There are many reasons to encourage a sustainable office environment. Sustainable practices will lower costs by reducing energy usage and boost the bottom line. It can also attract customers that are looking to do business with mindful brands and even improve the health and productivity of your staff. Check out these five different ways to promote sustainability in your office.
The digital revolution has created the possibility for offices to go completely paperless, or at least substantially reduce their use. In the United States, the average worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Add to this the fact that 30% of printed jobs are never picked up from the printer and 45% of printed paper finds its way to the waste bin on the same day. With all this waste, there is plenty of room for offices to take action. First, think before you print, read on screen, and only print when necessary. When you do have to print, make it count by using both sides of the page and by choosing recycled paper.
Since the 1970’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, or the 3 R’s, has helped drive environmentally minded individuals and organizations to achieve sustainability. Today, we can continue to do our part to push our organization to be more sustainable by rethinking everyday activities. For instance, instead of single-use cups or cutlery, offices should invest in reusable mugs and utensils. Also, organizations should also challenge workers to think about what they discard, and how those items can be repurposed. Collect single-sided printed paper to be refashioned into notebooks or scratch pads. Lastly, join local recycling efforts to recycle old electronics including monitors, printers, computers, and cables.
The list of energy consuming products in an office can seem never-ending. Offices should encourage workers to turn off devices, lights, and other energy consuming equipment when not in use. But more importantly, install energy efficient lighting systems including motion activated sensors. Conduct a heating and cooling audit to ensure the maximum efficiency of the HVAC system. Make sure all computers are operating as energy efficient as possible (there’s a setting for that), and disable screensavers to ensure monitors go to sleep. Lastly, whenever possible, take advantage of natural sunlight – it’s free!
According to the latest statistics, 4.3 million employees now work from home or telecommute. With nearly 50% of the workforce holding jobs that are compatible with some degree of telecommuting, employers should encourage telecommuting to reduce transportation-related pollution, reduce the need for office space and consumables, and increase productivity and flexibility. According to surveys, telecommuters have higher levels of morale, improved retention rates, and improved productivity.
To be sustainable, organizations should use sustainable office supplies and suppliers. From copy paper to bathroom tissue, smart businesses think about every purchase and where those purchases come from. As the demand for sustainable office supplies increases, the costs of those products are becoming more affordable and available. Pens, paper, furniture, and more have eco-friendly options that cost virtually the same.
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