How to Bring Sustainability to an Office Near You

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Going green is all the rage these days, and not without a good reason. An occasional glance through the window can tell you all you need to know about the perils of global warming and the overuse of the earth’s resources.

Not to dwell on the gloomy outlook of the topic, let’s see what can be done to address sustainability and create new, positive habits to benefit everyone.

Set Up Your Own Sustainability Team

It is only to be expected that not everyone is an expert in green technologies. That’s why setting up your own sustainability team is a great idea. The team can meet, and it will also help with team building.

You don’t necessarily have to start your efforts by looking into solar panels, but they are a great idea nevertheless. Some cities offer subsidies for going green, so start by looking up and comparing alternatives, before you begin dipping into your savings.

Other, smaller steps can be performed first. E.g., everyone can bring a mug from home and ditch the disposables. Let’s look into a couple of ideas below.

Really Ditch the Paper

Paper… it’s a word with many connotations, but of late, it seems to be the main culprit. The thing is, with the rise of innovative technologies and stellar digitalization, paper can be replaced in a good measure.

E.g., you can look up professional email programs that make the need to print out all emails redundant. Look for good visibility and filtering options and provide adequate training for the employees.

Next on, take printers out of individual offices. In that way, employees will think twice before printing something that absolutely doesn’t need to be printed out. Old habits die hard, after all.

Update to the Latest Equipment and Products

This is a bit more expensive, but it pays off in the long run. Energy-saving equipment and recycled products, to name a few benefits, can even help with lean manufacturing simply by allowing you to completely get rid of old equipment that is no longer needed.

It’s true that some equipment cannot be replaced, but there are methods to make them more eco-friendly all the same.

Take a look at some sustainable ideas:

  • Replace traditional printers with multifunction ones to eliminate the need to use multiple machines for multiple purposes. Choose the ones with energy-saving features for best results
  • Refill used ink and toner cartridges
  • Print on both sides of a sheet
  • Buy green office supplies whenever possible. E.g., staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled
  • Use recycled paper
  • Use recycled plastic products when plastics cannot be replaced
  • Recycle used office supplies
  • Keep computers and monitors updated. Newer models are more energy-efficient than older ones
  • Turn off computers when they’re not in use
  • Replace standard bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs (they use ca. 75% less energy than standard light bulbs!)
  • Paint the walls of the office in light colors so that less lighting is needed
  • Use cloth towels or hand dryers instead of paper towels
  • Only use eco-friendly cleaning products

Bring Plants Into the Office

Have you ever thought about bringing in a plant instead of that high-end table lamp? This is, actually, one of the easiest ways to go green and it will even make the office look more beautiful and pleasant to spend time in.

However, you should research which plants can thrive in office conditions and handle an occasionally forgetful employee. Some recommendations include devil’s ivy, snake plants, succulents, cacti, peace lily, jade plants, ZZ plants, and bamboos.

Keep Up With the Most Recent “Going Green” Trends  

Some businesses choose to invite an expert speaker to present eco-friendly ideas people may not be aware of. Workshops and courses are also an option. Pick the training methods suitable for your circumstances and go from there.

Set Specific Goals

Lastly, be sure to set realistic, achievable goals each month as your office becomes more and more sustainable. You can rely on OKR templates for the best results.

OKRs are “Objectives and Key Results” and deal with collaborative goal-setting that can help both teams and individuals to set ambitious but achievable goals with measurable results. OKRs serve to help you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement across the board.

Conclusion

Going green may be a long-term strategy, but everyone can start altering harmful habits and practices pretty much immediately. Just as you would begin to treat a health injury, you can also “treat” the symptoms of not having a sustainable office space. Turning off computers when they’re not in use and switching off lights when leaving the office should be pretty straightforward steps for everyone, though, right?

Start with small milestones and grow your strategy from there. Remember to rely on OKRs, as they will provide much-needed alignment. Overall, make learning a fun process everyone will enjoy and watch the results take shape gradually.

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