People often stress the importance of a work-life balance. This is definitely something to strive for, but what about the balance between sustainability and profitability? How can you create an eco-friendlier office environment without overspending on seemingly frivolous affairs?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to create a more sustainable work environment while saving money in the long-run. These five tips are a great place to start, but feel free to tailor these initiatives to your employees, physical space, and company values.
These tips can also be applied on a smaller scale to your home office too!
#1 Conserve electricity
Lighting an entire office space uses up a lot of energy. But it’s not like you can ask your employees to work in the dark (seriously, you can’t).
Instead, try these two energy-saving hacks around the office:
- Natural light – Open the curtains wide and let in the beautiful natural sunlight. Turning off your artificial lights will reduce your energy use and electricity bills, plus natural light stimulates the brain’s serotonin production—this means happier employees!
- Motion sensors – If your office is large, there may be a lot of unused areas at any one time. With motion sensor switches, the lights will automatically turn off when no one’s around. That way, you’ll conserve energy without ever having to think about it.
#2 Remove single-use items
Your employees may love that the office kitchen is fully stocked with paper coffee cups, plastic cutlery, and single-use bowls. The earth, however, may feel a little differently.
Announce to the company that you’ll no longer be providing office-wide disposable dishware after a certain upcoming date. Let them know that they’ll have to start bringing their own insulated tumbler and water bottle if they’d like to continue using the break room coffee machine and water cooler.
This is also an easy way to declutter the office—added bonus!
#3 Office-wide recycling & composting
Work towards becoming a zero-waste office by committing to proper recycling and composting. This may be an adjustment for some companies, but you can help your employees along by making the new waste disposal system clear and straightforward:
- Clearly marked bins – Invest in a multi-compartment recycling bin with separate sections for trash, recycling, and green waste. Some companies make very stylish bins that won’t clash with your business’ interior design.
- Instructional signs – Put posters above the bins with graphics of what does and does not go in each compartment, especially as your employees are adjusting to the new system.
#4 Embracing digital assets
With today’s technology, there’s an entire world at our fingertips. Running an eco-friendly business requires taking advantage of everything your laptop, tablet, and smartphone has to offer.
Bringing your business into the 21st century can help with sustainability, too:
- Digital files – Send out meeting notes, marketing materials, and business plans via email instead of distributing paper copies. A physical copy provides no additional value and quickly ends up in the recycling (or, worse yet, the landfill waste).
- E-signatures – A quick client signature doesn’t require a physical copy either. Nowadays, you can use Adobe Acrobat to fill in forms and obtain signatures—perfect for contracts, agreements, and simple business documents.
- Email blasts – Replace your overly cluttered company bulletin boards with a daily or weekly email blast. That way, your employees won’t miss a single announcement and you’ll cut out yet another waste of paper.
#5 Fill the space with greenery
A little splash of greenery here and there is a great way to decorate the office and naturally filter the air. Plants absorb airborne pollutants and carbon in the air, making your space a healthier environment to work in.
Turning the rows and rows of sterile cubicles into something like a garden room office will improve company morale by creating a calmer, more natural atmosphere.
Factor sustainability into your annual budget
The only way to create a more environmentally-friendly office is by prioritising sustainability within your company’s structure.
To make a real difference, every employee has to commit to building a better future, but this starts with senior leadership. When you budget for the year, take these important considerations into mind.
Eco-friendly initiatives may have higher upfront costs, but they’ll actually contribute positively to your overall savings in no time—now that’s just good business sense.
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