In the last decade, we have seen many changes affect office spaces, from modernized communications practices to ergonomic furniture and supplies. It’s been a growing trend to make office buildings and spaces more conducive to productivity and happiness for employees, but it’s also becoming a popular practice to greenify our workplaces, both as individuals and corporations.
Eco-friendly Office Employee Practices
As an employee, you only have a certain amount of control over your work space and how you spend your time there. However, what you do can have a big impact on how green your office is by encouraging others to follow your lead and by showing them just how much difference one person can make.
As an individual, you can:
- Send documents via email, instant messaging, or a document sharing application instead of printing.
- Turn off your computer and office lights at the end of each day.
- Use energy saving settings on your computer.
- Bring your own lunches and reusable dishes/cutlery.
- Print double-sided documents when printing is necessary.
- Recycle bottles, papers, plastics, and organics.
Eco-friendly Office Changes
It can be harder for businesses to make themselves green, especially in older buildings or rented office spaces where you can’t always control your surroundings. You can still make changes within your business that will help to reduce your impact on the environment, and that may even improve employee happiness at the same time.
Try things like:
- Ordering fair trade coffee instead of the usual.
- Replacing lightbulbs around the office with energy efficient bulbs.
- Using or requesting eco-friendly cleaning products.
- Providing employees with reusable water bottles.
- Storing online records instead of paper ones.
- Buying recycled paper and office supplies.
- Providing reusable dishes in the office kitchen, as well as mugs and utensils.
- Setting aside recycling stations in the office.
You can also improve your workplace culture, employee retention, and environmental friendliness by considering:
- Flexible work hours that allow your employees to avoid rush hour traffic, therefore reducing their commute time and carbon footprints.
- Work from home options, even for just one or two days of the week, so that your office uses less resources, and so that your employees use less gas.
- Transit passes for employees.
Eco-friendly Options for Building Owners
As a building owner, you have the most control over how green the actual commercial building is. Whether it’s a small one-business space, or a large office building, you can make changes and improvements that could save you money in the future, all while making your property better on the environment in the long-term.
Potential upgrades and improvements include:
- Solar panels to produce more efficient energy.
- Windows that open, to allow air circulation and natural temperature control.
- Eco-friendly building materials.
It’s also possible to make a positive impact on the environment by re-examining your products and the processes you follow to create them. By sourcing different materials, local manufacturers, or even by exploring eco-friendly versions of your products, you can become a greener business.
Some changes may cost more to implement in the beginning, but market trends are leaning towards green products, services, and businesses. Since consumers often seek out eco-friendly options to purchase over their regular counterparts, you may just increase your profitability and even the sustainability of your business in the long term.
Products, practices, and upgrades aren’t the only way to give your business a green edge. Consumers tend to prefer products that give them more bang for their buck, which means that you can get a step above your competition while building a reputation for being a green business.
There are a number of ways to start building an eco-friendly reputation, and most of them are fairly simple. Your options include:
- Purchasing carbon offsets for your business.
- Planting trees for every purchase.
- Supporting charities and making donations to green non-profits based on sales.
- Investing in environmental research projects within your industry.
- Holding or participating in local events.
The Lean to Green
As a business owner, not only is supporting the environment a positive action to take overall, it’s also something that supports future market trends. If you make a point of heading in the same direction of your customers, you may very well increase the longevity and stability of your business.
You may also experience the added benefits of happier, healthier employees that choose to work for your business because of your commitment to environmental sustainability. Going green is something that any individual can feel good about. Why not you?
What have you done to make your business or office more environmentally friendly?