Making a few simple changes in your office can make it more sustainable. Any effort you and your colleagues make to reduce energy consumption, cut power usage, recycle materials and use sustainable products will have an effect on your company’s bottom line. The ideas and tips highlighted below will reveal some of the immediate steps you can take to create a more environmentally friendly office.
Minimize Paper Usage
Reducing the amount of paper you use has a tremendous impact on the environment. However, many businesses still use a substantial amount of paper for documentation, daily transactions, and internal correspondence. You should cut down on paper usage by making at least 90% of your internal correspondence electronic. Instead of making printed copies of all vital documents for meetings or printing out minutes and circulating printed memos, put all important documents on a shared drive or network server so everyone can view them during a meeting. Apart from minimizing printed documents, you should also encourage everyone to digitise their to-do lists. Smartphone apps for this purpose are now available on both Android and iPhone devices. These apps will help you to make quick notes, schedule events/appointments and receive alerts that will help you to stay on track. But if you must use hand-written notes, a dry-erase board will be more sustainable than using scores of sheets to plan every month.
Collaborating with other team members using cloud storage technologies is one of the best ways to reduce paper use. You no longer need to maintain a file folder or ledger, filled with papers, to achieve your goals. Cloud services are quite reliable and you can use them to replace printed work documents with digital versions.
Any member of your team can work on a document, update it in real time, and save the new version for everyone to see. As you all get used to this method of collaborating, your dependence on printed paper will gradually diminish. You can easily review documents now with a tablet and send emails or chat live with your co-workers. You may even go a step further to start sending digital invoices in PDF format.
Use Green Office Supplies
The green movement is gaining momentum among most major producers and suppliers of office supplies. You will discover that virtually everything you buy for your office, from ink and toner to paper, pens, cleaners and cloth towels, now have recycled or biodegradable versions. You simply need to make a request or check the packaging to ensure that you are using an environmentally friendly product.
For instance, instead of purchasing more expensive OEM ink or toner cartridges for your office printer, you can opt for recycled or compatible cartridges, which are made from biodegradable plant materials. Using such cartridges will save you cost and also help you to preserve the environment. Similarly, using recycled paper, which cost less to make than virgin paper, offers you more opaque paper that you can use for effective double-sided printing.
Reduce Energy Consumption
You can cut down on your carbon footprint by reducing your energy consumption. Adopting energy efficient work practices in your office will not only reduce your carbon footprint, it will also reduce your energy bills and make your business more profitable. The major ways to reduce energy consumption include: switching off unused appliances, putting out lights, using energy efficient gadgets and managing your heating and cooling systems effectively. Keeping unused appliances plugged into your mains supply will continue to draw power and raise your bills due to hidden power usage. Many appliances have a stand by mode and can consume up to 15 to 20 watts while they are idle. This is very common with printers and chargers for tablets and smartphones.
Next, you should take definite steps to put off all lights including overhead lamps when you don’t are not using them. Lighting is a major energy consumer so you should encourage all workers to use it with discipline. You may install motion sensors that will automatically put off the lights when no one is in the office. In addition, you should use the most energy efficient LED lighting for your office and check the power rating and energy star rating of any office gadgets you want to purchase. As much as possible, replace your old devices with new models that are designed with a low energy rating.
You can make your workplace more environmentally friendly by applying the simple ideas provided here. In addition to making your office more sustainable, you will also improve your company’s bottom line and motivate your co-workers to protect and preserve the environment for the coming generation.