Sustainability is the hot topic of the moment. Recently, the world has somewhat woken up to the negative impact that modern life is having on our planet; be that plastic usage, energy consumption and global warming. With all the talk of being ‘greener’, consumers and businesses the world over are making conscious changes to take responsibility and put their best foot forward.
If you are a small business and run an office, you might have some sustainable initiatives in place already – but there’s always room for improvement. After all, a minor 20% reduction in energy costs can add the same benefit as a 5% increase in sales for a business. If you’re looking for some new ways to do your bit in helping the planet, here’s eight simple tips on running a ‘greener’ office from INUI…
Ditch the desktops
If you use desktop computers in your office, make the switch to laptops. There are countless benefits to them. For starters, they are much more environmentally friendly. They actually consume up to 80% less electricity than desktop computers and unlike desktops, they can be unplugged and ran on their battery power. Just ensure that they are properly powered down and unplugged at the end of the working day. They also give your workforce the freedom to work anywhere; from home, from the coffee shop down the road or on the train. With less people on the road travelling to offices, comes less carbon emissions. Similarly, technology means that we no longer have to travel around attending meetings and using unnecessary fuel. Dialling into meetings using platforms such as Skype means that more work can be done remotely.
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
How old are the appliances in your office? When first kitting out your new office space, you might have been guilty of picking up the cheapest kettle, microwave and dishwasher that you could find. Although this was great for the bank balance, your appliances might be using a lot of energy with not an awful lot of output. Although upgrading your appliances to more energy efficient versions might initially be more expensive, you’ll be looking at smaller bills in the long run and of course, less energy usage. Plus, you are your team will be able to enjoy new, faster and more productive products. Win, win!
Support local & sustainable
You might provide your team with coffee, tea and milk to keep them going throughout the working week. Perhaps you even buy in some snacks and fruit. If you don’t already, make sure you do your research and buy sustainably sourced products for your office. Not only this, but seek out local businesses to buy from if possible. Being a small business yourself, you probably understand the importance of supporting other small businesses. Not only will you be helping them to thrive but you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint too.
See the light
One of the easiest wins when it comes to running a ‘greener’ office is to switch to LED light bulbs. Lighting can drain as much as 35% of the average businesses electricity consumption, so it’s one of the best places to start in reducing your energy costs. LED bulbs are not only super energy efficient but they last an impressive 8 to 10 times longer than standard bulbs, meaning less maintenance costs and lower bills. They are environmentally friendly with no mercury, lead or glass which makes them pollutant-free and 100% recyclable. Alongside this, LEDs have also been hailed the best office lighting solution as they have been proven to increase work performance, with less spelling errors and improved reading speeds. To see how much money and energy your office could save by switching to LEDs, take a look at this LED lighting calculator from INUI.
Do you really need to use that office printer quite as much as you do? You’d be surprised at how easy it is to go paperless in an office these days. Not only will you be using less energy, but you’ll also reduce your paper usage; another precious resource. Share files via an online drive as opposed to printing them out and try and keep everything as digital as possible. Plus, you won’t need to order as much stationary or printer ink which keeps overheads down and reduces the amount of delivery drivers out on the roads. Think about challenging your office team to go a week without printing or photocopying and see if you can form new ‘greener’ habits.
Trying to heat or cool spaces and accommodate everyone’s preferred temperatures can be problematic. Make it easy for yourself and everybody else by ditching the office dress code. Suits in the height of summer aren’t fun for anyone, and shirts in the winter leave us dreaming of wooly jumpers and duvet days. By letting your team wear what they want to work, you’re likely to save on your heating or air conditioning costs as everyone will be comfortably dressed for the weather.
It’s important to make your office a nice environment for your team, and plants are a great way to do this. They’re aesthetically pleasing for one, but they also actively clean the air and decrease stress for your staff. Breathing in clean air can mean a boost in creativity and put your team in a good head space, which can only be a good thing. A couple of plants here and there will reduce CO2 levels by up to 25% and carbon monoxide levels by up to 90%. Do some research into which plants will work best in your office. Not every plant will thrive but succulents and rubber plants are easy to maintain.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork
Making all these tweaks and changes is all well and good, but you ideally want your team to be backing them too. Make sure you lead by example and be the first to recycle all that packaging and plastic, and bring food from home in reusable tupperware. Creating this culture in a small office means that your employees are bound to pick up on it and follow suit. Perhaps you could introduce sustainability goals, such as reducing the office waste by 20% and rewards for reaching each goal, such as going out for an office lunch. People are more likely to think twice if they have some kind of incentive to consider.