2016 is set to become the hottest year on record, indicating that we’re feeling the effects of global warming and adds a renewed push globally to think about how green we’re being, especially at the office.
Apart from our homes we spend most of our time at work, whether that’s in serviced offices, co-working spaces, or big office buildings. Office workers in the UK spend around 5 years of their lives sat at their desk. Surely it’s time we think about our office, it’s effect on us, our colleagues and our environment.
Here are three quick, easy, and cheap ways that could help cut your carbon footprint and might just make your office a better place to work.
Hit the off switch
According to the Carbon Trust, office equipment accounts for around 20% of energy consumption in the workplace.
Sounds simple, but switching off a single office light at the end of the working day can save enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost 5 months. Speaking of lights, switching to energy efficient light bulbs, such as CFL and LED bulbs, will make them last much longer, and they will use less energy.
To switch off, you need to be switched on. Have clear and concise rules about who switches off what. Serviced offices provider, Easy Offices point out that there are some clear ways we should be more energy efficient in the office, including complete shutdowns of computers and non-essential electricals at the end of every day. You could have someone who is responsible for checking plugs for the office, such as a last one out rule, or make it the responsibility of each individual and carry out checks every week. This is particularly important in serviced offices where there are numerous individual businesses and personal computers.
Unplugging computers is something we can do that takes up only a small amount of time, and very little effort. It will even save you money in the long run on electrical bills. Even by putting your laptop on sleep mode while you’re not using it, you can save up to 70% of its electricity consumption. Add on that extra 30% saved by switching off at the end of the day and you’re really working to minimise wasted energy in your office.
Encourage employees to recycle
Recycling at work is a simple idea but it takes commitment to implement. Making sure office employees are aware of the correct bins to use, as well as what they can actually place within them, will require putting up clear signs and regularly enforcing the rules.
If you’re in a serviced office, ask the manager what they can recycle or if they can implement a policy. The company that provides your cleaning and waste services can often have a big effect on how eco-friendly your office is. It’s useful to find a company such as Ideal Cleaning who provide office equipment cleaning as well as just cleaning of the office space. It may not be the most obvious solution but maintaining this equipment could make it last way longer, reducing the amount of equipment you have to throw away. Pitch these ideas to your employer – it may be difficult, but there is no reason why you can’t the catalyst for change in even a rented office environment.
Offices also build up a fair amount of food waste, which you might not think to try and recycle. Tea bags and fruit peelings are recyclable, and can even be cheaper than sending food waste to the landfill.
But it’s not all about being a rule maker. You can get creative with your work recycling too, some offices even use old discarded cds (remember them?) as coffee cup coasters. Reuse is a particularly good way of being green and can even let you and your colleagues have a bit of fun crafting.
Whatever way you choose to tackle your office’s carbon footprint, make sure everyone’s involved. Like any successful venture, communication and teamwork are key.
Revolutionise your commute
Not all the energy waste happens in the office. Your commute has a huge impact on the environment and potential knock on effects on your health.
If you drive to work, why not car-share? Riding to work with a colleague will immediately reduce the impact of your commute on the environment by 50%. It will also cut congestion, pollution and costs that usually accompany the daily drive into work.
Small businesses owners and startups can help reduce their impact, staying a bit more on the green side by looking at serviced offices or meeting rooms. If you don’t need to have an office, or a space to meet clients on a daily basis or only seasonally, then maybe you don’t need a permanent space. This will minimise your carbon footprint and save you travel time.
Even better than ride-sharing, or even public transport, is ditching the harmful fuel burning altogether. Cycling or walking into work will not only help tackle a sedentary lifestyle but could also help your bank balance too.