As a recent Compass Offices survey demonstrates (we’re spending longer at our desks than ever before. However, many of us are also increasingly embracing a more health-conscious lifestyle, which can often be at odds with an office environment. We take a look at four easy ways to improve your eco-footprint at work and bring sustainability into the workplace, making a difference to the planet and your wellbeing.
What are some sustainable office solutions?
Sustainable office solutions include using energy-efficient equipment, reducing paper usage, promoting recycling, and using eco-friendly products. Using natural light instead of artificial light and turning off appliances when not in use are also effective ways to conserve energy in the workplace. These small changes can go a long way in promoting sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of your office.
Reuse, reduce, recycle
The “Three Rs” are the keystones of green living, but can be hard to implement in everyday office life. Start simple by, wherever possible, reusing waste paper, for example old printer paper can be used for note-taking; reducing your office’s plastic waste burden by using refillable ceramic cups, and recycling printer toner, metal cans and paper. Consider also refusing; avoid takeout cups and plastic stirrers, buy only the stationery cupboard essentials and avoid printing emails.
Reducing your office’s electricity consumption helps the environment and the budget too. Encourage the entire team to switch off unnecessary lights, or else consider fitting automatic movement sensors and low-energy bulbs. Turning up the air conditioning thermostat by a couple of degrees makes for a more comfortable working environment, while ceiling fans will cool a room using dramatically reduced power consumption. These days, most computers will have energy saver modes –make sure that these are switched on throughout the office, and remind everybody to power down, rather than standby, at the end of each day.
Replacing chemical-heavy cleaners with green alternatives may sound like hard work, but there are plenty of natural options that are just as effective as traditional products, many of which will also freshen up stale, recycled air that circulates through air conditioners, picking up bacteria along the way. White vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda are all effective, eco-friendly and cheap cleaning agents that can be used to clean desks, windows and even keyboards – most of which actually contain more bacteria than a toilet seat (which is food for thought the next time you eat lunch at your desk!). If the full DIY option isn’t practical, most supermarkets now carry a range of environmentally conscious brands
By committing to one entirely vegetarian day per week, we can help to slow down the effects of climate change by reducing the amount of CO2 produced by beef production. This is the principle behind the burgeoning Meatless Mondays movement, and another very easy way to improve the eco-outlook of your office. Not only are weekly meat-free office lunches good for the planet, but you’ll also boost morale and improve everyone’s health too. Incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. By choosing to eat green, we can make a positive impact on both our personal health and the health of the planet. So next time you're planning your meals, consider adding more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins to your plate!