Environmentalism is a very popular topic within our society today. People rightly care about their local and global communities and want to see a better and cleaner place for all to live.
Let’s face it, we spend the majority of our time at work or in and around the workplace. It’s not good enough to only make the necessary changes for the better within your household, they must be enacted in every aspect of your life.
It's not just about recycling and reusing around the office, but how to make the office a cleaner and healthier place through thinking about the environment and sustainability.
“But how can I get my colleagues on board with me?” You might ask. Or if you’re a manager your pressing question might be how to implement the changes so that they effectively trickle down throughout the company or establishment.
Here are some helpful ways of ensuring that everyone does their bit towards making our communities and offices a greener place.
Create a Contest or Monthly Challenges
What better way to rein in this new era of Eco-friendliness in your office than spurring on some healthy competition? Keeping tallies among colleagues who remember to turn the lights off, who brings reusable containers and cutlery to work, or even who travels to work in the most environmentally friendly way.
Dishing out points for each mindful act will eventually add up and handing out prizes such coffee gift cards or a free meal at the end of each month to those with the highest number of points will have everyone getting in on the fun!
Or even better, harness the human capital you already have and encourage your employees to take on the task themselves. Highlight some of the issues you would like to address and see who comes up with the best ideas and also reward and acknowledge their contributions to the company.
Make Informed Choices When Purchasing Office Supplies
Don’t waste your money on supplies that you know will end up in the trash bin within the week. Recycled paper products, Eco-friendly pens, staple-free staples, non-toxic cleaning agents are just a few ideas.
All of these things will soon be the norm within the office environment, especially considering the number of corporations that are switching to Eco-friendly policies. These products won’t cost you a fortune and are built to be sustainable, so they won’t need frequent replacing in the future.
The age of the classic A4 sheet is coming to an end. Most of our writing is now done electronically and whether we like it or not we are tumbling inexorably down a paper-free path.
Strictly allocating your meetings as being paper-free is recommended but even turning up to others meetings with only your laptop or tablet to take notes on is better than nothing.
You may even soon discover the advantages of recording all your notes electronically – no amount of rain, spills, or misplacement can ruin them due to easy automatic back-ups. And these electronic devices can also record audio as well, so if you miss any important points you can review the meeting at a later time.
Turn Off Computers and Lights
It’s not uncommon for someone to be unaware that they are host to the nasty habit of leaving their computer on after use; it just seems so natural, convenient – like second nature. We often don’t even associate them with electricity sucking electronics!
Turning off everything we use once we are done with it is essential to being sustainable. If you are the last person to leave the office, be sure to check that everything has been switched off and isn’t just left on standby.
Or ask your nightly cleaning crew to hit the power buttons on lights and electronics on their way out the door.
Have Recycling Bins Easily Available
Yes, it's the most obvious but are you or your office doing so? Though not everyone is going to follow the rules, at least having the option to do so is a must and a step in the right direction.
Or think on a smaller scale by putting small empty boxes under the desks and use it to put paper and other recyclables to take home themselves. Just let your cleaning people know not to throw it away.
And before you recycle that paper, how about reusing it first? Cut the paper in half or even quarters, attach together with a couple of staples or clips and you have a handy notepad to take notes during phone calls or impromptu cubicle gatherings.
Stocking offices, cafeterias, and lobbies with recycling bins for both dry and wet recyclables is highly recommended. Even having a specific area where you can dispose of your glass waste is all conducive towards a healthier and cleaner office environment.
Make Use of Natural Light
Open up the curtains, blinds shutters, whatever it is that you use and let that sunlight shine in! Saving money and the environment with just one simple change.
Not only is utilizing natural light good for the environment it is also fantastic for the mental well-being and contentment of workers. Unnatural lighting is known to lead to headaches and migraines, it simply doesn't suit us humans to be under light bulbs for long periods of time.
We can all relate to the feeling of being cooped up and stuffiness that unnatural lighting can cause during the day time. So, why not brighten the place up? Letting the light shine in may even have positive effects such as increased creativity and productiveness – because who doesn’t feel better when the sun is shining?
Or invest in lighting that mimics natural sunlight. Sometimes referred to as sunlight bulbs, or as full spectrum light bulbs, they are specially designed LED bulbs that emit light relative to the visible section of the solar spectrum. They produce small amounts of ultra violet and infrared rays to imitate the suns light.
LED light bulbs are also energy efficient, last longer and are safer for the environment when it comes time to dispose of them.
Add Some Green to Your Office
Now that you’ve let some light in, you can put it to good use! There are really no downfalls to having a few plants placed throughout the office.
They look good, they are calming and they provide us with clean air. We risk going an 8-hour day without seeing a single shade of natural green and that’s simply not conducive towards healthy living.
A plant is a constant reminder of the outside world, not only will it induce calming effects, it will also lead to more awareness about the environment. We simply can't forget about it by leaving it shut up outside. So, place a variety of plants on the windowsills or next to the water container – you’ll not regret it.
Don't Throw Away Liquids
That left-over morning coffee, soda from lunch or the partial bottle of water your client left should not find it's way into the trash can or landfill.
Dump the liquid and ice out first, then recycle the container; this way you can “kill two birds with one stone”. You save precious water that can be retreated and reused, and you also eliminate paper cups and plastic bottles from the landfill.
An Eco-friendly office is easily achievable and is necessary to combat the harmful effects of our everyday life. A green establishment is the establishment of the future. Showing your clients or potential customers that you care about the environment showcases your company’s integrity and social responsibility when it comes to the workplace and our communities.