Sustainability is a key word for modern business.
However, a recent survey by Ipsos MORI revealed that even small and medium-sized enterprises “account for about half (50%) of UK business-based emissions and about one-third (30%) of current UK greenhouse gas emissions”. In short, the companies cut their work for them to help make the planet more clean, green and suitable for the future. A great starting point is looking at the changes that can be made in a place where business members can spend most of their time: the office.
Fortunately, there are some simple solutions that any firm can use to reduce the impact of their workplace on the environment and to achieve sustainable goals. Read our top tips to make the office more eco-friendly.
1. Hire a green guru
Above your head, you can probably name at least some office supplies that, if handled carelessly, can have a negative impact on the environment and waste valuable energy. Examples include plastic cups, paper waste, unused technology and inefficient machines. Many companies will similarly be less aware of the eco-friendly aspects, but will suffer losses for the time or strategies to deal with them.
That’s where the green gurus come from. These are sustainability consultants who can identify which of these areas of your workplace need improvement, how it can be achieved, and which can be prioritized.
What’s more, Green Gurus combines informative and proactive events with waste awareness-themed workdays, onsite management services, and similarly targeted training sessions for employers and employees. Waste management experts such as Bywaters claim: “Whether you own a boutique cafe or a Fortune 500 powerhouse, your green guru will help you reduce your company’s environmental impact and reduce costs.”
2. Go vegetarian
If there is a way to increase productivity and satisfaction at work, what will happen when you beat for the planet? That’s where a vegetarian office-diet comes in – even if tested for a month. It has been speculated that cutting down meat, fish and dairy products is the best way to reduce our joint carbon footprint – due to the fact that meat farming (especially beef) is responsible for most deforestation. Although it may draw some howls from some carnivorous animals, they may not be stubborn for long. After all, if management were to organize a communal vegan lunch, it would be foolish for hungry workers to pass it on.
The benefits of a vegetarian diet are not limited to being ethical and environmentally friendly – there are a number of positive health effects of plant-based going. A scheme that encourages workers to eat more lemons, nuts and seeds may provide workers with some special nutrients that can help them lose weight and even reduce their risk of heart disease.
3. Embrace hybrid work
Research shows that allowing workers to work from home, at least part of the time, can reduce potential nitrogen emissions – the main pollutants from car exhaust – by up to 10%, resulting in reduced weekly travel for employees. What’s more, according to the International Workplace Group: “Most studies have shown that home or local work results reduce the net [of emissions]With one suggestion it could be 77%. “
However, a proper balance should be struck between working from a distance and working in the office, as increasing the amount of work done at home increases the use of domestic energy. Reducing the company’s reliance on office electrical use from lights, computers and printers is also bound to fail if the office is half empty, as the same amount of power is still used. To get closer to it, employees set office usage days.
4. Go paperless
From time immemorial, workplaces have relied exclusively on paper – which grows on trees and we need as much as we can get! Yet it is not a matter of reducing the need for deforestation. Over the years, it has been found that having a real paper trail is actually much less efficient than relying on digital access to documents. Industry-wide measures have been taken to ensure pure security and data storage by relying on computer files.
E-signatures are also experiencing a growing general growth (the composite annual growth rate (CAGR) of the digital signature market is expected to be 29% for the next decade). Internal and external collaboration through online platforms is now the norm in most cases, and has encouraged banks to switch from paper statements to e-documents.
If you haven’t already done so, it not only saves a lot of paper and envelope usage, it also saves time and effort. In situations where paper is being used, close monitoring of the supply will ensure that it is being used efficiently, and employees are encouraged to limit the amount of paper that is wasted from workplace activities.