Did you know that the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime?
When we think of the phrase “going green” we often think of ways to improve sustainability at home. You may already be taking simple steps to go green, such as recycling and conserving resources. When you think about how much time we spend at work lifetime, it makes sense that we take the steps necessary to improve environmental sustainability at work too! In honor of Earth Day, here are a few simple things you can do at work to go green in the office, and celebrate the earth every day!
Recycling is an easy and effective way to go green in your office. If your work doesn’t already have recycle bins available, shoot your boss an email! By sending one small email, you’re already making the earth a better place. Become educated on what you can recycle and share with others. Place recycle bins near high traffic areas like the printer, the kitchen, and the front entrance. Become educated on ways to recycle in the office, like recycling ink cartridges and separating aluminum from plastic. Share the information with coworkers and post infographics near recycling bins to promote going green! You can even take it a step further and engage the entire office in a recycling competition to offer an incentive!
2. Add plants
Having plants in the office, even if it’s just one, offers many benefits. Having plants in your office will reduce stress and increase productivity, thanks to the extra oxygen emitted in the air! In fact, research conducted in 2014, discovered after filling the office with plants, overall productivity increased by 15%! They also found when an office space is filled with natural elements, it replenishes employees’ capacity for concentration and focus. Additionally, plants can absorb toxic pollutants such as mold, dust mites, and chemical cleaning agents. Place one on your desk, in the bathroom, and in the front entrance of the office.
3. Remove disposable items
This one is HUGE! Instead of using disposable cups, coffee mugs, utensils, and plates, invest in reusable items. Only a small percentage of plastic supplies can actually be recycled. Spend some money at the dollar store on resuable kitchenware, or ask employees to donate old dishes, coffee mugs, and glasses for the office kitchen! While there may be more time spent cleaning up after your lunch, you’re doing the environment a favor. Plus, it’s a win-win situation; not only are you saving money on disposable items, but your reducing office waste!
4. Reducing power
Did you know that your devices consume a lot of technology even when they are not in use? A study done by the NRDC showed that unused devices use roughly 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity in a year. There are several steps you can take to reduce energy! Lowering your screen brightness, close tabs on your browser, and closing out applications on your phone can save power. In the office, unplug your charger and other powered devices when not in use, turn your computer on sleep when you’re not at your desk, and shut down every night.
5. Go Paperless
Did you know that the average employee uses up to 45 sheets of paper everyday? That is a lot of money spent on paper and time. In fact, document printing on average makes up 10% of IT costs in most organizations. Becoming a paperless office is a very cost-effective method to going green with many benefits beyond sustainability. Not only are paperless files safer for the environment, they are super convenient for everyone! Reducing paper use not only saves on costs and space, there are also massive gains in efficiency. These can be achieved by harnessing the power of the cloud. You office can transition to cloud bases services, allowing employees to create and access existing documents anytime, anywhere with any device!
It’s pretty clear that these 5 small tasks can have a big impact in an office environment. Start a sustainability team to keep your office on task and excited in efforts to go green! Make a list of goals to go green in the office in order of easiest and most important and set deadlines! Making small conscious efforts towards going green in the office will eventually become effortless subconscious tasks, a part of your daily routine. By implementing sustainability in your office, you will become a leader and inspire others to do the same! After all, there is no planet “b”, so get clean and go green!
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