Some workplaces are greener than others. Maybe yours is paperless but not super energy efficient. Or perhaps you use recycled paper but still provide plastic water cups. Becoming a sustainable office takes time, practice and initiative, but it’s a perfectly achievable goal. In fact, many sustainable steps are both simple and easy to implement.
Why Sustainability Matters at Work
Around half of all workers, and 75% of millennials, would take a pay cut to work for a more sustainable company. Almost 40% of millennials have accepted a job because of the company’s commitment to sustainability
Employees who work in offices with natural elements, such as potted plants and windows that let in lots of sunlight, tend to be more productive and creative. They also experience higher levels of overall well-being, reports Human Spaces, compared to employees working in offices without natural elements.
Sustainable workspaces can lead to fewer sick days, which can help you save money while improving worker health and job satisfaction.
Ways to Make Your Office Greener
Green offices leave less of an environmental footprint. They may use recycled or green building materials in their construction; incorporate energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; go paperless or use recycled paper. They may store documents digitally, bring in plants, switch from desktop computers to more efficient laptops, and take advantage of natural light.
Here are five more ways you can make your office a little greener.
1. Begin a Switch-Off Campaign
Leaving lights on overnight contributes to energy waste and higher energy bills. Enlist staff to switch off lights and power down equipment at the end of the workday or install timers. You can also have them adjust the temperature and power down TVs, printers, photocopiers and other equipment. Use stickers or posters for reminders, and offer incentives like a luncheon or a party to celebrate a lower energy bill.
2. Replace Disposables
Swap out disposable kitchenware like coffee cups, utensils, coffee stirrers and paper plates for inexpensive washable items. Sugar packets and individual creamers can be replaced with more economic and sustainable canisters. Eliminate the need for plastic cups at the water cooler by providing employees with reusable bottles.
3. Go for a Green Restroom
Encourage water-saving practices in the restroom with signage and equipment swaps. Use recycled water if possible, install low-flow toilets and sink aerators, and use motion-sensor faucets to prevent waste. Opt for a hand dryer to curb paper towel waste.
4. Establish a Remote Work Policy
If feasible, grant employees opportunities to work remotely. Having fewer people in the office can improve your building’s energy efficiency, and, not to mention, it plays a large role in reducing traffic and emissions. Workers have been shown to be more productive, less distracted and more engaged when they’re in the office if they have remote opportunities.
5. Appoint a Green Team
Appointing a group of employees to start green initiatives and implement changes can help you achieve your sustainable office goals. Consider holding green challenges and contests to encourage employees to share inventive ways to be more sustainable. Additionally, green training is an excellent topic for office lunch and learns.
Switching to a sustainable office can be difficult at first. Ingrained office habits like leaving lights or devices on, for instance, can take time to unlearn. But by taking these small steps, you can begin to transform your office into a greener place to work.
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