Turning the office into an environmentally conscious workplace isn’t nearly as daunting as some might have you believe. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you make the most of your space while conserving resources and protecting the environment at the same time.
Without question, one of the biggest wasted resources in any office is electricity. Artificial lighting accounts for 44% of electricity use in office buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Simply by changing all light bulbs to LED or CFL lighting, which can use up to 2/3 less energy, you can make a significant impact on the amount of energy your office uses. Because training employees to turn off lights when they leave the room can be more challenging than teaching high school calculus, installing motion detectors that will automatically turn lights off when a room is not in use is an effective way to save money, save electricity, and save the environment.
Computers are another source of wasted electricity. Even when powered down, computers continue to use energy as long as they are plugged in. Investing in energy saving monitors and using surge protectors for all electronics is a simple way to conserve electricity, as powering off for the day simply requires flipping a single switch instead of unplugging all desktop devices.
Paper is a big resource that is commonly used in unnecessary and sometimes outrageous quantities in every office. Didn’t print the right version of that document? Most people just hit ‘print’ again. Getting employees to change their mindset about how and when they print can be difficult, but there are ways to help in this department, too. To combat this, have a professional run an OS360 assessment and provide your office with recommendations to optimize your office print infrastructure, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. By streamlining your document management, you can lower your energy usage, paper consumption, and solid waste.
Employees also tend to copy with abandon, so encouraging double-sided copies is another paper saver. Perhaps take some time to reassess if copies are needed. In most cases, an electronically scanned file saved directly to your computer is a more reasonable option, and many copy machines will save a scanned file directly to a shared drive on your server, enabling you to share your document electronically as many times as necessary, all without making a single hard copy.
And let’s not forget the fax machine! Fax machines are outdated dinosaurs in the office world and we’re fairly certainly their time on this earth is limited. Newer copy machines are capable not only of scanning your document and saving an electronic copy, but also of faxing or emailing it wherever you need.
Paper and electricity aren’t the only components you should think about when attempting to make your office greener. Offering telecommuting and work-from-home positions when possible can save enormous amounts of fuel throughout the course of an employee’s time with your company, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The average commute time in America is 25 minutes, according to USA Today. Depending on whether you’re on the highway or taking local roads, your average commute can be anywhere from five to 25 miles one way. Based on average vehicle efficiency, that means commuters burn one-half to two gallons of fuel a day. Even telecommuting just one or two days a week can conserve considerable amounts of fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emission.
If having your employees work from home is simply not an option, create incentives for employees to carpool to work. Americans value their independence, and carpooling with a fellow employee often means having to give up the freedom to clock in or out when they wish. USA Today reports that 76% of Americans drive alone in their commute. Offering incentives like extra vacation hours or a complimentary lunch may encourage employees to take up ride-sharing.
Cloud-Based Document Management
While those are the most effective ways to help your office embrace a greener future, there are many other, smaller ways to make the change. Use cloud-based document management system. Ditch Styrofoam and paper coffee cups and provide ceramic mugs for the break room. Donate old electronic office equipment to programs like those offered by CDR Global instead of throwing them away. Provide recycling bins not only for paper, but also for plastic, aluminum, and glass in the break room Ensure that the office cleaning company uses nontoxic “green” products that won’t harm the environment.
Whether big or small, there are tons of ways to be proactive about making your office a "greener" place to work, and however you choose to make a difference, the environment thanks you! If you’re interested in managed services for your office, contact us today.