Following the success of this year’s official “Green Office Week” in May, we are revisiting the easy steps you can take to create more environmentally friendly working surroundings for your staff. There are several aspects of the business that you have complete control of, and these will have an influence on your approach to creating a greener office and will help save money.
Get Everyone Involved
- Communicate with employees to let them know your aims and plans
- Hold regular meetings so money saving ideas can be shared
- Put together a calendar of national environmental days and weeks throughout the year, to encourage all staff to get involved in making a difference
Create an Environmental Action Plan
- Designate responsibility between team members to encourage involvement
- Use your Environmental Action Plan as a checklist of what you have to complete in order to become ‘greener’ – every job ticked off is a step closer to the goal!
Reuse and Recycle
- Before you recycle, are you able to reuse office materials first? Think about using both sides of paper when printing and taking notes
- Look into your local recycling schemes, including kitchen waste, printer ink cartridges, cardboard, paper and more!
Bad waste practices are costing UK businesses at least £15billion per year!
Reduce Stationary and Equipment
- Encourage staff to share stationary and to order refills rather than brand new items each time you make a stationary order
- Consider sacrificing convenience by sharing printers, scanners and other IT equipment across departments to save electricity
- Encourage staff to print double sided to reduce the amount of unnecessary paper used.
Add a new feature in the corporate email signature, encouraging recipients not to print the emails you send them.
Use Water Wisely
- From making a round of tea, to washing your hands, a great deal of water can be saved in commercial buildings…
- Only boil enough water for the number of drinks you are making
- Consider changing your toilets to modern dual-flush models, which can save up to five litres of water per flush!
The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries, yet we use approximately 150 litres of water each, per day.
Reduce Electricity Expenditure
- Do lights need to be switched on in all areas of the office all day? Switch them off when they are not needed to ensure to making savings on energy bills
- Encourage staff to switch off monitors when away from their desks, and to switch off any unused plug sockets
- Take time when comparing energy suppliers, to make sure that you are using a green energy supplier
Cutting Unnecessary Travel
- Meet with staff to discuss greener ways in which they could commute to work, including car shares, public transport, cycling and walking. Try offering an incentive to anyone who tries new options, for example a train season ticket
- Could any of your offsite meetings be done via wide conferencing technology in order to reduce car and train journeys?
Eco-Friendly Suppliers and Products
- Aim to favour eco-friendly suppliers and products
- Using locally sourced suppliers will also reduce the carbon footprint of your deliveries
If you are able to tackle all of these areas, you will be well on your way to achieving Corporate Social Responsibility! Being eco friendly needs to be considered in the workplace in order to create a sustainable future and a positive working environment, where all staff are able to make a difference.
For those looking to formalise their green efforts, there is an internationally recognised standard for environmental standards called ISO 14001. Office Test Ltd., a health and safety consultancy, commented on the benefits of implementing the standards,
“…Internally we run a better office because of the changes we’ve made, everyone’s clear on the procedures around energy saving, so it’s definitely helped us.” – Mandy Mckeown.