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Going Green at Work: Ideas to Make a Difference

Going green at work.

Offices and enterprises are going green in an attempt to save planet earth. Read on to find out how a change as small as investing in a ceramic cup as opposed to getting a disposable one matters.

We live in a time where dead whales are washed ashore with tons of plastic in their stomachs, polar bears are at the verge of extinction because of global warming and many of our favorite sea-side cities are faced with the threat of rising sea levels.  It is every citizen’s duty to be eco-conscious and to minimize the carbon footprint that we leave on this planet. Companies and enterprises can also influence their employees and adopt practices that are eco-friendly.  An energy-efficient greener office is the office of the future. Here are a bunch of ideas you could adopt to make your office a green office.

Make the most of natural light: If you and your team are on the lookout for a new office space, keep an eye out for those that let in plenty of natural light. Studies have shown that employees who sit by the window have higher rates of productivity and lower rates of absenteeism.  This is because natural light boosts our physical and mental well-being.

Solar power is the way to go.

Solar power is the way: Commercial buildings consume a lot of electricity even during the day. Lighting, air-conditioning/heating, all the systems that are up and running throughout office hours, all amount to a sky-high electricity bill. While the initial investment needed to power an entire office building could be substantially high, ultimately you will be bringing down your company’s expenses for the coming decades. The ecological benefits of switching to solar power are also many.  Solar energy is the cleanest type of energy. It is a renewable source and it is available in plenty.

Say no to paper: Is it really that important to print memos for every person in a single bay? Wouldn’t it be wiser to get everybody to read and respond to emails and have just one copy printed for passing around? Create a virtual bulletin board for all announcements and motivate your employees to go paperless.

If something has to be printed, ensure that you strive for 100% printing efficiency—let double-sided printing be the default option. Use cartridges that can be re-filled, ensure that the ink that you use is also non-toxic. Lesser the number of loose sheets your office uses, lesser the number of staples, and lesser the iron ore depletion.

Reduce, re-use, recycle

Reduce, re-use, recycle: Make sure that fans and air-conditioning are turned off, computers and laptops are hibernated when they are not in use. The same goes for printers, scanners and other office equipment. Also, it is not enough to recycle all the paper and plastic waste that your company goes through. Encourage your employees to ditch disposable plastic and paper cups too for ceramic options. Better still, have in-house ceramic coffee mugs for communal use.

Use non-toxic, biodegradable products: From floor cleaners to window cleaners, most commercially available cleaning products contain a high amount of industrial chemicals that are not only toxic to humans and animals, but also non-biodegradable. Switch to organic cleaning products so that the office-help who handle them, as well as your employees are not exposed to anything harmful.

Bring a plant to work day.

Initiate ‘Bring a Desk Plant to Work Day’: We have all either experiences or heard of ‘Bring your Kid to Work Day’. How about adding a fun twist to it and have a ‘Bring a Desk Plant to Work Day’? They are not going to make a significant improvement to the quality of the office air, but they are still going to brighten up the interiors and totally transform the way your office looks and feels.

Encourage employees to work from home: One in four workers in India spending 90 minutes commuting to and from work. Commuting also takes up 5-8% of their salary. Wouldn’t it be a better alternative for the company as well as its employees if you encouraged them to work from home more often?

Green office ideas.

Stick to ‘work hours’: While flexible work hours make your employees’ lives better, they make your operating costs go high. Consider the following scenario. Your office hours on paper are 9 am to 6 pm. But there could be employees who come in regularly at 11 and leave at 8. There might also be a workaholics who might insist on clocking in extra long hours. While you may view these additional hours as exemplary professional commitment, you are keeping in the whole office open and running for a handful of employees. Sometimes, the employer has to step in and remind their employees not to work so hard.

Encouraging your employees to stick to the office’s work hours will help you be less wasteful of resources while also ensuring that your employees have a great work-life balance.

Create a Green Team

Create a ‘Green Team’: Gathers a bunch of enthusiastic employees to lead the ‘Green Team’ to make this transition into eco-friendly practices smooth and fun. You could have monthly or weekly green goals and challenges. The department that uses the least amount of paper or recycles the most could win a small prize. Combining going green with competition will help your employees adjust to as well as welcome similar changes.

While it is imperative that your employees follow these new practices at the work place, make them understand that these are values that they must take home with them, practice, and propagate. Imagine if every employee of yours turned not just their office space but also their households green? Every green idea, no matter how small it is, matters. Only if we took it upon ourselves to change the way we live and work will the whole world follow through.