Going Green in the Workplace

We all want to do what we can for the environment, and there’s no better place to go green than the office. By creating an eco-friendly work space, you can enhance the reputation of your company while leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Here are seven things to pay attention to when making sure your company stays in line with your eco-friendly values.

Electricity: There are a lot of ways to use electricity wisely. Take advantage of natural light wherever possible, and replace incandescent light bulbs with LED ones. Set all office devices to power down at the end of the day instead of just going to sleep or standby mode. At night when no one is in the office make sure all lights are turned off, and set the heating or air conditioning to a moderate temperature.

Recycling: Have clearly-marked designated recycling stations around the office and encourage everyone to use them. You may also want to educate employees on which materials are recyclable and which are not. The habits they build at work may go home with them for an even greater impact!

Eco-Friendly Office Products: Everything from furniture made of recycled materials, to refillable pens, to recycled paper can help reduce your carbon footprint. When purchasing new printers, make sure they can print double-sided (and always recycle your toner cartridges). Also, look into using green cleaning products, and encourage your cleaning crew to use them as well.

Transportation: Single-rider cars are a big source of environmental pollution, so try promoting carpooling among workers. If it’s feasible for your employees, you may also want to consider allowing them to work from home. If not, a flexible schedule can also be environmentally beneficial as it enables people to commute during non-peak traffic times. The less time spent idling in traffic, the better.

Vendors: Do some research on the environmental practices of your vendors­—what efforts are they making to be eco-friendly? Make that a priority when selecting other companies to do business with. Use local vendors when you can, since transporting goods over shorter distances is more efficient.

Breakroom: Provide reusable kitchen utensils in the breakroom and encourage people to bring lunch from home. Also, provide a source of good drinking water that employees can use to refill their own water bottles instead of using disposable bottled water.

Fun Challenges: Monthly challenges around the office between departments or groups can be a fun way to turn being green into a game. See who can use the least amount of paper, who can bring their lunch more often, or who can go the longest without using plastic utensils. Offer small prizes and make it part of your office morale-boosting efforts.

Make green thinking part of your company culture. Like all good practices, it should become a habit, and you can help create an environment that rewards and encourages eco-friendly behavior. Be open to suggestions from employees. Your specific industry may have environmental challenges that your employees are perfectly positioned to address. Good luck, and go green!

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