Simple Steps to Help Your Office Save the Planet
We spend a huge portion of our working day in the office, so it makes sense to want the office to be a relaxing environment. Many remote workers and even small business owners are embracing the idea of eco pods as a way to make the workspace that little bit nicer. Even those who are still operating in a bigger, more open-plan office have many options for injecting a breath of fresh air into the office environment.
As with any part of the day to day life, what we do in the office will mount up. Making good decisions at each step of the way can make a huge difference to the quality of your working environment, and to the carbon footprint of your company too. Here are a few of our favourite simple steps to make your office that little bit more environmentally friendly.
1 – Use a Re-usable Coffee Cup
How often do you pick up a coffee on the way into work? How many times do you use the vending machine in the hallway? Stop doing that and start using a ceramic mug or a coffee flask instead. You’ll save money and you’ll produce a lot less waste too!
2 – Stop Printing Everything
Is there really any need to print out everything that you do? A lot of companies do so out of habit, but there’s really not much need to do so. You can get away with email and with cloud sharing services for almost everything. Use a service such as DocuSign if you need to get a signature for something. Save the printing for situations where there is a genuine need, and you will save money on printer refills, electricity, and paper costs too.
3 – Open the Windows
Open your windows so that you are breathing fresh air. This will save you money on air conditioning and massively reduce your energy expenditure. Another benefit of keeping the windows open is that you will find that you are more alert and feel generally happier and healthier. Fresh air is hugely beneficial for your mindset and your productivity.
4 – Brighten Up The Office With Plants
Another way to keep the air fresh in the office is to have potted plants in there. If you ever played Theme Hospital, or the newer incarnation, Two Point Hospital, you will remember that the game used potted plants as a morale boost for the doctors. Plants made the hospital look nicer and made your in-game employees happier. That works in real life too!
Potted plants will produce oxygen, and this can help to improve alertness. Some plants with flowers smell nice too, and they look good so they make good ornaments. It’s a nice boost!
5 – Take Advantage of Natural Light
Lay your office out so that people can enjoy natural light without there being a glare on their computer screens. This will help to keep people alert during the day, and also support people in sleeping better at night. As an added bonus, it will greatly reduce the total energy consumption of the office.
6 – Use Natural Materials
While many tips we’ve put forward so far have been cost-savers, there are some areas where it is worth spending money. Cheap office furniture is made of synthetic materials that are not good for the environment, and some of them can release nasty fumes. Instead of using cheaper furnishings, pay a little extra for eco-friendly furnishings made from natural materials. Hemp, cotton, good woods, etc are a better choice than plastics or synthetic fibres.
7 – Encourage Recycling
Get into the habit of recycling as much as you can. Buy in bulk to save on packaging, and recycle paper, magazines, boxes, etc.
8 – Go Out For Lunch
Encourage people to go out for lunch, even if they bring a packed lunch. Taking some time to step away from the computer and go for a walk in the park will make all the difference to their overall wellbeing. If people are taking their lunches outside that frees up the need for a big canteen, and it makes people more productive since they’ll have a bit of a mental break during the day.
9 – Relax Your Uniform Rules
Customer-facing employees do need to be presentable, but there’s no need to demand that everyone is in a suit at all times. If you can relax your uniform requirements, especially for people who are usually behind a computer and aren’t going to be in meetings, then you may find that those people are more comfortable and more productive.
Smart-casual attire is relaxing. It allows people to wear more comfortable layers and adjust to their environment, so you can have the thermostat at a sensible temperature and manage your heating bills and energy use accordingly.
The above are just a few ideas for saving energy and reducing waste around the office. There are many other options which could help you to make your office a more environmentally friendly place. Take a look around and see where you could cut down on waste, get people to carpool spend time in the fresh air, or make the environment that little bit nicer.
As the saying goes, every little helps when it comes to reducing your impact on the environment. Start making small changes to your office today, so that we can all build up a better tomorrow.