Whether it’s by carrying your coffee in a travel mug, loading your groceries in reusable shopping bags or cycling to work, chances are you’re among the millions of people making a concerted effort to reduce your ecological footprint. As independent retailers and business owners, you are also in a unique position to take your environmentally friendly efforts to the next level. Not only does promoting a greener workplace provide a healthier and more sustainable environment for employees, it can also save your business a ton of money. Here are a few simple but effective ways to go greener in the workplace.
Start the day off smart. The path to an ecofriendly workplace actually begins before your employees even arrive at the office. To help reduce the carbon footprint in your town or city, encourage your staff to find alternative ways to commute such as cycling, walking or using public transportation. For those who must drive, try organizing a carpool schedule; if you need help convincing your employees it’s a great idea, simply remind them of the gas money and transportation costs they’ll be saving.
If it’s not being used, turn it off. It may seem obvious, but one of the biggest energy suckers is electronics. With all those computers, printers, copy machines and who knows what else, it’s important to utilize their energy-saving settings and ensure they’re either shut off or in hibernation mode when not in use. Unplugging some of the lesser-used machines when they’re idle can also save electricity. And, of course, make sure employees turn the lights off when they leave a room.
Healthy workplace = happy workers. For a general feeling of wellbeing in the office, try adding a couple of plants around the office; not only do they filter the air, but they can also provide a calming effect. Additionally, get rid of any toxic cleaners or air fresheners and opt for the natural ones. And for the next staff lunch or catered meeting, try avoiding pizza and donuts and bring in something local, organic and sustainable. Not only is it a healthier and more environmentally friendly way to eat, but you’ll also help employees dodge the mid-afternoon food coma that comes with greasy, heavy foods!
Cut down on the paper trail. Snail mail is so yesterday! Since most people check their email several times a day, it’s easier, faster and more cost-effective to send things like invoices and newsletters electronically than it is to pay for postage and mail them. Placing bins around the workplace will also make recycling easier and more convenient. In cases that you absolutely must print something, use the ‘double-sided’ option whenever possible and feed your printer 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper. You can also compost kitchen scraps and switch to cloth towels and napkins if you’re extra eager!
Lighten up. Did you know that LED products last up to 25 times longer and use 75 per cent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs? Due to their compact size, durability and longevity, they are used everywhere from traffic lights to brake lights to TVs – so why not hop on the bandwagon? Switching to LED lights can also increase productivity, as they’re known to be easier on the eyes than regular lights.