Many companies in recent years are working hard to develop green initiatives in the workplace, because our environment is in desperate need of a makeover. Greenhouse gas emissions rise each year and global warming is becoming an imminent issue. We must work together, both in and out of the office, to make a significant change. Greening offices is a great step toward achieving our long-term environmental goals. The question is, how is sustainability at work possible with such a large population to consider?
There are clear steps that companies can take on a larger, more innovative scale; as well as smaller initiatives that individual employees can do to get involved in sustainability and create significant change.
There are many green tips for the office, involving waste reduction, that can be fairly easy to implement. Recycling should be a number one priority, because it requires little effort for employees and little cost for the company. Bins should be set up around the office with clear labels to show which items should be separated and where. Visuals are helpful to make sure employees are separating their recycled waste accordingly.
Another significant waste consideration is paper use in the office, both in the kitchen and at printing stations. Companies can switch out disposable paper (and plastic) utensils and dishes, for reusable ones, to reduce waste and save a significant amount of money over time. Paper usage can also be reduced by printing only when necessary and printing double-sided whenever possible.
Supporting local businesses is an excellent way for corporate companies to establish green initiatives in the workplace, because keeping business local reduces the need for your products to travel long distances to get to you. On a larger scale, this can reduce carbon emissions.
Consider switching any and all of your company services to locally-owned businesses, whether that be catering, printing, office supplies, or anything else you may order online out of convenience.
Energy use in office spaces is one of the biggest forms of consumption. Finding ways to make sustainability at work possible, while making sure it doesn’t interfere with productivity, can seem challenging;however, all it requires is innovative thinking. When trying to conserve energy in the office, companies should analyze the building’s lighting fixtures first. Switching to LED lighting or other energy efficient lighting sources can provide a huge reduction in overall energy use.
Another way for companies to conserve energy, without making employees put in extra effort, is to enable sleep mode/power saving mode on computers and invest in smart power strips that automatically turn off unused equipment when a primary device, also being used on the power strip, is shut down.
In the process of greening offices around the country, reducing overall carbon footprint is the ultimate goal. You can get a sense of your company’s carbon footprint by using online calculators and then applying these measurements to decide what changes need to be made. Reducing waste and conserving energy, two suggestions mentioned above, will help your efforts. Another way to reduce your company’s footprint is to encourage carpooling and bike use as often as possible.
You can install bike racks at work to make the office a bike-friendly environment. Incorporating occasional remote work days can reduce commutes, as well.
The most important way to increase sustainability at work is to have a clear green mission for your company. Set realistic goals for employees and continuously track your efforts. As progress is made, employees will notice and feel motivated to continue implementing green initiatives in the workplace well into the future.