Building A Planet Kind Office
Human impact on the planet is greater than ever. As NASA reports 418 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and 427 billion metric tons of ice sheet lost each year - alongside a steep increase in extreme weather around the globe - we know that the time to act is now.
By minimising the emissions produced from our workplaces we can all play our part in limiting our carbon footprint, and helping protect our planet and the entire global community. The bigger the reach of our operation, the more of a responsibility we have to make a conscious effort to achieve a carbon neutral or even carbon negative status.
Whilst it can feel overwhelming to know where to start in becoming a more eco-friendly workplace, some basic steps can really make all the difference in lessening your harm on our planet. From small independent businesses to vast supply chains in our world of international trade, getting the basics right is essential.
Reduce Energy Use
Reducing our energy use is crucial to a more eco-friendly space. However, living in a digital world can make it increasingly difficult to minimise our energy usage. From lighting and heating office spaces, to charging devices and technology that requires constant power supply, there’s a lot of power needed in our daily lives.
That said, there are some opportunities to reduce energy use that can make all the difference. For instance, ensuring devices are switched off instead of left on sleep mode overnight can save energy with no change to your working practices. Adjusting your devices to use a power-saving battery mode as standard can also limit energy use.
Upgrading office elements that use electricity - from light bulbs to desktops - can all add up to make a difference, too. Using energy-efficient or LED light bulbs alongside increasing natural light in your workspace and upgrading to the latest desktop technology will greatly reduce your energy usage - and save you money on utility bills, as well!
Embrace Renewable Energy
Whilst reducing your energy usage can limit your carbon footprint, switching to a renewable energy provider can ensure that the energy you do use is coming from cleaner, renewable sources, instead of fossil fuels.
Renewable energy providers use wind and solar energy, exclusively or in part alongside traditional energy, to generate electricity. By becoming less reliant on fossil fuels for energy generation, we can see less release of their harmful byproducts into the atmosphere. You could also consider installing solar panels in your building to generate power directly.
Switch To Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
Adapting to eco-friendly office supplies can be a great daily step to reduce your carbon emissions as a business. You can look to lessen the plastic used in packaging, purchase second-hand or refurbished hardware, purchase recycled stationery, or switch to more natural cleaning products with less damaging chemicals.
Individually, these actions may seem small, but taken together, these can ensure your office supplies are reliably planet-friendly. Whether you’re a small business owner working from home and ordering as an individual, or a large national company, it may be worth looking to sign up on account with a reliable office supplies provider who can advise on the best eco-friendly manufacturers.
How we dispose of our waste is one of the biggest factors in minimising our negative impact. Make sure you’re making the most of your recycling opportunities, and clearly circulating that information with all employees. Having easy to use recycling stations within reach around your workspace can also make a huge difference in encouraging everyone to recycle as much as possible.
From glass to cardboard, plastic, metal, electricals, and even batteries, more and more of our materials are now becoming widely recyclable. Make sure to check what is recyclable in your area and how you can safely dispose of these items, and share this information as widely as possible with those you work with.
Aim for a Paperless Office
Despite living and working in an increasingly digital world, a lot of us still rely heavily on physical documents and printing of digital files. While this is sometimes unavoidable, try to find ways to advance towards becoming wholly paperless, and adjust your working practices accordingly.
In areas where we feel it is unavoidable to use paper, it may be worth reassessing. It may be that we are stuck in the habit of printing and using physical documents, and haven’t actually considered what is most efficient or useful for us. Digital documents have the advantage of being accessible anywhere, widely - sharable, and allow many people to work at one time - even if working in different countries!
Limit Travel Miles
Whether working from home more, decreasing travel for meetings, or limiting the air or road miles needed to bring office supplies to you, limiting your air miles is another great hack to make your workspace more eco-friendly.
Where travel is essential, look for the most planet-kind way: replace your car miles with train journeys, or buy locally instead of internationally. When we start to make small changes and see how painless they are to make, we can feel empowered in making greater adaptations. Creating an eco-friendly workspace is easier than you think!