To create a sustainable workplace small changes are all you need to make a significant, positive impact on the environmental impact of your workplace.
It’s easy to know how to implement green solutions in your home, but what does this look like in the office?
This can present its own set of challenges, especially when you take into consideration the different sets of values between you and your coworkers. What if going green isn’t as important to them? There are steps you can take to get everyone on board by encouraging them to take part in initiatives, and to improve the sustainability of your workplace at the same time.
Even something easy (and visually pleasing) like adding a few plants to the reception or waiting area lends benefits to the space; greenery helps to clean the air and improve the mood of people around them.
Office resources that are wasted are not only harmful to the environment, but they are costly, too: up to 4% of the annual turnover of a business is spent on waste created by employees. Cut the waste and the expenditure by getting your colleagues on board with sustainability. Start promoting a waste-conscious culture and watch as everyone you work with starts to automatically incorporate environmentally-friendly measures, because it feels second nature.
So if sustainability translates simply to reducing negative impacts to the environment, it shouldn’t be that hard to get started, right?
Here are some green initiatives to help create a more sustainable workplace:
Become more energy efficient.
Promote better energy performance is an excellent place to start, with many steps to make this process simple.
- Set your computers and monitors so that they will go into sleep mode after 15 minutes of non-use. Reducing power in this way cuts down on electricity use and saves the company money on service. Make sure employees also completely shut down their computers at the end of their shift for maximum benefit.
- Car-sharing technologies and self driving vehicles are areas to keep an eye on for future use and a reduction in carbon footprint within the industry.
- Turn off lights when not required. Much like computers and monitors, lights can easily and quickly drain resources. Consider installing motion-detector switches, as well as putting up sticky notes to remind employees to shut off switches as they leave a room that will no longer be in use.
- Keep the office temperature seasonally-appropriate. Don’t turn the air-conditioning to full-blast in the summer; open some windows and install some fans. Encourage staff to layer clothing throughout the year, to avoid using more energy.
- Unplug. Phantom, or standby power, is also consuming electricity when devices are simply plugged in, even when not being used. Cut this unnecessary cost by unplugging your workstation when you leave for the day.
- Use alternative fuels, and ensure your team doesn’t idle. Use biodiesel and renewable diesel, and add some electric vehicles into your delivery fleet, as well as higher productivity vehicles.
Did you know that 90% of all office waste in the UK is from revisions and corrections on printed documents? Digitizing your paper use is a huge step towards sustainability.
- Keep things digital wherever possible. This can translate to receipts, invoices, timesheets, reports, and payments.
- Review documents online–from your desktop computer or mobile device–for both ease of use and to save paper and time. This saves costly printing and endless paper waste.
- Save on costly paper filing storage by saving sensitive documents online. Security is a top priority of these helpful technologies, so don’t worry that this is a less safe option for this data.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by automating your accounts receivables, setting up online payments, and by asking your own vendors to supply e-statements and invoices.
- When you do need to print something, use recycled paper and print double-sided documents.
Recycle and refill.
It isn’t just paper we can cut down on. Did you know that there are refillable and recyclable pens?
- Avoid the endless plastic waste of pen parts, and reuse the main components by using ink refills.
- Order pens in smaller quantities and ask employees to request a refill once theirs has run out.
- Recycled pens are another great option. When the time comes that you do need to purchase new pens, reinforce your commitment to sustainability by buying pens that have been made with recycled materials themselves, like plastic water bottles.
Green that office kitchen.
There can be a lot of waste generated in the kitchen at work, perhaps more than any other area. Tackle this issue head-on with some of these tips.
- Recycle everything. Put together a comprehensive recycling scheme, with bins dedicated to different types of recycling materials and clear signs to direct employers to the correct bin.
- Create compost. There are so many options for composting systems that are small, effective, and odor-free that it is easy to set up a dedicated place in your office kitchen. You could even donate your scraps to a nearby community garden!
- Use reusable dishware and utensils. Compostable options abound nowadays, and so do the traditional utensils and dishware we have and use in our own homes. By establishing rules about washing up, this step takes an awful lot of trash out of the environment.
- Don’t forget to use green cleaning products. There are lots on the market at the moment, making this choice easy.
Focus on your employees.
Direct some attention to your staff when it comes to thinking about sustainable options. Employee wellbeing and a reminder of their values will go far to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to helping the environment.
- Recognize increased stress from staff that may carry heavy loads and encourage balance in work-home life. Allow for some flex-time, where employees can work from home some days, reducing carbon footprints when there is no need to travel to work.
- Feeding your staff contributes to overall well-being, and by catering with sustainable, local, and organic foods, you are directly impacting the environment as well as promoting healthy workplace habits and culture.
- Build connections within your community. Making volunteer days for local charities can lead to initiatives like cleaning up a local beach, for example.
- By focusing on a close team, it becomes easier to remind people of their own inherent values. Most people do agree with the importance of conservation and sustainability, but they don’t follow up with meaningful action. The workplace can become a place where they can start to match their actions with their words by starting to include mindful habits at work and at home.
Building a sustainable workplace starts with you, and leads to better work cultures, home-life balance, and helps the environment around us all.
You can start today by letting go of your paper waste. Save big on those office supplies and do your part to contribute to making your workplace more sustainable. Go paperless with your time tracking and give Time Tracker a try today, with a free 14-day trial. No credit card required. Cancel any time.