7 Eco Friendly Office Ideas for Earth Day
Concern over climate change and the environment have moved millions of individuals to change their own personal homes, transportation, and consumption habits. The corporate world follows suit realizing that consumers and employees reward environmentally-conscious businesses.
Every organization can do its part for the Earth by utilizing environmentally friendly office supplies, green office design ideas, and eco friendly office cleaning, along with adopting the principles of sustainability, recycling and conservation. Adopt environmentally friendly office ideas in these seven areas to further the green office movement this Earth Day.
1. Use environmentally friendly office supplies and save paper
While most businesses cannot entirely banish paper, eco friendly offices should try to greatly curtail paper usage. Concentrate on going digital with electronic document management, PDF creation tools, and e-signatures. When you must print a document, make sure the printer is stocked with recycled paper and recycled ink. Print double-sided to cut paper usage in half.
Here are a few more ideas for environmentally friendly office supplies:
● Around the office, distribute recycled folders, ink pens, and notepads.
● In the kitchen, provide metal eating utensils and ‘real’ plates and bowls to avoid paper and plastic—or ask employees to bring their own.
● In the bathrooms, hang up air dryers or real towels for handwashing.
● Replace incandescent light bulbs to save $45 over the life of each energy saving bulb.
2. Rethink beverage stations for employees
Whether your organization provides a simple coffee pot in the lunchroom or an all-out hot and cold beverage station, it could probably be a lot more environmentally friendly. Implement sustainability by purchasing fair trade coffee and teas. Use recycled coffee filters and real mugs instead of styrofoam or paper cups. If your office building offers composting, you can even recycle used coffee grounds.
For cold beverages, focus on eliminating plastic and aluminum waste, because 91% of plastic does not get recycled and ends up in landfills and our oceans. Instead of employees consuming bottled water or cans of soda, give them a reusable stainless steel, glass, silicone or BPA-free nalgene bottle for cold beverages. Then let them fill up at a soda fountain and water coolers.
3. Adopt eco friendly office cleaning
Eco friendly office cleaning helps sustain a pleasant, non-toxic work environment for all of your employees. Many individuals have sensitivities to harsh chemicals, and toxins flushed down toilets and sinks eventually pollute the water supply. To adopt eco friendly office cleaning, contract with a green commercial cleaner who will use environmentally friendly janitorial supplies and cleaning methods.
4. Ask employees to conserve energy
When it comes to energy usage, every little bit helps. Ask employees to turn off lights and computers at the end of each work day. Better yet, leverage automation to ensure it. Smart sensors can identify usage patterns of offices, meeting rooms, and floors, so you can adjust smart thermostats. Sensors can also collect temperature, noise, light, air pressure and air quality for environmental monitoring.
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and rethink
Green offices must make every effort to minimize garbage creation and recycle refuse. Emphasizing the principles of the five R’s helps minimize waste. Recycle your office’s used paper, batteries, printer supplies, computers, mobile devices, furniture, glass and plastic. Create centralized recycling stations on each floor of the office. Create an online message board to help employees swap, donate and upcycle their used, unwanted items. Encourage employees to submit ideas for how to rethink and reuse older items in the office.
6. Purchase eco friendly office furniture
When you think about recycling, do you think about office furniture? Eco friendly office chairs, desks, tables and shelving units are created from recycled materials. Using mostly recycled material reduces the need for new wood, leaving trees in the forest and jungles where they belong. When you dispose of older office furnishings, arrange to recycle them.
7. Bring in the outdoors
When redesigning your office, make a conscious effort to bring elements of nature inside. And there are cost benefits, too. More natural light help lower your lighting and HVAC bills. It also reduces the number of employee sick days and boosts employee mood and productivity. In fact, 76% percent of employees state that natural light is important to them. Other soothing outdoor elements to lower office stress include plants and water features.
Make an eco friendly first (or 100th) step on this Earth Day
Celebrate the Earth by exploring the feasibility of these environmentally friendly office ideas. There are literally hundreds of ideas—both big and small—to create a greener, more eco-friendly office. You don’t have to redesign everything at once. Simply taking small steps today can lead your organization to the point of larger change later. Asure Software can aid your journey with workspace design consulting and smart sensors for workspace utilization and environmental monitoring.