While most offices already practice some form of sustainability, such as having a recycling bins for paper or plastic bottles, there are many other ways you can make your office more sustainable. The main benefit of having a sustainable office is saving money for your business. It is a good way to cut expenses and it can create a better atmosphere for your employees.
What is Sustainable Office Design?
Since people spend the vast majority of their time indoors between work and home, it is important that their work environments are comfortable and conducive to productivity. For a business, a sustainable office design should not only help make a difference for the people who work there, but it should also have a positive impact on the company’s bottomline. In addition, it is now a legal requirement that businesses consider the effect of their office design on the environment.
Studies show that most employees want to help their companies reduce carbon emissions and be more sustainable, but they often don’t know how to help. When making changes to your office design so it is more sustainable, you should involve your employees with the changes. After all, they are the ones who will be working in the new environment on a daily basis and it will allow them to see how they can help their company.
Along with having a positive effect on the environment, many aspects of a sustainable office design make the employees’ work environment more comfortable. This helps to improve office morale and a more comfortable work environment can raise productivity, which in turn can help boost your company’s profits. Any money spent on refurbishing your offices to make them more sustainable can be offset by increased profitability.
Sustainable Office Updates
When you need to update your offices or if you are relocating to a new space, there are many ways you can make your work environment more sustainable. Since these changes will have a large impact on your employees, both their comfort and health should be considered. Putting your employees first not only will make them happier with their jobs, but it can help reduce absenteeism because injuries and illnesses will be reduced as well.
If you haven’t updated your company’s computer systems in a while, you may wish to update your systems when you relocate or refurbish your offices. With more sustainable computer practices, your company can reduce the amount of energy used by your systems, reduce the amount of hazardous materials that end up in landfills and help increase employee comfort.
Purchase Appropriate Hardware
When replacing your computer systems, buy the hardware that is appropriate for the jobs your employees do. Since not every department will use their computers in the same way, you shouldn’t buy the same systems for everyone who works in the office. Consider how each department uses their computer systems and then buy the appropriate ones for the job.
This means that some departments may need to have desktop computers, while others only need to have laptops or even tablets. By doing this, you can save money on the type of systems you get for each department.
Encourage Energy Savings
By showing your employees how to use the power-saving features on their computers, you can save money on your energy bills and your employees will feel that they are helping to make the office be more sustainable. Computer screens should automatically shut off or go into sleep mode when idle for a certain period of time. If the system is not being used at all for a while, such as when employees are out of the office, computers should be shut down and unplugged to reduce power usage.
Recycle Old Equipment
Older computers and other electronic equipment were made with many hazardous materials, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. To help keep these materials out of landfills, which could lead to them seeping into groundwater supplies, do not simply throw away old electronic equipment, especially computers. Either take them to the proper recycling centre or have them picked up by recyclers who handle computers and electronic devices.
Reduce Paper Usage
There are many ways that you can reduce the use of paper around the office, whether it is printer or copy paper or paper products in the break room. By reducing the amount of paper used in the office, you will help reduce company expenses and less of it will be wasted.
Only Print if Necessary
When sending out memos or letters to employees, don’t print them out, instead send out emails or use your company’s Intranet. Have the IT department teach managers how to send notifications to employees via their computers to alert them to urgent emails to make sure they are read. Encourage employees to use their email for communications instead of printing out notices or sending faxes.
Encourage employees to print on both sides of a page instead of just one if the document they print has more than one page. While they may not be able to do that for legal documents, reports and other multiple-page documents should always be printed in such a manner. If it is something being mailed to clients, reducing the amount of paper the document is printed on could also help save on postage costs.
To keep paper out of landfills, instead of throwing it in waste bins, have your employees recycle any paper that needs to be tossed. If the papers contain sensitive information, either have it shredded or deposited in a locked bin supplied by a shredding company. This will prevent the information from falling into the wrong hands until it can be picked up and shredded by the company.
There are many simple ways to reduce waste in the office, whether it be paper products or energy. Along with creating a more sustainable environment in the office, these measures will also help your business reduce their expenditures. Fit-out companies like Strategyhat can show you other ways to make your offices sustainable.