Green living and working is more than just a passing trend. It’s a positive way of life which many businesses have adopted to create a healthier and more effective working environment for their employees. Extending green living habits from your home into the office or workspace can be a huge asset to your business, and can improve how you and your team perform at work.
Before you set up your workplace, there are some actions you’ll need to carry out to ensure it’s green. These steps will help to point you in the right direction.
1. Try a new commute
Let’s start with how you get to work. Encouraging employees to cycle to work, or walk if they’re lucky enough to be close by, are great ways to cut down on emissions and promote a healthy daily routine. If the commute tends to be a little longer, you can also look into sharing cars with others using Zipcar and Flexcar services.
2. Invest in green materials
Creating a green workplace means creating an environment where reusing is the norm. Invest in biodegradable cleaners and soaps, recycled paper, cloths and towels. Buy office items in bulk in to reduce shipping and packaging wastes. Recycle printer cartridges, and reuse shipping boxes. You can even refill pens and markers instead of always buying new ones.
3. Get a green lunch
This doesn’t just mean swapping junk food for salads. Make sure that whatever you’re eating, your lunch is packed in reusable containers that won’t litter the environment. You can also promote joint food ordering among your colleagues. Never opt for paper plates and disposable kitchenware if you can avoid them. Reusable napkins, cutlery and plates are far better for the environment – and your budget.
4. Unplug your tech
All your office equipment, such as computers, printers, monitors, photocopy machines and microwave ovens still draw power when not in use. Make sure you switch off and unplug such devices from their sockets overnight and when they’re not being used to minimise power consumption and save some money.
5. Save paper
This is a simple one: if you’re not already, avoid paper wastage by ensuring you print work on both sides of the paper. Many businesses nowadays are completely paperless, however if you do still want to use a pen and paper and your writing pad should be made of recycled paper or scraps of used paper, rather than new notebooks. Always purchase papers that are free from chlorine, and set up programmes on your computers to accommodate narrow margins to optimise the space on the page. It might sound like a minor change, but it will definitely add up and improve your sustainability in the long-run.
6. Get sustainable
Sustainability is all about reducing the wastage of natural resources by maintaining and managing them in a way that avoids or prolong their eventual exhaustion. In the workplace, sustainability could be as simple as turning off electrical appliances whenever you are leaving the office, or making use of alternative sources of power supply like solar system or wind energy to generate light.
Once you form a company and your business is set up, it’s up to you to create a workplace that’s comfortable, stimulating and efficient – whether you have several employees or it’s just for yourself. Working these steps to create a green and sustainable workplace will undoubtedly help you achieve that, and if done intelligently, they’ll also help you save a few pennies along the way. For more advice on setting up your business, including how to combat signs of stress and what to consider when you’re hiring staff for the first time, browse some of the articles in The Formations Company Help Centre.
About the Author:
Paul Gilbert is a professional blogger who specialises in topics including insurance and personal injury. He is also a part-time consultant at Zea Proukou, a New York-based firm which provides solutions and support to injured workers for claiming workplace injury benefits under Workers' Compensation.