How to Promote Sustainability in the Office

Lara Blanco

Lara BlancoHead of Customer Happiness

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Have you ever stopped to consider the impact your office might be having on the environment? From using paper to running electricity through the night to using plastics, your daily business activities might be causing more harm than you realize. By making a few small tweaks, you can significantly reduce your footprint. We’ve gathered 8 of the best tips to help you promote sustainability at the office.

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Reduce energy consumption

Do you know just how much electricity your appliances are burning when they’re not in use? Even on standby mode, your microwave, dishwasher, oven and television are using up power. According to Canstar, standby power contributes up to 10% of the average household electricity bill. If you want to make a difference to your environmental footprint and enjoy the extra savings on your electricity bill, encourage staff to get into the habit of turning appliances off at the wall after using them.

Choose more sustainable products

You may not have room in the budget for a complete product overhaul, but you can focus on the areas that have the biggest impact. A great place to start is to swap out your electronics, like printers, for more sustainable energy-saving options. Look out for green products like staple-free staplers and refillable pens. Cut down or eliminate products that have no green alternative, such as rubber bands. Switch traditional, chemical-filled cleaning products for eco-friendly ones and consult your office cleaners to get them on board too.

Encourage recycling

Introduce a recycling bin in your office kitchen and near the printer. Encourage employees to separate paper, cardboard, tins, plastic containers and glass recyclables from non-recyclables like food waste, food-tainted items, coffee cups, plastic bags, foil and more.

Go paperless

The greenest paper is no paper at all! Corrections to paper documents contribute to 90% off all office waste. A simple switch to digital can make a huge difference. Revisions, corrections and updates can all be done within cloud-based solutions like Google Drive, iCloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive. Another way to go paperless is by printing less in other areas; receiving bills via email and asking vendors to produce e-statements and digital invoices. By making the most of the latest technology solutions, your business will reduce its carbon footprint, improve efficiency and decrease clutter.

Introduce plants

Decorate the office with indoor plants to improve air quality and bring some natural beauty to your space. Encourage employees to bring their own desk plants. Naturally purifying plants include:

  • Spider plants
  • Aloe vera
  • Devil’s ivy
  • English ivy
  • Areca palm
  • Peace lilies
  • Snake plants

Encourage employees to make greener transport choices

While you can control sustainability inside the workplace, you can’t control whether your employees make sustainable choices outside work hours. But you can influence them to make better choices. One way to do this is to encourage ride-to-work days. This could happen on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis and could involve a pre-work coffee or breakfast meetup for everyone who rides to work on the same day. Additionally, you could encourage employees to walk if they live close to work, take public transport or carpool if they live in the same suburb.

Introduce work-from-home days

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians commute an average of 16km from home to work. Offering employees the option to work from home every now and then can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Make the most of web, video conferencing and messenger tools to keep your employees in the loop while they’re working from home.

Set monthly green challenges

Get your entire team on board with sustainability by setting monthly green challenges. For example, you could challenge employees to carpool or bike ride to work for a month or go an entire 30 days without using plastic eating utensils. Reward those who stick to the challenge with a gift voucher.

While making the switch to sustainability at work can be intimidating at first, it is possible. Take one step at a time and involve staff in the process to get them on board with the initiative too. By promoting sustainability at work, you’ll not only make a substantial difference to your office carbon footprint, but you’ll also educate staff to make better choices in the workplace and at home - that’s a win for everyone!

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