Green offices may seem like a fad, but in fact, they’re here to stay.
Not only does an eco-friendly office space benefit the world, but it also benefits your employees.
Working in a green office means employees are 15 percent more productive. And green offices see a 30 percent decrease in the number of sick days employees take. So not only are you creating more productive employees, but you’re helping them remain healthy and happy.
Creating a sustainable workspace with a smaller carbon footprint isn’t hard at all. Here are some tips to help you create a green office.
1. Use Renewable Energy
The most obvious — but sometimes most difficult — way to create an eco-friendly office is with renewable energy. Renewable energy is great for the environment because it produces no greenhouse gas emissions.
The most popular type of renewable energy in today’s world is solar power. The first step is to see what options are available where your office is. You can either generate your own renewable energy or purchase renewable energy from an independent company.
To create your own solar energy, you’ll need solar panels installed. Consult your local ordinances before you start construction so that you follow the rules and regulations of your city.
This method involves some initial costs for the solar panels, but after that all the energy you create is free. You may even have the option to sell back excess energy if you create more than your office needs.
If you aren’t able to install your own solar panels, you aren’t out of luck. Many local energy companies have the option to purchase renewable energy or green power. Check with your local energy providers to see what options are available.
2. Conserve Energy, Water
Even if you’re using renewable energy, your office should limit its carbon footprint by conserving energy and water.
There are countless ways to conserve energy within your office. Start by switching all your lights to LED bulbs and setting them on a timer. Purchase a power strip for each employees workspace and encourage them to turn off all of their electronics at the end of the day with one switch.
We also suggest investing in a smart thermostat for your business. A smart thermostat adjusts the temperature inside your office to save energy based on your office schedule. Just install this device and it’ll do the work for you.
As far as water conservation goes, switch your sinks to motion-activated to reduce water waste. Also, update your toilets if they’re older as newer models require less water.
If your employees are reluctant to change their habits, educate them on the benefits first. Let them know exactly what their simple habits change can accomplish for the local and global environment. This website is a great resource to learn about water and carbon cycles.
3. Encourage Recycling
While recycling seems like the obvious solution, you’d be surprised by how few offices actually recycle. And even if they are recycling, they may not be doing it as efficiently as they should.
Put paper recycling bins near the printer and in a central area of your office. Also, set up recycling areas in your break rooms for items like aluminum and cardboard. If you give your employees an easy way to recycle, they’ll be more likely to use it.
You can also recycle items like ink cartridges and old electronics within your business. While these are a little more involved, if you’re a large office, the efforts really pay off.
4. Go Green with Plants
For a truly green space, welcome indoor plants into your office.
Indoor plants can actually recycle the air. Through photosynthesis, they produce fresh oxygen while removing harmful toxins from the air. Place a few large plants in communal spaces around the office and encourage employees to bring in their own smaller plants.
To really take your eco-friendly office to the next level, also consider creating a garden space for your employees. If you have usable rooftop space or a green area in your parking lot, all it takes is a little effort to transform the area into a garden.
Then, encourage your employees to help you grow produce. Employees can take home produce in exchange for their work in the garden and you can use leftover produce to cook healthy snacks for the office.
5. Convert to Paperless
And our final tip for an eco-friendly office — convert to paperless solutions.
In today’s digital age, the need to use paper is minimum. Instead of printing out newsletters or paperwork for meetings, send an email or use a projector screen. We bet you can find creative ways to reduce your paper usage within the office.
Also, encourage your business’ clients to go paperless. Instead of sending out paper communications, set them up with email or text communications. Let your customers know why you’re switching to paperless and they’ll value the environmental efforts of your business.
Go Eco-Friendly Beyond the Green Office
Using these five tips, you can transform your workplace into a green office in no time.
To speed up the process, consider starting a sustainability committee. This group can work together to come up with eco-friendly solutions and track the progress of different initiatives.
Give the team a budget to work with and encourage them to start green challenges among different departments. The department that works the hardest to protect the environment can earn a little bonus or a special lunch. Rewarding green behavior is the easiest way to make it a habit in your workplace.
More more great tips to keep your office functioning as efficiently as possible, visit the Business section of our site.