Perhaps you already make green choices whenever possible: sorting recyclables, driving less and making environmentally mindful purchases, but what about your workplace? Green choices can make a difference, and not just for the planet. According to recent studies, employees in greener workplaces tend to be happier and more productive.
Implementing sustainable office ideas is a great way for your work space to go green. On a smaller scale, this involves techniques such as using less paper. Companies can make green choices at much higher levels as well, by choosing sustainable materials when upgrading or renovating office space or choosing energy efficient options when replacing equipment. Let’s take a look at 10 simple, yet highly impactful design strategies for a sustainable office.
1. Go Paperless
Paper consumption continues to increase over time — as much as 400% over the last four decades. By being mindful about printing fewer documents ,leveraging cloud storage and utilizing energy efficient displays, businesses can cut back on paper use, benefiting the environment and operational efficiency.
2. Encourage Remote & Hybrid Work
In addition to offering work-life balance for employees, hybrid and remote work schedules create opportunities for environmentally responsible commuting as well as the potential for reducing your office’s carbon footprint (and operating expenses). To facilitate quality communication across teams in a hybrid-friendly environment, consider leveraging technology to support your on-site and remote workforces.
3. Invest in Green Technologies
- Acoustic management solutions such as Frasch PET panels make use of environmentally friendly materials while making your workplace easier on the ears.
- Window privacy films assist in climate control in office spaces where exterior-facing glass is a prominent design feature — reducing both energy usage and the power bill.
- Energy-efficient LED displays are a good replacement for older equipment in conference rooms, at desks and in public spaces.
4. Encourage Earth-Friendly Commuting
Millions of daily commuters produce large volumes of pollutants on their way to and from work. To help lessen emissions, try offering incentives to your on-site team when they change the way they commute. Some alternatives include:
- Carpooling: One car instead of two, three or four can make a big difference, especially if the driver has a hybrid or electric vehicle.
- Taking public transportation (where possible): Many cities have subway, bus or light rail systems that make it easier to commute responsibly. Consider implementing a commuter benefit to help mitigate the cost of transit.
- Walking, biking or even skating: For those that live close to the office (and have a safe route to work), this is the most environmentally friendly option.
5. Consider Recycling
A robust recycling program is often at the top of the list of sustainable office ideas. To make recycling easier for employees, place receptacles in visible locations throughout the workplace. At desks, near printers and trash cans and in break areas are all great choices. To set your recycling program up for success, ensure that everyone knows what can and can’t be recycled, what the building’s policies are and your organization’s recycling goals.
6. Monitor Your Work Environment
Simple adjustments to the thermostat setting comes with benefits such as making your office more comfortable and reducing your overall energy use. Your HVAC system should also receive routine maintenance to ensure it operates effectively. Where available, green HVAC systems can automatically reduce energy consumption.
7. Choose Eco-Friendly Lighting
Studies show that increasing natural light in an office setting can significantly improve productivity and general wellbeing. Taking advantage of natural light is also an effective method of reducing energy use and electricity expenses. Installing LED lighting is a great way of achieving similar results. These bulbs last up to six times longer than other types, and lessen the waste of electricity even further when connected to motion sensors.
8. Embrace Office Plants
In addition to adding vitality to a workplace setting, plants also help to improve air quality by absorbing toxins from the air and releasing oxygen. The advantages of workplace greenery don’t end there; plants can also improve mood, boost productivity and lessen stress.
9. Choose Sustainable Office Furniture
While environmentally friendly workplace furniture is a big investment, it’s one that could actually save you money in the long run. When compared to “quick furniture,” which is used for only a few years before it wears down and needs to be replaced, sustainable options have a far longer life. Look for designs that are created from recyclable materials, reused or are simple to maintain.
10. Opt for Green Cleaning Products
If you clean your office space yourself, opt for natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products and equipment that’s energy efficient, recyclable or even compostable. Many office cleaning services offer greener alternatives to conventional cleaning techniques, reducing both environmental pollution and exposure to chemicals.