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How green is your workplace?

How green is your workplace?

17/6/24, 10:00 pm

With more global workers than ever now prioritising environmental sustainability in their job searches, there’s never been a better time to go green. These 10 simple steps will set you on the right path.

If you’re looking to attract and retain staff, employee benefits, perks and packages can only take you so far. Today’s worker is now looking at how green a company is, factoring in an employer's sustainability efforts to their job searches.

According to a survey conducted on behalf of global hygiene company Essity, 83 percent of employees want to see a more environmentally friendly office. The Tork Eco Office Survey, which surveyed 14,000 employees in seven countries across Europe and in the US, also found that more than three-quarters of workers in the States now prioritise how sustainable a company is when looking for a new job.

10 steps to a greener workplace

To help you improve your own office’s efforts, follow these simple guidelines to help increase your environmental performance.

1. Reduce printing

Is printing really necessary? Going paperless in your office is a great way to not only lower your paper usage and reduce your carbon footprint, but also increase productivity. In fact, it’s thought that the typical office worker spends an estimated 30–40 percent of their day searching for printed documents!

2.⁠ ⁠Up your recycling efforts

Ensuring your office is suitably kitted out with recycling bins will drastically improve your eco efforts. Make sure staff have access to a blue bin for paper and cardboard, yellow for recyclables such as plastics, glass and cans, and red for general waste. Check if food waste collection (burgundy bin) is also an option in your area. Don’t forget problematic items too like batteries, electronic waste and toner cartridges – there are many companies now offering solutions to dispose of these efficiently.

3.⁠ ⁠Use video conferencing to reduce travel

Many workers got on the Zoom bandwagon in the height of the pandemic, whether it was for a company WIP meeting or an after-hours quiz event. Keep the momentum going and look at hosting online meetings and using other online collaboration tools to reduce unnecessary corporate travel.

4.⁠ ⁠Switch off lights

If your office has manual light switches, ensure these are switched off in areas not in use, and especially at the end of the working day. It can help to print off small stickers or signs as helpful reminders for staff.

5.⁠ ⁠Make smarter buying choices

A few small changes can have a big impact. For example, when replenishing your office stationery, look for items that are made from sustainable or recycled materials, such as bamboo and cork. This mindset can even extend to bigger items such as office furniture. Look for products made with recycled content to reduce use of natural resources, or even look at secondhand to give items destined for landfill a new lease on life.

6.⁠ ⁠Reduce single-use items

Ditch the paper and plastic plates, cups and cutlery and, instead, kit your kitchen area out with reusables. And, if your workspace has a dishwasher, ensure it’s full before it’s run (and, if you’re in the market for a new one, choose a model with a minimum 4-star water efficiency rating).

7.⁠ ⁠Report any faults

Don’t ignore any drips, leaks, draughts and flickering lights – they could be costing you hundreds. Report any faults to the appropriate person or department as soon as possible to get things fixed and operating as efficiently as possible.

8.⁠ ⁠Activate power-saving settings

Enabling power-saving settings on office electrical equipment such as desktops, laptops, printers and photocopiers can help reduce energy usage – and take just a couple of minutes to set up.

9.⁠ ⁠Explore reuse and donation options

Planning an office refurb? Don’t ditch your desks. There are a growing number of organisations who will take office furniture that’s still in good condition off your hands, so that it can be reused elsewhere.

10.⁠ ⁠Educate staff

Lastly, all these simple measures are no use if your employees aren’t aware of them. Raise these steps at your regular team catch-ups to encourage staff to get behind them. You never know – it could be the spark needed to open up the wider conversation and help you identify further opportunities to improve performance.

Time to get started

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