Achieving a sustainable office is all the rage these days, for multiple reasons. With the global efforts to curb global warming, every little counts. Moreover, some trends are beginning to take shape with more people joining in.
To achieve a sustainable office, however, you need to have a good plan and know what you’re doing. While some obvious bad habits can be addressed, there are other issues most people are unaware of.
Let’s start from the beginning.
1. Create a Sustainability Team
First of all, setting up your own sustainability team is a brilliant idea. Not only can it help educate the employees, but they can also enjoy themselves through a variety of workshops and brainstorming sessions.
Even people with EVs can go a step further. Namely, even though they may have home EV chargers, make them aware of the closest one to the office, or even provide one yourself.
Next on, consider installing solar panels. Depending on your location and the size of your office space, this option can prove to be both sustainable and affordable.
Smaller steps can be undertaken by every individual. E.g., everyone can ditch the disposables simply by bringing their favorite mug from home.
2. Make an Anti-Consumerist Mindset Your Goal
The biggest problem with the hectic times we live in is consumerism. All of us are “trained” to spend money even on things we don’t need, only because we want to be trendy. Just think about the excessive consumption leading to the latest model cars and unnecessary new smartphones.
Buying less and buying only the products we need is the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Look up some ideas and training materials online — many people are actually unaware of this glaring fact.
What companies can do to curb the practice is to consume less packaging, waste less and educate the workforce.
3. Be as Paperless as Possible
Paper usage seems to have become one of the main issues on the agenda, even though new technologies have eliminated the need to print everything. Still, you can take printers out of individual offices and encourage the employees to use quality email programs that eliminate the need to print out every single message.
4. Update to the Latest Equipment and Products
Think about investing in energy-saving equipment and recycled products if you can’t ditch all paperwork. The practice will help your workflow on top of helping the environment.
Needless to say, this step is somewhat expensive short-term, but it is certain to pay off in the long run. While some equipment cannot be altogether replaced, there are still various approaches to make them more eco-friendly nevertheless.
Here are some ideas:
- Replace traditional printers with multifunction ones to eliminate the need to use multiple machines for multiple purposes. Choose the ones with energy-saving features for best results.
- Refill used ink and toner cartridges.
- Print on both sides of a sheet.
- Buy green office supplies whenever possible. E.g., staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled.
- Use recycled paper.
- Use recycled plastic products when plastics cannot be replaced.
- Recycle used office supplies.
- Keep computers and monitors updated. Newer models are more energy efficient than older ones.
- Turn off computers when they’re not in use.
- Replace standard bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs (they use ca. 75% less energy than standard light bulbs!).
- Paint the walls of the office in light colors so that less lighting is needed.
- Use cloth towels or hand dryers instead of paper towels.
- Only use eco-friendly cleaning products.
5. Continue Learning
Continual learning is the best approach to solving just any kind of issue and sustainability isn’t an exception. Think about having a speaker come in to help present unique ideas. In addition, there are also online courses for teams applying a number of different training methods so as to be approachable to everyone. Look up the offer and choose the best plan.
Believe it or not, some “going green efforts” are trending. It is essential to keep informed at all times because new initiatives keep popping up and some of them may be promotional and beneficial long-term.
5. Bring Greenery Into the Office
Remember the small steps everyone can undertake that we’ve mentioned before? Bringing greenery into the office is a good example since everyone can do it and with ease at that.
The only thing you should consider here is which plants can thrive in the given environment. While every workspace has specific conditions, still some plants are easier to grow than others. Notable examples include devil’s ivy, snake plants, succulents, peace lily, jade plants, ZZ plants and bamboos.
Going green is, as you can see, a lifestyle. Even if everyone can start with small steps, the real challenge lies in adjusting to the new habits. It doesn’t have to be difficult or cumbersome in any way. Start small: encourage employees to bring a plant and their favorite mug, use eco-friendly materials, paint the workspace in bright colors to save up on energy consumption, etc.
Most importantly, make learning fun for everyone. You might be surprised how many of your employees might have brilliant ideas in this regard.