Sustainability is a term we’re hearing more and more often, but do we truly understand what it means and how do we as business owners incorporate this into our office?!
There are so many ways you can be sustainable and so many reasons as to why. Let’s start with the obvious, to help our planet. We are all being put under pressure to think about the environment, especially when we’re faced with images of oceans filled with plastic, the effect that energy wastage is having on the world and that scientists are telling us we have to act now. So, no wonder sustainability features high on lots of people’s agendas and triggering that feeling of corporate responsibility to take action.
Therefore, it goes without saying that we would all feel a morale boost by incorporating sustainability into our everyday lives.
What does sustainability mean?
There isn’t any agreed definition. But if you take the definition from the world’s first Earth Summit it means: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
When it comes to sustainable offices you should interpret it how you feel you can best achieve it. Let’s face it, we don’t all have the budgets to rebuild our buildings from scratch and some could argue just how environmentally conscious that really is. Therefore, we’ve put together a few simple tips on how you can make your office more sustainable without breaking the bank.
When you’re thinking of replacing your furniture consider how environmentally friendly the materials are. How far they have travelled to be in your office? How long will they last? What manufacturing process have they been through?
Implementing a recycling policy into the office can have a big impact with minimal effort. You can do this by simply ensuring that all paper and kitchen waste is recycled, purchase plates, mugs and glasses that can be reused, change any paper subscriptions to online only and program your printers to print two sided, using recycled paper if possible. Can you get your office more paperless?
By reducing energy usage not only are you helping the environment, it also helps to save money. There are simple changes that can be made to prevent wastage, such as making sure computers & TV’s switch to standby when not being used, implementing notices to remind people to switch lights off and look at switching to LED energy saving bulbs. Speaking of lighting, one of the best ways to reduce costs would be to put energy saving systems throughout your whole building, as these lights can reduce your energy costs by up to 70% and it will improve productivity by creating a lighter and brighter environment for people to work in.
You could consider encouraging people to cycle to work. Installing showers and lockable bike areas can help with this. Not only is this a greener way for people to travel to work it is also a great way for employees to keep fit. There are some great government schemes to help incentivise this, such as the cycle-to-work scheme.
Consider all elements of your procurement process. Are your suppliers local? How environmentally friendly are their products? Do they have a sustainability policy?
Introducing plants into the office have a number of proven benefits, they can purify the air in the office and are aesthetically pleasing. Consider glass offices to help natural light flood rooms rather than lots of artificial lighting. By looking at the environment your employees work in, you can help reduce stress and staff sickness.
Get your employees involved. Perhaps consider creating an environmental officer within the company who can help to brainstorm some ideas with staff and create a green team culture. Talk about what you are doing in an internal newsletter, then let others know by putting a policy or statement on your website.
When it comes to going green it’s all about changing everyone’s behavior and the steps above are a great start! A green office is a happy office! If you want more information on the above features, or how we can help you create a sustainable office get in touch! Our team is always happy to talk you through different options.