How to Reduce your Impact on The Planet – in your Office

In today’s day and age going green is more than just a marketing ploy; it’s a new way of getting things done responsibly. It’s a business edge for you – a method that you can take on to improve your company’s bottom line, while taking the initiative to act responsibly towards your customers, your employees and of course, the environment.

Sure at home, you’ve made sure that all of your old light bulbs have been swapped for the low energy-efficient ones, you’ve installed the environmentally friendly showerhead, you’ve made sure that your insulation and air-conditioner is up to speed with your current climate, and you’re eating local and organic food, plus of course recycling is now second nature.

Office recycling

That’s an excellent start, but how does someone scale his or her personal progress at home in being environmentally conscious up to the more complex structure of the workplace? After all, at home you have full control, but in your business setting there are going to be lots of different parameters that are involved: You have co-workers, customers and even possibly investors involved, and we all know that no-one is ever in a big hurry to change a traditional way of doing things! Taking sustainability into the workplace is going to be a long-term commitment, whether you are responsible for just two people in the workplace, or 2000.

The good news for the environmental business to-be, is that a green business is profitable, so you shouldn’t encounter too much resistance! So to help you get started, we’ve combined a list of a couple of specific things you can do to start paving the way for a greener workplace.

Step One: Share The Way To Work

Organising a carpool within your office can be a simple as just posting a note on your lunchroom notice board or in a newsletter. While the immediate benefits are pretty obvious – you reduce the impact on traffic while preserving finite energy resources – a carpool trip is a pretty great opportunity for some teambuilding as well. Take a look for a place to put a notice up, and think about some incentives for groups that can combine and sustain a carpool program.

Step Two: Shut It Down

It’s sad but true, but every night computers are displaying a screensaver to millions of perfectly empty office spaces around the world. While there is no doubt that it’s convenient to check emails within seconds of picking up a coffee in the morning, computer works pretty hard to produce a screensaver – about as much as creating a spreadsheet or any other routine task. This means that many office computers waste twice as much power while they’re idling as they do working! If you take a moment to shut down your computer at the end of the day you’ll save thousands of watts per year – and besides, desktop computers boot up fairly quickly nowadays, so think about taking the time to do something else productive while it boots!

Printed on recycled paper
photo credit: Nkululeko Masondo / Flickr

Step Three: Save On Paper

It doesn’t matter if you’re disposing of accidentally scanned documents or juggling the little scraps of paper that tend to build up like crazy around in office, cycling is a no brainer. Not only is it far kinder to the environment but if you have enough of it recycled paper may actually be a possibility to become a saleable commodity for larger offices and businesses.

It doesn’t matter if you can save on a couple of printer cartridges here and there or if you just make sure you send an email instead of printing something out – if you can take a small step to save some money here and there (while you’re saving the environment) you’re going to find that the benefits build up pretty quickly. Caring for the environment in your office isn’t something that should be hard, so make sure you enjoy it too.