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If you’re thinking about making your office a more sustainable space, then you’ve probably already been faced with the looming question of where to start! Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to make your office greener, and we’re going to help you out! Sustainable changes should be made with your office’s circumstances in mind, in order to maximize your positive impact, so read through our list of a few easy things that can help you to improve sustainability in your office, and see where you can maximize your impact.
1. Make it a Team Effort!
There’s one thing that all of the science and research behind environmental change agrees on– everyone can make a difference. And a lot of people are! When you’re working on making your office a more eco-conscious space, one of your first steps should be to chat to your employees and peers and see if they are already considering the environment in their daily lives. Some may even be so passionate about the project that they provide you with some ideas of their own! Better yet, you can learn what changes they’d like to see in the office which will help keep them engaged and committed to your efforts!
Some things you might hear from the people you work with may involve making their own personal environmentally-friendly changes easier to stick with in the office! If your employees are already using reusable water bottles, consider asking where they’re refilling those bottles and how you can improve that experience. Some folks might be bringing in their own lunches from home, so you might consider whether or not there are facilities for heating up, storing, and cleaning their containers or utensils.
2. Get Familiar With Your Current Standard!
If you want to make the most of your eco-conscious efforts, you first need to identify your current impact on the environment. Like we mentioned previously, one great way to do this is to chat to your peers and employees to see what they are already doing in their own time. You should also consider looking in depth into the kind of waste your office creates and in what quantities, how much electricity you use during work hours and especially when your office is closed. Once you know how your current operations impact the environment, you’ll be able to see what areas are primed for change!
3. Refocus Your Supply Chain!
One of the best ways that you can ensure that your office is working towards reducing negative environmental impact is refocusing your supply chain. This may not necessarily mean finding all-new suppliers, but consider looking into the environmental impact of your current suppliers or any greener options that they may have. If your current suppliers don’t have green options or their current environmental stats don’t stack up to your liking, it may be time to consider choosing new suppliers that share your environmental ideals.
A lot of businesses are focusing on providing greener versions of their services or have built their business models around specifically providing the same services as other businesses, but in a more environmentally friendly way. Try to get creative with what you’re updating in your supply chain; compostable business cards might not be such a bad idea after all!
4. Go Paperless!
Speaking of supplies, how much paper does your office use? Using less paper, specifically going paperless, is a great way to reduce office waste. It can sometimes seem like offices rely on paper, but especially after the COVID-19 pandemic businesses have been able to adapt to entirely online-based communication without much trouble. Along with email, platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, and WeTransfer have made online communication easier than ever, and some even have options that are optimized for business and productivity.
If moving to online communication and information sharing doesn’t seem beneficial for your office, but you still want to minimize the amount of paper you waste, then you might consider what paper products your office uses that can be reused instead of thrown away. While the term “paper” usually does refer to plain white printer paper, paper waste can contain file folders, binders, cardboard boxes, sticky notes, and other typical office supplies. If you’ve found that your office is wasting a lot of paper supplies, you should consider incorporating a reuse system in your office. This might mean setting a standard for reusing supplies wherever possible, or adjusting any current guidelines that might advise against reusing or prioritise the use of new supplies over old ones.
5. Work With What You Have!
It may seem like the best way to improve the environmental impact of your office is to change up everything, and that’s an admirable goal! But it can sometimes make more waste to replace everything you have, even if your replacements are more sustainable options. Some sustainable replacements you might be considering are LED bulbs, reusable pens, and eco-conscious cleaning products, but you should be considering how many light bulbs, pens, and cleaning wipes you already have in stock before you go about revamping your supply closet. While environmental action needs to happen as soon as possible, throwing away what you already have ends up being more wasteful, and could be more harmful.
Working with what you have also means working with the environment that your office is already in. If your office is in an area with a litter problem, you might consider setting up a litter picking team within your office, or hiring a team on to clean up the area for you. Not only does this improve the health of the environment around you, it also makes the area surrounding your office more beautiful. If you want to take the appearance of your office’s exterior to the next level, consider incorporating some local flora to spruce up the surrounding area, while also contributing to maintaining your local biosphere.
Is That All I Need to Do?
The truth is, until everyone is doing the work to combat climate change and improve the environment, there will always be more work to be done. However, using even just one of the ways we’ve listed here will make a big difference, and start your office on the way to being a leader in positive environmental work. Becoming a more eco-conscious office isn’t just a benefit for the environment, it benefits you, your employees, and your profits!