Businesses have now begun to realise the many benefits of practicing sustainability. Not only does waste and energy efficiency save precious resources and money in the long run, but it benefits the environment too. And then there’s the value of the peace of mind employees can gain from taking part in eco-conscious initiatives.
If your company is set to take its first steps towards a sustainable future, we’ve compiled a checklist of the leading questions you need to consider.
Does your office have recycling bins for paper and plastic?
Do you recycle printer cartridges?
Do you print on recycled paper?
Do you regularly review your paper use, and think about the best ways to cut down on printing?
Paper use and printing are the biggest culprits of waste in the modern office, especially with so many high-tech alternatives that are equally as efficient. Compared to the amount of paper you print, using a tablet to showcase any documents may make up the cost in no time at all and save on further expenditure. In the meantime, set your office printers to print on both sides of the paper by default, and ask yourself if what you’re printing is really necessary before your next trip to the printer.
Are your computers set to optimum Power Saver settings?
Do you make sure to shut down computers (and printers) at night?
Does your office currently have the lights on in rooms which aren’t in use?
Does your heating system have a timer?
Your company could be wasting a lot of energy if you aren’t considering the above questions. By asking your employees to be vigilant with properly shutting down computers and switching off all appliances each night, you’d be doing the environment – and your bills – a huge favour. Installing motion sensors in each room to switch off the lights when they aren't needed is another ideal way to ensure you save energy. Studies have shown that occupancy sensor-based lighting systems in the office have provided an immediate energy and money-saving benefit. The same goes for your heating system – time them to turn on during office hours, and off again for the evenings and weekends. The savings could be huge – not to mention the environmental benefits.
Does your business offer incentives for green-minded commuters?
Have you considered video conferences rather than travelling to meetings?
One of the ways of reducing a business’s carbon footprint is to think about the amount of travelling your employees are putting in – whether they’re driving across town for a meeting or flying across the continent.
While technology has helped to narrow the distance between businesses, commuters are finding alternative methods of travelling to work that not only save them money and time, but are sparing on the environment too. Some schemes now allow employers to make tax-free purchases on new bikes, which are then paid for in affordable instalments by employees, sacrificed from their salary. Some companies have also invested in high-end teleconferencing equipment to cut down on the need for being in the same room.
Do you use recycled paper products such as paper towels?
Do you stock Fair Trade tea and coffee?
Aside from the paper you use for printing, there are other items used in offices over the course of the working week for which you can consider a sustainable alternative. By having Fair Trade tea and coffee available in the office, you’re doing your bit to promote and support a fair and sustainable market. And by using recycled paper products, like paper towels, elsewhere in the office, and avoiding the use of paper plates and cups, you’ll also be helping the environment by saving trees.
If you want to get a head start on creating a sustainable office, the questions we’ve supplied will help you think about making those valuable changes.