Five sustainability solutions for an eco-friendly office

Here, Flooring Republic advises us on how to encourage your team to build an eco-friendly, green office.

As the impact we make on our environment becomes an increasingly widespread concern, it’s important to take an eco-friendly approach not only at home but also in the workplace. After all, offices are where we spend a large portion of our waking lives – so it makes sense that any ‘green’ habits should come with us to work, too.

Creating a sustainable workspace doesn’t have to be a monumental task, as there are countless small and big ways to make a difference without spending a ton of time or money – and today, we’re taking you through five sustainability solutions for an eco-friendly office.

Implement a plan (and a policy)

When it comes to going green, writing a clear, actionable environmental plan should be first on your agenda. Having a referenceable plan will be invaluable in the future, as it ensures there’s no confusion at a later date – should you need to assess whether objectives have been met. The plan you write doesn’t have to be War and Peace – less than a thousand words should be more than sufficient to outline the vision, objectives and standards you want to achieve in the coming weeks, months and years.

Once a plan has been drafted, you should create a short, well-informed environmental policy on a yearly basis to ensure that the transition is smooth and continuous. Assign responsibility to a trusted member of staff to keep the ball rolling and make sure somebody is keeping an eye on progress at all times.

Design with the environment in mind

Often when people consider ways to green, they do so after they’ve moved into their office space. If you’re not yet set in your workplace, there are plenty of opportunities to think ahead and design your office with the environment in mind.

While 100 per cent sustainability may not be achievable, you could consider design options like cork or bamboo solid wood flooring, which are inherently more sustainable than other wood types. You should also ensure your lighting is LED, which can cut energy consumption by up to 80 per cent versus conventional lighting types.

Placing houseplants in areas around the office will actively clean the air – as studies show that adding just a handful of plants into the average office space can reduce CO2 levels by up to 25 per cent, and carbon monoxide levels by up to 90 per cent. Additional benefits include an increase in workplace productivity, reduction in stress and stress-related illnesses – plus a boost in creativity.

Offer an incentive

Sometimes the environmental benefits of a green policy alone aren’t enough to encourage employees to get involved, which is why it’s often better to lead with the (organic) carrot, and not the stick. Offering an incentive can be a fun way to get all of the team involved, and it doesn’t have to be monetary – a bottle of champagne at the end of each quarter for employees who car share, for example, should be enough to encourage active participation.

Another creative way to get the team thinking is to hold a group discussion where each employee can offer a single suggestion as to how they’d improve your office’s environmental practice. After all the suggestions are in, each employee votes for their favourite, the winner is awarded a small prize and the suggestion is implemented – improving your office’s sustainability and motivating staff to get involved (win-win).

Turn off

Photocopiers, printers and computers all use copious amounts of energy when left on overnight. A PC monitor left on overnight can waste enough electricity to laser print over 500 pages, so consider asking staff to turn off their machines when they leave the office. If you have office cleaners, asking them to check machines are turned off again as they go will make sure it happens.

With additional research also suggesting that lights left on overnight in offices use enough energy over the course of a year to heat a home for almost 5 months, it’s worth ensuring all lights are switched off before staff leave the office – allowing you to save on your energy costs in the process.

Stickers are great reminders to encourage employees to take action – so why not place some friendly reminders in key areas around the office, such as by the door to the meeting room or on the way out of the office?

Review the smaller things

As well as turning off at the end of the working day, there are a huge number of other simple green changes you can make to improve your office’s sustainability. Focusing your eco-friendly efforts on smaller things, like environmentally friendly cleaning products and recycled paper, gives you plenty of opportunity to up the ante when it comes to improving your green score.

Seemingly small everyday things, such as how much water you put in the kettle (and the subsequent excess energy used) or the bulk-bought paper cups you use in the office, can really add up over the course of the year – so consider reviewing the minor aspects of your workplace to identify where there may be room for sustainable improvements.

Sustainability isn’t an overnight process, but taking steady steps towards a greener future will benefit our planet in the long term – so there’s little excuse not to take action. From eco-friendly cleaning supplies to a detailed environmental plan, going green doesn’t have to be a mammoth undertaking! Follow our five simple and effective tips and you’ll be well on your way to office sustainability.

Written by Flooring Republic.

Further reading on making an eco-friendly office

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