Nowadays, many companies are focusing on corporate social responsibility and investing in green practices. If you also want to become a responsible business owner and make your office more environmentally friendly, this article will be of great help to you.
#1. Create a “Green Team”
“Employees engaging one another is more effective than memos from the top.”
– Andrew McCrea
One effective way of raising awareness and getting your employees engaged about green practices is by organizing a sustainability team for your office. Rather than getting orders from the top, the team will be better positioned to educate the staff through informational lunch-and-learn sessions.
The tasks and projects of the team could include:
- Determining and setting specific green goals that the company wants to achieve. One top priority could be decreasing the monthly energy usage by at least 20 %. And these goals need to be communicated to all the employees.
- Starting a recycling program.
- Conducting monthly inspections and checking the power/gas meters and the number of office supplies bought.
- Scheduling regular meetings so as to evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable projects.
- Distributing monthly newspapers (both to employees and customers).
#2. Embrace Renewable Energy
An old excuse for not using solar panels – it’s too expensive. But, this is no longer acceptable. Over the last five years, the cost of buying and even installing solar panels has reduced significantly. Plus, investing in solar energy promises a huge positive financial return in the long run.
Now, some more benefits of switching to solar energy are:
- Solar panels are known to last for a very long period of time (at least more than 25 years).
- Can drastically reduce your electric bills
- Increase your property value
- And, of course, protect the environment
#3. Maximize Natural Light
Approximately 25 % of the US electricity consumption is used to light office spaces. Relying on natural daylight can not only help to protect the environment, but it can also reduce the cost of your utility bills. And, as per the World Green Building Council, employees working near sunlit places tend to have a 15 % higher productivity rate.
Jennifer Walton, an agency principal at H. Hendy Associates, claimed that “Natural light sets the body’s circadian rhythms, which control awakening, falling asleep, synthesizing vitamin D and digestion while indoor light is a major work disruptor.”
#4. Turn off and Unplug Electronics at the End of the Day
Our workdays are sometimes like this:
Sit down in front of the computer with a vague idea of what needs to be done and then you end up spending way too much time on unimportant tasks, get distracted by personal thoughts and have to bear the constant grumbling of your boss. And when it is the end of the day, you are all but ready to bolt out the door. You are either starving, worried about finding out what new mess your kids made while you were away or you are just eager to have some relaxation time. Honestly, we all know that feeling.
However, if you can take only ten additional seconds to unplug everything that will not be used overnight, there will not be any ghoulish spirit haunting the office at night (I am talking about some phantom power). And, if all employees adopt this method, I am sure huge amounts of energy waste will be reduced.
#5. Go Paperless
“The greenest paper is no paper at all.”
– Vince Digneo, a sustainability strategist
Business reports, financial documents or contracts – these printed documents can contribute up to 90 % of office waste in America. This is why Digneo said to go digital whenever possible. With cloud storage services and digital pay stubs, the need for papers or even printers at the office has significantly reduced.
- Rather than storing papers in file cabinets, keep digital files on computers and mobile devices.
- Review digital documents on a screen instead of printing them out.
- Try to print as little as possible
- Set up automated payments which will reduce the need for printed checks
- Ask vendors to provide e-statements and invoices
The list is long and there are many more steps that need to be taken to have a green and eco-friendly office. If you find this article helpful, don’t hesitate to come back for part 2 and you can also share your comments below!