The Definitive Guide to Making Your Office Green!

The 21st Century is Calling – We need to be “greening.”

Green is this season’s black. If you’re not “greening” your workspace, you are SO last century-darling. However, implementing a green policy isn’t just a current fashion, a one off- it's 'trending,' but it’s a trend that is here to stay. Greening has to become a necessity in this environmentally aware century. If we don’t take sustainability seriously we are looking at a pretty bleak future. Our planet needs protecting.

So what can you and your colleagues do to start to make a change? Change comes from adoption. However, the successful implementation of new practices is dependent upon the willing co-operation of employees and management. So what could make us resist change? If change requires huge amounts of time. After all of all our non-tangible commodities, time is one of the most precious! Green changes need to be quick wins, not too demanding and simple to implement. So here are a few bullets to fire the imagination;

  • Let’s start with how we get to work, could we car share, use public transport, walk or in the wake of our recent cycling successes at the Olympics-cycle? (A crash helmet is not optional).
  • Employers, if you’re able to offer your employees a company car as part of their role, then look to hybrid and electrical options – cheaper and kinder to the Earth!
  • Ask for your coffee 'to go' in a commuter mug – saves on the cardboard. In the office, use the coffee machine with a washable mug as opposed to disposable paper cups.
  • Include your green policy as part of your new employee induction pack and discuss it in new hire training so everyone is informed and engaged from day one.
  • Have a packed lunch, even once a week. Using a lunch box or cool bag saves on packaging used on ready-made rolls/sandwiches and other pre-packed items. It also saves cash – why buy items that could easily be made at home the night before?
  • Put recycling bins around the office, especially ones that can be used to recycle drink cans and used paper-mark them clearly.
  • Encourage the wise use of stationary. A4 envelopes can be re-used as internal envelopes, turn off print receipts on the photocopier. Don’t buy sticky notes and note books, reuse all paper. If you have to order stationary make a bulk order so it can be delivered in one package. Less deliveries = less boxes.
  • Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen too.
  • “Think Before Printing” – we’ve all seen those emailing signatures that implore you to really think before printing out that email, well pay attention and only print emails which are absolutely necessary!
  • Of course there are some instances where printing is unavoidable, so ensure that your paper stock is the greenest it can be. When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing (toxic pulp slurry is the paper recycling industry's dirty secret). When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing.
  • Go green on your computer by emailing and instant messaging as much as possible. Use PDF’s to send invoices and customer statements which will reduce printing and sending snail mail!
  • Engage with a charity that collects mobile phone batteries, toner/printer cartridges and other non-refillable office consumables. Charities usually provide collection boxes and pick up the items. Think of the kudos!
  • Cut back on asset waste. Find a reputable Company that follows WEEE Directive to collect, recycle, refurbish or resell your redundant electrical items.
  • Promote the use of Video Conferencing to save on the business’s overall carbon footprint. It cuts back on travel, saves time and money too!
  • Install motion sensors so lights turn off in areas that are not frequently used. Use energy efficient bulbs.
  • Buy local – whether it’s paper, furniture or office supplies, try where possible to order from local suppliers. Support the businesses in your local area and help reduce delivery journeys and carbon emissions.
  • Have a switch off policy each night, so that nothing is left on standby.
  • Do you really need the air-conditioning on constantly? Is it possible to open a window? Likewise in winter, ask your employees to keep an extra layer on while you drop the heating by a couple of degrees – it all counts!
  • Use a reputable cleaning company that uses environmentally friendly products that are non-hazardous and biodegradable. At Ecocleen all our products are bio friendly.

Lead by example and enthuse! Talk about the green changes the company is implementing to get everyone’s buy in. Create an implementation list and post the information on your Company’s intranet bulletin board. Encourage comments and suggestions. Post information on notice boards in your milling areas such as by the coffee machine where it can be front of mind.

A few simple changes can make a notable change to our working environment. It fosters goodwill and sets your company apart as forward thinking and green aware. After all nobody wants to be accused of being off trend-darling

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