Sustainability in the workplace is more than using energy-saving bulbs and smart recycling methods. In fact, it's a holistic approach to creating a general sense of wellbeing for your small business. One that caters to both people and the environment. Businesses that pride themselves on environmentally sustainable work practices give themselves a competitive edge, but there are also added benefits. Saving energy in the workplace promotes a healthier working environment. It can also make a big difference in reducing your carbon footprint and increases the cognitive functioning of workers. Studies prove greener, sustainable workplaces naturally drive higher productivity. Indoor offices are affecting the way we work. However, green-friendly initiatives pave the way to a better future. If you're looking to make your small business a little greener, simple changes can go a long way. Here's a few to help jump start your efforts:
Switch to Greener Printing and Packaging Materials
Although online technology has taken the business world by storm, printed supplies, such as business cards, are still an important part of doing business. Small business owners can reduce waste by not only recycling but using recycled printed and packaging materials as well. Make the switch to post-consumer waste (PCW) paper and packaging instead, which uses 45% less energy than traditional paper. You can also get your green credentials by setting up a sustainable supply policy. This initiative encourages you to work with environmentally preferred products and services that are less damaging. Start by asking printers for recycled paper options and replace outdated equipment with high-energy efficiency models. Teaming up with like-minded, green businesses is one of the best ways to promote your business as sustainable and reduce your environmental footprint.
Dig for Black Gold
Coffee is the essential ingredient for many employee's work days. Take a greener plunge by composting coffee grounds. This 'black gold' as well as tea bags, food scraps and used paper can be put into a compost system for the office. Coffee grounds are high in nutrients and therefore great for your garden. Use biodegradable coffee filters for an extra green tick. If you have the space, grow a small office garden and use the compost for that. If not, donate it to a local community garden.
Lighting makes a difference when it comes to efficiency and the happiness levels of workers. Yet, efficient workplace lighting is often an afterthought. Introduce natural light into the office, or upgrade fixtures to LEDs. Natural light will help to reduce a building's overall energy usage. Combined with greenery daylight can improve creativity, learning and promote human health and potential. Daylighting is the strategy of incorporating natural light into the workplace through placement of windows and reflective surfaces. It's critical for aligning your body with the natural cycles of day and night, ultimately supporting better sleep patterns and overall health.
Invest in Eco-Equipment
The purchase of highly efficient, eco-friendly equipment can be added to your sustainable product and supply policy. Carefully consider each office purchase. The fewer machines you use, the smaller your footprint. Check the energy consumption and rating and opt for multi-purpose machines to reduce cable clutter and encourage energy savings. When it is time to upgrade your old computer or electronics, dispose via a recycling program instead of putting in bins. Non-recycled electronic waste clogs up landfill. However, many computer manufacturers such as Dell and HP have recycling programs for outdated technology.
Purchase an Indoor Plant for Your Desk
As critical as daylight is to your working day, adding greenery is also full of natural benefits. Indoor plants are important for improving air quality and replenishing oxygen levels. Naturally, this boosts overall health and wellbeing and improves productivity and performance in the workplace. Purchase succulents and any plants that thrive well inside, or create a living wall for the ultimate design pleaser.
Introduce Flexible Work Policies
Thanks to today's technology, it's no longer necessary for many staff to work a typical 9-5 day in the office.In fact, working from your home office is another step towards sustainability. Flexible work policies can help business owners and employees create a more productive workspace. It also cuts down the carbon emissions normally produced to make your way into the office. Not everyone fits into the cubicle farm lifestyle. Many workers are also more productive when working from homeversus standard office hours. If you do have flexible working arrangements, make sure you invest in home office essentials. Creating a greener office is easier than you think. Implementing small changes every day can encourage big impacts, reducing waste, saving energy and minimising your environmental footprint. What sustainable work practices have you incorporated? Leave your comments below.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends G Force Printing – a Perth based printing company with more than 20 years' experience specialising in design and print services to make your business brand stand out from its competitors. You can catch her on Google+.