Companies are taking big strides towards more sustainable, eco-conscious practices. Is your business able to keep up with the ever-evolving changes to be made?
You can’t do it all, but there’s always something you can do.
Here are four examples of viable sustainable initiatives that cost very little but make a big difference over time.
#1 Telecommute Days
Select a few days out of the month (or even one day a week) where everyone works from home. Thankfully, employees can be just as productive at home and you can even grow your business online—technology really is the future.
Telecommuting every now and then has three primary benefits:
- Lower energy use – This makes your office more environmentally-friendly by completely cutting out electricity, gas, and water usage for the day.
- Reduced company footprint – It also reduces your company’s overall carbon footprint by keeping employees in their home offices rather than in rush-hour traffic.
- Improved office morale – Bonus: your employees will be thankful for the opportunity to skip the long drive and work from home once in a while.
Many companies are working from home right now, so this is a great time to make this switch. So much can be done online anyway, using everything from video conferencing software to content management systems to file-sharing tools. As you reincorporate your employees into the office space, consider implementing telecommute days at the same time.
#2 Recurring Sustainability Challenges
Everyone loves some friendly workplace competition. Introduce weekly or monthly challenges to complete either as individuals or with the entire department.
Here are a few basic ideas to help you formulate your own office-wide initiatives:
- Paperless – Completely cut out paper by relying on email, digital files, and E-signatures Whoever makes it through the month without printing a single thing gets a small prize or gift card.
- Reusable mugs and water bottles – Encourage everyone to bring their favorite ceramic coffee cup and steel water bottle instead of supplying shared disposable cups. Anyone who forgets and borrows from the communal stockpile owes 25¢ to the Environmental Fund (donated to a sustainable cause of your choice at the end of each month).
- Zero single-use plastic – Ban single-use plastics for the duration of the competition. Anyone seen drinking their smoothie through a plastic straw or eating chicken salad with a disposable fork gets one point against them or their team. Tally up the points at the end of the week or month. Whoever has the most points has to take on a silly punishment.
Sustainability is an important issue but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. Turning your initiative into a game or competition will encourage participation and lift everyone’s spirits at the same time.
Consider live-Tweeting the results on a private company Twitter or sharing email updates for some added fun.
#3 Completely Unplug at Night
When you finally turn the lights off at the end of a long day, all of the equipment should be shut off, too. Make it a habit to turn everything off each night. This includes:
- Turning off all lights
- Unplugging kitchen appliances
- Powering down computers and servers
- Lowering the Thermostat
On second thought, maybe don’t turn absolutely everything off—your business alarm system is the only exception.
#4 More Efficient Heating & Cooling Systems
Heating or cooling an entire office building is a big undertaking. Not only do inefficient temperature-control systems use up a lot of energy, but they can also be a big drain on your monthly utility bills.
In addition to moderating your Thermostat use, check that your systems are functioning at peak performance and make the necessary changes:
- Professional HVAC check-up – Old, faulty systems can cause unnecessary energy use and sizable utility costs. Bring in a professional once per year to ensure this isn’t the case.
- Install an HVLS ceiling fan – A high-volume low-speed fan is an environmentally-friendly choice for a large, open commercial space because of its energy-efficiency and year-round air quality control.
Keep your employees comfortable without blasting the AC or cranking up the heat—both of which hurt the environment and your company’s bottom line.
Looking at the Office Through Green-Tinted Glasses
You won’t be able to change everything overnight, but each step towards the environmentally-friendly office space you’ve imagined is crucial to making a difference. Continue to think critically about where your office falls short in your green mission.
See a problem? Make a change.