Go green in the office can serve your business in many ways. For one, you’re showing both employees and clientele that you believe in the importance of sustainability. Secondly, you are likely to save money because reusable materials are more cost effective than disposable items. Take a close look at each area of your office to find ways to make a positive environmental impact.
Less Paper = Less Waste
A great way to green your office is to go mostly paperless. Encourage employees to use email and other electronic forms of communication whenever appropriate. Recycle all paper in the office to reduce waste. Get rid of file cabinets and paper filing systems if you still store physical copies of business documents. Instead, create digital records in an online filing cabinet to keep important information that you need on hand. For printers, check out soy based ink, which emits fewer toxins into the environment and is naturally derived from soybeans.
Reusable Over Disposable
Offering healthier and fewer bottled beverages is another way to go green. For instance, a Kitchenaid refrigerator water filter can be installed in the office fridge to provide workers with purified water while reducing waste from plastic bottles. With a water filtration system, employees will rely less on bottled water and can bring in reusable cups in lieu of plastic disposable cups. Plates and utensils for food items should also be reusable as opposed to plastic.
Changing Up Business Travel
Lower the impact of emissions by making changes in how employees travel to and from work. Offer incentives for employees to carpool to work. You can give them preferred parking at the office building. This may mean spots at the front of the building closest to the entrance or in a shaded spot within the lot. Cut down on business travel requirements for employees by using teleconferencing software on your computer. Another possibility to reduce the amount of travel required is to change the hours worked by employees. For instance, you could offer a four day, 10 hour workweek instead of a five day, eight hour workweek. Also, if some of the job duties can be performed at home, allow employees to work from home for part of the week. According to Earth911, gas emissions can be reduced by 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per year by simply driving ten percent less.
Reducing Electronics Energy Usage
Since computers are typically a major component of any office, you should make them as green as possible. Choose energy saving settings when setting up each workstation. If there’s a sleep mode, set it on all computers, faxes and printers in order to reduce energy impact when the machine is not in use. At the end of the day, request that each employees shuts down their computers and unplug any electronic devices not used often.
Switch Up Office Lighting
The lighting installed in the office can also be adjusted to make your business a more environmentally friendly company. CFLs and LEDs can be used for lighting fixtures and signage throughout the building. These types of bulb last longer and use less electricity than standard bulbs.
Once you finalize your plans to go green, get your employees involved. Hold a meeting to discuss all of the changes you are going to implement to help the environment. Ask for feedback and any additional suggestions they may have on how to go green in the office.