Going Green in the Office part 2

Posted on Feb 13 2014 - 2:41pm by Peter Millikin

Eco BusinessIt is estimated that over 30% of our lives are spent in the office, so in light of that, it’s a good idea to make that time – which frighteningly equates to almost a third of our lives – as eco-friendly as possible for our own sakes.

If you haven’t read our Part 1 of this piece, you can find it here. It contains step by step hints to encourage your workplace to adopt more ecologically friendly policies, and has some great advice on how to implement these.

An environmentally friendly workplace not only benefits Managing Directors from a financial point of view, but it is also benefits employees who will feel better working within it.

Here are some tips to make your office space greener – and don’t worry if you’re not the MD, as even as an employee you can make a big difference, either on your own or by suggesting these changes to your colleagues:

Turn it off

If it isn’t getting used – turn it off. So much office equipment is left switched on all day, and sometimes even night when nobody’s actually even using it, causing a huge waste of electricity. So the likes of computers, printers and fax machines should be turned off when not in use.

Another good idea is to use energy efficient settings, such as having your computer screen set to sleep or hibernate after 15 minutes of inactivity.

And as well, if you’re not using a meeting room, kitchen area or toilet – then turn the lights off in these rooms too. There’s no point in using up electricity if they’re unoccupied. It takes a minute to flick the switch back on whenever someone wants to use the room.

Think… and recycle!

Think about whether there’s anything in the office that you can go without – often there’s a million things right in front of you that you just don’t realise until it’s pointed out to you.

So, for example:

1. Packets and packets of plastic cups. Encourage employees to fill up a water bottle to save wasting water cups. Washable, reusable mugs can be brought into the office for drinks too. Fairtrade tea and coffee is a good shout for an ethical office too.

2. Don’t print out if you don’t need to – send files electronically where possible, and archive emails. The more paperless your office the more eco efficient it will be.

3. Small changes like refillable ink cartridges make a big difference too, and avoid printing in colour when possible to save on costs. Also print on both sides to save paper, use recycled where possible and recycle or shred used paper for packing.

4. The average office worker spends two and a half hours a day sending emails. Talk to each other instead of using email!

Maximise your space

Spencer Nash MD of Planscape office furniture:

“Poorly planned offices are inefficient both financially and ergonomically. If you identify space and storage requirements for job functions, rather than adding to the problem with quick fixes or thinking you need to expand, you can make the most of your existing space for a more environmentally friendly office layout”.

Use windows

It might sound obvious, but how many times do you put the light on when you could just as easily adjust the blinds; or pop the air conditioning on, when a quick blast of fresh air through an open window would do the same job? Often, we use electricity for convenience, but if we’re more environmentally aware we can do our bills (and skin!) a lot of favours.

What are your thoughts about “Going greener in your office”?

Click HERE to jump to the comments section:

  • Do you have any great eco tips?
  • Would you try refilled printer inks?
  • Is your office well planned when it comes to being greener?
  • Have you tried Fairtrade tea and coffee?
  • What proportion of your office purchases were from a environmentally friendly source?

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Read about the Author

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment. You can contact Peter Millikin either through his Google+ account or via his websites.

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