A lot of focus in recent years has been on making the office space eco-friendlier. A commitment to sustainability and environment-friendly office policies is expected by employees as well as clients, as more people want to conduct business with companies whose values align with their own. Younger workers and consumers, especially, expect eco-friendly practices from companies. Various surveys over the last few years have found that millennials are the most likely to choose jobs because of sustainability and, in some cases, would not consider jobs at companies that don’t place high value on sustainability and social responsibility.
Making an office eco-friendlier does not have to be an overwhelming task. Businesses that are looking for ways to adopt some “green” practices can start with simple changes that make a big difference. Consider 4 easy ways to make the office eco-friendlier that absolutely anyone can do.
Research has estimated that as much as 30% of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. While virtually no business can work without computers, devices, and electronics that are energy-demanding, being conscious of how much energy is being used in a typical day will alert you to how much is also being wasted. Even when your devices are not in use, they are still using standby power. Making a habit of unplugging your computers and printers and other wired devices can save a lot of energy over the course of a year.
Relying on natural light whenever possible will save energy and reduce utility bills. When natural light is not an option, consider lower-energy light bulbs, motion-sensor switches, and smart thermostats that generate illumination and heating/cooling only when someone is actually there to benefit from them.
Disposable is out; reusable is in again. Due to all the virus concerns over the last few years, some single-use items became practical for reducing contagion, but reusable items can be hygienic and can greatly eliminate waste. Replacing paper towels with washable cloth towels for cleaning, disposable coffee cups with reusable mugs, and plastic water bottles with reusable water bottles are very simple steps toward reducing waste and saving money. Compostable and recyclable office products are often available when reusable is not an option.
Get rid of outdated (energy-wasting) printers and replace them with energy-efficient equipment. When you do print, use recycled paper and print office documents on both sides whenever possible. A wide variety of sustainable office supplies are available at office supply stores online, so taking the time to research the ones that are right for your business will save money in the long run and be greatly appreciated by colleagues and clients.
How your employees get to work will be decided by them, but encouraging ride sharing, carpooling, and public transportation where available will reduce overall emissions. Depending on the location of your business, it might be helpful to install a bike rack that can be used by those employees who live close and are also concerned about the carbon footprint.
Offering remote working options on some or all days reduces employee commuting as well as increasing employee satisfaction and retention. It also reduces the energy needed in the office for temperature control, water usage, and lighting, all of which make up a substantial amount of used (and wasted) energy.
A lot of paperless options are available to small businesses. Taking advantage of online bill pay options and online services can reduce the amount of paper your office consumes. Cloud storage for documents is a convenient way to create, share, and store reports, records, and presentations. Taking advantage of paperless marketing—such as email, blog posts, social media, digital ads, and videos—is a cost-effective way to go paperless and still reach thousands of people.
Online services for accounting and administration can complete a lot of tasks, including paying taxes, without leaving a cluttered paper trail. When electronic payments are not a practical or secure option, Checkeeper can do the paperwork for you by printing and mailing each paper check on your behalf so that your office does not have to store large quantities of paper, envelopes, and printer ink.
While your business develops a plan to become an eco-friendlier environment, solicit input from employees and customers to get the best and most practical ideas for the improvements they would like to see.