Why should your office go green?
Companies are proud to advertise their environmental efforts, but being an eco-friendly office is not merely a marketing campaign or checklist to be completed. When office spaces “go green”, everyone benefits. Cleaner air and waste disposal results in a healthier work environment. More efficient lighting and energy can help save thousands in business expenses. Greener initiatives will also attract more progressive employees and partners.
Above all, the company can take pride in being part of the solution towards a more sustainable world for everyone to live in.
If you want to fulfill your environmental ambitions and create a truly green office, then you need to fully embrace the concept. This means doing your part in being environmentally friendly, and it should start at the very top of the company by using Eco-friendly office materials.
Eco-friendly Office Ideas
1. Cut down on paper waste
The number of paper offices waste around the world is just staggering. People print unnecessary copies or only use a single side of the page. Nearly every modern printer will print on both sides which instantly reduces paper waste by fifty percent. Not only is this advantageous in terms of the environment, but it will also drastically cut your expenditure on paper.
If you are using only one side of the page, cut it into squares, and use the blank side as scrap paper for taking telephone messages or as recycled post-it notes. The important thing here is to ensure that no more paper is wasted.
2. Use eco-friendly office supplies and materials
Every day millions of paper cups are used once for water, tea or coffee and then thrown away. This is costing your company and the environment dearly over the course of a year.
By giving each employee their own reusable drinks bottle for the water dispenser, you can quickly slash the number of paper cups that are wasted. Furthermore, many hot drink cups are actually very difficult to recycle. By providing people with an environmentally friendly option, you remove thousands of cups from the equation, regardless of the size of your company, and at very little expense. Novel Coworking offers glassware at every location and is washed daily.
Consider using other eco-friendly materials: recycled paper or card stock, energy-efficient light bulbs, and automated thermostats. These substitutions will achieve the same results with a significantly lower carbon footprint.
3. Avoid single-brew coffee makers
Most often found near the Coworking space is a beautiful, eco-friendly coffee machine. These differ from the current trending office coffee machine (single use/pod-style) which produce plastic waste with every cup. By altering your coffee habits, you will drastically cut the amount of wasted packaging.
By following these simple suggestions, you can make a huge difference to the environment, and it doesn’t need to be expensive, the majority of the options suggested above will not only help the planet but save your company on office expenses.
4. Go digital where possible
In many scenarios, we can now use digital alternatives to analog practices. For example, note taking apps can be downloaded instead of writing on paper. PDFs of presentations can be shared over printed handouts.
We can even conduct the majority of our business online these days, saving us gasoline used in driving to work. It may not apply to every business, but evaluate whether your team members can work from home. This will eventually save time and money in the long run.
5. Power down when not in use
Lights, computers, printers, televisions, and other electronic equipment can consume a lot of energy. Don’t leave them on after work- automate their power cycles or simply turn them off before closing up for the day. It may seem like a minor inconvenience, but this simple practice can result in hundreds of dollars of savings.
How to Create a Green Office Program
Brainstorm with your team
You can’t have a company-wide green policy if you don’t first get team involvement. Grab the top leaders of the company in a room and have a long discussion about how the company can strive towards greener practices. Be sure to write down every suggestion- don’t pick and choose the easiest ones.
Eventually, you should have a list of different ideas. Some will be as simple as using CFL bulbs, others will be more complicated, like partnering with eco-friendly brands.
Pick two or three initiatives for the year
With all these ideas, the company may feel overwhelmed and confused as to how to proceed. Start with just two or three initiatives. These are greater projects or missions for the company during the year. For example, a company may choose to have an energy efficiency initiative, choosing to cut down their energy use by 30% for the next year.
By limiting the company’s initiatives to two or three, the entire team can focus and track their efforts more accurately.
Encourage green ideas within the office
Going green isn’t just a bunch of ideas on a board, it’s a mindset even during working hours. Be sure to remind your team of the company’s green goals and sustainability practices, whether it’s through a poster on the wall or a weekly email. Best of all, reward individuals who take environmental friendliness seriously- with time off or even an excursion to a local restaurant.
Measure your program’s success
Green initiatives mean nothing without some system of tracking and accountability. For every green initiative, the company agrees to, make sure there is a manager or team leader assigned to hold his team accountable. Create sheets and timelines to accurately measure your team’s progress towards the company’s green goals.
Green Office Certifications
For businesses that manage to go above and beyond, transforming their business to be eco-friendly, certain certificates can be attained. LEED certifications are handed out to buildings that have “substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet”. ENERGY STAR certifies products as well as buildings for meeting certain energy efficiency standards. Fair Trade, while not centered around energy, ensures that every person in the supply chain receives fair and humane treatment, and has become popular for food products.
To learn about other certifications available online, visit Small Business Trends’ page.
The environment is essential for our future generations, which is why we have to look after it today. Don’t just talk about being an environmentally friendly company, walk the walk and set a good example, today!