk 30 feet from a natural light source.
8. Better commuting choice
Encourage remote working for people who do not need to come to the office. You can work with a virtual secretary, outsource IT services, and hire freelancers instead of having in-house teams. When people work from home, you will not overwork your office HVAC system, you will help cut down on pollution due to motor vehicles’ carbon emissions, and reduce workers’ affinity towards uncensored printing and air pollution in the office. For employees who must report to the office on a regular basis, educate them on how cars pollute the environment and encourage them to use alternative means of transport, e.g. public transit and biking. Those who come from a few blocks away can walk and those who aren’t comfortable with public transit and cannot bike or walk, encourage them to carpool.
It is your responsibility as a corporate leader to create a healthy office environment and to cultivate a culture of environmentally conscious practices across all departments. Offer yourself to lead the transition from the front. If your company produces pollutants, either during manufacturing processes or through the products you sell, start by rectifying that before proceeding with the measures discussed in this post.
Author: Elena Adler