If you’re thinking about going green at work, there are some cost-effective ways to make your office eco-friendly. Let’s look at why it is important and ways to make it happen.
In 2018, companies of varying sizes in the United States used over 400 million metric tons of paper. And this is despite the fact that we are living in a digital era.
Maintaining a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle at work does not have to be expensive. In fact, you just need to swap some office products, processes, and habits to make it happen.
These eight actionable tips will pave the way for your office to be more environmentally friendly.
Promote a paperless office
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, it is important to find ways to streamline your operations and tasks. One way to do that is by going paperless.
Here are some quick tips to help you achieve it:
- Send emails and utilize instant messaging apps for internal communication
- Digitized your internal documents when possible
- Share a softcopy of your presentation instead of printing it
- Apply for a paperless billing
- Invest in a cloud file storage like Google Drive or Dropbox
Other than reducing your office’s environmental impact, there are other benefits that come with using less paper. This includes reducing the clutter in the office, having quick access to important documents, and delegating knowledge and tasks to other employees with ease.
You can also save a lot of money since you have fewer reasons to buy reams and reams of paper.
Remember to unplug your workstation
Switching off and unplugging all electronic devices in the workstation is probably the easiest way to be eco-friendly in the office.
In case you are wondering how your electric consumption is making an environmental impact, here are some facts that you need to know:
- Power plants that use fossil fuel to generate electricity often disturb large land area due to coal mining.
- Burning of fossil fuel emits carbon dioxide, and too much of it is one of the causes of global warming
- Nuclear power plants generate enormous quantities of radioactive waste, which is a serious hazard.
- Sources of renewable energy can also have an effect on wildlife and other natural resources.
So, make sure that you only consume electricity when needed. Doing so means you are helping to lessen the demand for energy. Not to mention that you are saving money on the electric bill.
Reduce energy consumption
Reducing your energy consumption in the office is not just environment-friendly, it is also a wise way to cut back on operation costs.
Here are some quick tips on how you can reduce electric consumption in the office:
- Use natural lights. The sun offers its light for free, after all.
- Switch to CFL or LED light bulbs. In case you need artificial lights, it is best to opt for CFL or LED lights since they consume less power and lasts longer.
- Use laptops instead of desktops. The size of the monitor and the fact that laptops can work on battery makes laptops energy-efficient.
However, it is important that you keep other employees engaged in this initiative. That way, the entire company can make a difference.
Place recycling bins around the office
Whether you admit it or not, your office plays a big role in the growing amount of waste we produce every day. Which is why it is a good idea to have a recycling program in the office.
So, how can you initiate an office recycling program? It can be as simple as providing recycling boxes in the office.
Instead of each employee having a trashcan near them, having a general waste point reduces the temptation to throw their trash willy-nilly. Doing so is a great way to encourage them to consider whether they should or should not bring their plastic bottles, for example, to the landfill.
It is also important to consider where you should place your recycling bins:
- You can put paper recycling bins near printers and photocopiers
- Place recycling bins and compostable waste containers in the pantry
- You can also place a recycling bin near the water cooler in the reception area
- There should also be recycling boxes for paper towels in the bathroom
Recycling is a critical part of going green.
Use environmentally-friendly products
Having a sustainable workplace is more than just using energy-saving light bulbs and putting recycling bins in the office. It also means switching your office equipment for something environment-friendly.
Choose to use recycled paper products, staple-free staplers, and eco-friendly pens. When it comes to cleaning, buy the non-toxic and refillable ones.
You can also opt for multipurpose machines with less energy consumption. Keep in mind that the fewer machines you use, the less your carbon footprint will be.
Bring plants indoors
It is natural for us humans to connect with nature. It is called biophilia. and it’s a perfect start to going green in your office.
However, our workplace tends to strip us of that connection. But it does not have to be that way. In fact, having a small plant pot on your office desk is enough to help you reap the benefits of having greeneries in your space.
For one, an indoor plant can help you relieve stress. That’s because the color green has a relaxing and calming effect on people. And when you are less stressed, you tend to be more productive.
In addition, the 2015 Human Spaces report that workplaces with natural elements have a 15% higher wellness score. This means that offices with indoor plants have employees who are healthier and less likely to be absent from work.
Institute a “Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle” policy
Another initiative you can do to make your office eco-friendly is to have a Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle (BYORB) policy.
It is better than stocking piles of paper cups or plastic cups. Not to mention that it can help your office to reduce waste exponentially.
So, how can you get everyone on-board with this initiative?
For some offices, it is as simple as not buying disposable cups at all. Nonetheless, it is always best to let other employees know of your initiative and why you are doing it.
Another thing you can do is to have a place in your pantry for your reusable bottles and coffee mugs.
But if you are part of the management team and you have the budget, you can opt for custom bottles and mugs. Give it to your employees with a letter that explains why you are having this initiative.
Encourage green commuting
Commuting can be stressful. And when you are stressed, you tend to be unproductive. That said, you might want to consider start going green in your commute.
According to Lettie Stratton, “Practicing a green commute is important for not only personal health, but also for ensuring that we have a healthy planet to inhabit in the future. Slow-moving cars emit more fumes, making traffic jams and red lights unhealthy and unsustainable.”
You can do this by biking to work. You can also coordinate with the office or building administrators to have a designated parking space for bicycles.
Another thing you can do is to incentivize employees who allow car-sharing, as well as set up a transport service system for those who commute. That way, you can contribute less to the traffic.
What Can Your Company Do to Reduce Carbon Footprint?
Your company does not necessarily have to be LEED-certified to say that it is a sustainable office. And you do not have to shell out a hefty sum to install energy-efficient walls or flooring.
The goal of going green and creating an eco-friendly office is to create a mindful environment that can encourage its employees to reduce their carbon footprint.
About the Author
Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for MaidSailors.com, the leading New York office cleaning service provider. Maid Sailors take pride in providing outstanding office cleaning services at affordable prices. Maid Sailors helps workplaces transform into spotless places.