Making your office just a little bit greener is not only a great way to contribute towards a more sustainable and healthier planet, but it can also give your business a boost, creating a whole new point of differentiation. As the impact we are having on our environment becomes a bigger concern across the globe, it is more important now than ever to take a sustainable approach not only at home, but also within our workplace. We spend a massive portion of our week at work, so it only makes sense any green habits we have at home should also be transferred to our work environments.
Creating sustainable workplaces doesn’t need to be a huge task as, thankfully, there are many ways, big and small, that we can make a difference without having to spend a lot of time or money. Having a green office space will not only make a positive change to the business, but it will give employees a much-needed boost. A recent Harvard study found the way in which our offices are designed not only plays a huge role when it comes to our professional lives, but it also has a positive effect on our well-being.
Turn Off The Switch
Without even thinking about it, offices can quickly become a place where a lot of energy is used absent-mindedly. When you have a small business, every penny counts and reducing your electricty and energy use helps your pocket, as well as the planet. It should be a no-brainer, but how often do you leave a meeting without thinking of switching the lights off? Or leave your computer on stand-by at the end of the day?
Remembering to turn off any lights when you’re not using them is a simple way to quickly reduce your energy bill and save the planet, but you could also make some worthwhile investments into automatic lights which switch off after a certain amount of time of inactivity. You could also change your computer settings to ensure your computer goes into hibernation mode rather than switching to a screensaver.
Promote a Healthy Working Environment
If your office is located within a bustling city center or busy factory, warehouse or distribution center, promoting a healthy working environment is really important. Surprisingly, these working environments can suffer from poor air quality due to high pollution levels, both inside the building and the environment outside, but thankfully there are some things you can do to improve this.
Natural light and air ventilation improvements can vastly enhance the quality of the air within a workplace, so it may be worth getting a professional in to consider the options available to you. Whether it is installing skylights in a dark and dingy office space or getting ventilation systems added into a busy factory area, there are many ways in which you can enhance the space where your employees work.
Use Renewable Energy Resources
If you use a lot of energy in the day-to-day running of your workplace, then it may be cost efficient to use renewable energy resources. Adding solar panels to heat your water or generate your electricity is a well-known way of using renewable energy resources, but have you considered any of the other options?
Wind and geothermal energy can be hugely beneficial if you have the required access and can cut down costs so as to reduce your carbon footprint. Wind energy is one of the most popular sources of renewable energy in the UK and there are now specialist energy providers who offer only renewable energy, particularly for business use. If you have a large factory operated area, then this may be an option for you to look at in order for you to create a more energy efficient warehouse environment.
Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
As well as being generally less destructive, biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning products help to save the planet and can even save your business money in the long run. Biodegradable cleaning products also have the benefit of being less damaging to the health of your employees who work in close proximity to where the products are being used.
Mass produced cleaning products often come in plastic packaging and, if you look closely at the product labels, will see that many of them are actually harmful to aquatic animals, wildlife and are pollutants. There are now many companies who stock eco-friendly cleaning bottles and send out refillable tabs every few weeks which you can then use without the need for plastic. The products come in small tabs which then dissolve when mixed with water in the cleaning bottle.
Buy Recycled Paper
One of the simplest ways for your business to become greener is to switch the type of paper you use. As is most often the case with eco-friendly products, recycled paper may be a little more expensive than non-recyclable paper but the long term financial and environmental benefits far outweigh not using it.
Take advantage of any green business opportunities which may also be good for your office culture. Many employees have their own sustainable aims and environmental conscience, so are likely to respond positively to using any products they know will support environmentally-friendly practices. You could also look at getting rid of paper or plastic cups which are used for coffee machines or water coolers and use any waste paper as note paper. Every little bit helps.
Author Bio: Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer with a particular focus on sustainability and eco-friendly living. Whether you’re looking for a new meditation method or some facts on plastic pollution, she’s your girl! When not writing, Natalie can be found heading to the gym or walking her dog. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.