“Going green” has often been treated as a righteous albeit abstract and almost unrealistic concept, especially for the everyday businesses. Sustainability has never been more important than it is now, though. Many companies have the platform and visibility to enact positive changes both within their communities in the office and at large. However, many avoid converting their business into a more sustainable one because, truthfully, besides being set in their ways, sustainable change is no easy feat — in fact, it takes a lot of work. There are baby steps, though, that any business can take to contribute to sustainability. Here are just a few.
1. Mind your lighting
LED light bulbs will help reduce your office’s environmental impact whilst lowering your utility bill. Another trending alternative is motion-sensing lighting, which is useful for when employees forget to turn the lights off. Test out several bulbs and lighting solutions to find the one that is ideal for your space and doesn’t hinder productivity. While reducing energy consumption is important, it will all be for naught if you can’t properly light your office.
2. Conserve energy
One of the easiest and most effective ways your business can reduce its environmental impact is to turn off or unplug electronics that aren’t in use. In fact, it’s so simple that most overlook this consideration. Make it the responsibility of the employee last to leave to turn off all of the lights and electronics. Even in a small office environment, there can be several electronics and utilities that can be turned off or unplugged: printers, televisions, monitors, microwaves, coffee machines, and so on. Another measure well worth taking is to monitor your heating and cooling systems. If possible, install ceiling fans to cool rooms during the warmer months, and redistribute heat during the cooler ones.
3. Change up your commute and reduce travel
Carbon emissions via transportation is one of the most palpable effects commuter life has on the environment. Thanks to modern technology and shifting office norms, however, we can easily alter our carbon footprint on a day-to-day basis. If you can’t take advantage of sustainable alternatives such as bike, foot, electric motorcycle, or green public transportation, you can look into telecommuting. Even if work from home or remote business conferencing isn’t an everyday option, anytime you can substitute travel by plane, car, or train is a win.
4. Recycle your paper
Businesses big and small alike gleefully underestimate the amount of paper they waste. We don’t think much about going through a stack of post-it notes or printing out multiple drafts of proposals for editing. However, if you stop to think about the amount of handwritten and printed documents that go into the trash each day — that’s a whole lot of waste and empty recycling bins. Luckily, this is an easy and economical problem to tackle in your office. For one, place recycling bins next to trash cans in order to encourage mindful waste disposal. Secondly, educate your employees on how to print on both sides of each sheet of paper. You can also explore your printer’s print settings; most come with an economy setting that uses less ink. Lastly, encourage employees to only print documents when imperative; otherwise, they should work digitally.
5. Look into establishing a digital filing system
Cloud-based options prove to be the best because they’re paperless, don’t require extra hardware, and provide added security measures. Further, cloud-based software allows employees access on multiple devices from any location. Besides reducing waste, switching to a digital filing system will help free up space that was once taken up by filing cabinets and other storage. Also, there’s the added convenience of having the entire system at the tips of your fingers: no longer will you have to shuttle papers back and forth!
At the end of the day, a company is a business and business necessitates tangible benefits. Unfortunately, many have the preconceived notion that “going green” is too expensive. Although sustainability is a business investment, it is one that will pay off in the long run by increasing revenue and lowering expenses all the while saving the planet. There are many benefits –emotional and economical — to adopting socially responsible business practices. Though you may experience pushback, rest assured that research is on your side trying to convince your office superiors it’s a worthwhile cause to pursue.
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP and GetCRM — trusted VoIP and CRM comparison resources that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. With a 10-year track record in building, growing and strategically shaping operational functionality in all his ventures, Reuben assists SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure.