6 ways to make your workplace greener

Want to make your office a more eco-friendly environment? More and more businesses are adopting greener policies. Find out what you could be doing – it’s easier than you might think.

1. Unplug – save electricity by unplugging everything at the end of the day. During the day, only turn on things like photocopiers, scanners, etc. when you actually need them rather than letting them hum away in the background wasting energy and money. You can also encourage your team to adjust their computers to energy-saving settings. Further energy-saving tactics include turning off the lights whenever a room isn’t in use, or getting a motion-sensor timer for your lighting. You can go one step further and replace lighting with LEDs or energy-saving bulbs.

2. Go paperless – the more you do online, the less paper you use. Not only will you be doing the planet a favour, but your company can also save a lot of money over time by going paperless. Easy ways to do this include reviewing documents onscreen and making all of your internal and external communications digital. When you do need to buy paper, buy recycled paper, print on both sides of the page and use mis-prints as scrap notepaper. You can also recycle your printer cartridges.

3. Change your commuting habits – there are many ways in which you can make your commute to work greener. Instead of driving to work solo, consider car-pooling or using public transport. If you already use public transport, could you cycle to work or walk some of the way? Your office could even introduce a flexible working scheme. If for a few days a month everyone worked from home, that could save a lot of energy altogether.

4. Buy green office supplies – the list of green office supplies available is endless. Your office could be using recycled envelopes, pencils, and paper, as well as biodegradable cleaning materials and reusable pens. Save on paper towels and use fabric hand towels in the bathrooms instead. It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on the stationery cabinet and make sure nothing is being wasted. This might be an unpopular idea amongst your co-workers, but you could use any money saved to buy after-work drinks as an incentive to get everyone on board.

5. Ban plastic and paper cups in the office – disposable cups are a huge waste of resources. It works out better for the environment and the budget to buy everyone in the office a mug and a water bottle. Encourage your co-workers to use re-usable coffee cups for their commute, too. As a further incentive, most coffee shops now give discounts for using your own mug.

6. Get rid of the dress code – you’ll be surprised how much it can save on heating and air con in the office if you allow people to dress for the temperature instead of wearing suits or sticking to a strict ‘office wear’ dress code. Many offices are stuffy in winter and freezing in summer due to overzealous air-conditioning.