One of my resolutions for 2017 is to be more Eco-conscious. I’m not necessarily making an entire green overhaul, but I am trying to think about how the things I use affect the environment. In the first few weeks, I’ve realized that one of the biggest places I can make an impact is actually at work.
Being the nerd that I am, I’ve fantasized about heading a campaign to make my entire office more environmentally friendly. I’m not an office or HR manager, so all I can do is advocate for a greener office, and you can do the same. Need some help convincing the powers that be? There are actually some great reasons to adopt sustainable business practices. Not only does it save money and cut down on office waste; it also shows that your company is socially responsible, which is something that more and more consumers are looking at as of late.
If you’d like to be a green office geek as well, here are my top tips for greening your office:
Is Paperless Realistic?
For many offices, going completely paperless is not quite attainable, even today. However, aiming to be as paperless as possible is definitely a goal that is within reach. Read as much as you can on-screen, and keep notes in a digital format as opposed to a notebook. Only print those documents in which you need a signature, and use as small a font as possible while still making it comfortable to read. When printing or making copies, print on both sides, and make sure every piece of office equipment is set to an environmentally friendly (and cost-saving) default setting. Whatever paper products you do buy should be made from recycled materials and recycle the documents you do use, unless it’s important for them to be shredded, in which case they will likely be recycled once they are destroyed. If you want to be a real geek about it, be a stickler for accuracy and double-check to make sure all the paper you order is the right size and type.
Reusable Is Best
When it comes to other office supplies, there are plenty of ways to go green as well. You can opt for refillable pens, pencils made from recycled newspaper, erasers made from recycled rubber, these days there are even chairs and cabinets made from recycled plastic. There are also options for the rest of the workplace, like using hand dryers instead of paper towels, and buying cleaning supplies that are nontoxic and eco-friendly. Another great way to help the earth out is to keep tabs on office supplies to discourage wastefulness.
Starve The Energy Suckers
Sure, every workplace needs light, heat, and electricity. But there are more ways to cut down on office energy consumption than you can shake a stick at. From using smart strips and programmable thermostats to banning screensavers, the list goes on and on. Even switching to CFL or LED light bulbs can save vast amounts of electricity and money. You’ll want to encourage employees to turn their computers (and the lights) off every night before they go home, and also ask that everyone unplugs chargers when not in use. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to office energy conservation.
Water, Water Everywhere
Water truly is everywhere we look, but that doesn’t mean we should take advantage of it. One of the biggest things businesses overlook when going green is water. Using motion controlled faucets isn’t just for fancy establishments, it conserves water as well. On top of that, many businesses offer water bottles to office employees, but this is an extremely wasteful practice, especially since they’re often not recycled, and are even less often made from recycled materials originally. Encourage employees to bring reusable water bottles to work to make every day earth day.
If you work for a medium to large sized company, starting a carpooling program is a great way to help the environment, improve company culture, and save employees money. If you work in an industry where working from home is feasible, you’d be happy to learn that it cuts down on driving, which cuts down on harmful exhaust fumes in the air. It also consumes less energy than maintaining a large office, as employees are only consuming slightly more of the energy they’d be using to heat, cool, and light their homes whether or not they’re there. There’s currently a lot of discourse about the reliability of telecommuting, but it’s actually easier than you’d think to implement an effective remote office policy.
Casual Friday: All Week!
This isn’t just lazy me who doesn’t want to spend an hour getting ready every morning talking here. Implementing a business casual dress code is actually a great way to help the environment. No, it’s not too good to be true. Not having to wear suits cuts down on energy costs, especially in hot summer months. It also cuts down on dry cleaning, which is not necessarily the best thing for the environment.
I hope these tips were helpful, and remember: eco friendliness isn’t just for big companies and large office buildings. Small businesses can also go green by taking small steps that have a huge impact. Whoever you are and wherever you work, 2017 can be they greenest year of all.