The push for greener initiatives in the workplace has certainly gained steam through the years. Companies like Starbucks began offering two slots (one for compost and another for recycling) for customers to dispose of their latte and baguette wrapper. Then there’s tennis shoe companies like Brooks unveiling fully biodegradable shoes (the BioMoGo), that once placed in a properly encapsulated landfill, will naturally degrade in 20 years, as opposed to the 1,000 years it takes for a traditional shoe. Other major industries such as Dell have significantly reduced their carbon footprint with their products, by crafting laptops and desktops that use 25 percent less energy. Truth is, whether it’s offering more eco-friendly products or charting a course for patrons and employees to recycle, the green awareness is there.
As for companies who haven’t quite got around to establishing sustainable methods in the workplace, here are a few ways to hit the ground running.
Look At The Benefits of Going Paperless
Most companies will go through a good amount of paper by year’s end. In fact, a global research firm, Aiim, did a study concluding that the average employee uses up to 10,000 sheets of paper in a year. And while there’s certainly a point to where businesses require paper for documents, presentations and other key areas, there are still specific avenues where going paperless can be both cost-effective and green all the same. Here are just a few of many tools that help lead the cause:
- NeatDesk – A very popular digital scanner for documents and contact information of all shapes and sizes. Business cards, memos, contracts…this handy tool will scan and save all the data onto your computer, leaving you the simple task of recycling all the hard copies once you’re done.
- DocuSign – Another great way to slowly to circumvent contracts composed of superfluous amounts of paper. The DocuSign is a innovative and popular way for companies to securely and efficiently compose, send and execute contracts with their clients.
- FreshBooks – Cloud accounting software that makes creating and storing company invoices a breeze.
From the early onset of email to today’s bountiful options for helping steer companies towards paperless means of doing business, technological achievements for data storage will only grow in time. It’s just a matter of finding which alternatives can comfortably and effectively fit your business model.
Do The Little Things
From setting out more recycling bins around the office to conserving energy at one’s desk, here’s a quick checklist for keeping the office as eco-friendly as possible.
- Encourage employees to be mindful of switching off lights when exiting a room.
- Consider supplying company water bottles for employees to have with them at their desk.
- Use smaller fonts when writing a document. Going down one notch below normal settings on a regular basis leaves more space to print, and in turn, less paper used.
- Buy up remanufactured ink and toner cartridges and have a separate box or bin to store used cartridges in the copy room.
- Replace all the incandescent lighting throughout the office with more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.
- If you’re remodeling certain sections of the office and have updated equipment in place, think about donating all the old furniture and desks to charity.
- Power down your computer at the end of each day, rather than leave it idle overnight. Also, ensure that every computer has a sleep setting enabled for when an employee is away at a meeting or out to lunch.
- Whenever possible, try doing more double-sided printing.
- If your business does rely on a lot of supplies, try investing more towards recycled products.
- Purchase and place a healthy amount of plants around the office to help offset CO2 emissions.
Compared to a decade ago, individuals and companies alike have started to embrace greener ways of doing business. And whether it’s the little things like putting out more recycling bins, or much bigger contributions such as refitting the office with energy-efficient lighting, it goes to show that you can make the workplace just as green as you do at home.
Miranda is a freelance writer, eco-friendly aficionado and loves covering a multitude of topics concerning the business industry. She has also consulted for a eLearning company, ej4, that helps create effective training videos to help change behaviors and create better understanding of the workplace through custom segments such as business book summaries, webinar sessions and much more.