Working in an office for seven plus hours a day can lead to sedentary and wasteful habits. Here are some ways of creating a greener office that are easy, economical and healthy too.
When not in use, make sure to turn equipment and appliances off or put into sleep mode such as computers, photocopy machines, printers, scanners, and coffee machines. Computers are one of the office staples that consume the most energy. If you are going to be away from your computer for an extended period, shut it down. If going to a quick meeting or lunch, put it into sleep mode and shut off the monitor. Make sure all lights and computers are turned off when everybody goes home.
Make sure to recycle whatever you can in the office from used papers to cardboard and any packaging. Reuse the blank side of a used paper, if possible, for drafts. Also when printing or copying, use both sides of the paper. When purchasing printing paper, post it notes, notepads, envelopes and any other paper products, choose products that use recycled content or are tree free.
Avoid using toxic detergents for cleaning. There are many commercial, eco-friendly cleaning products now available that do the job just as well. It will reduce the amount of toxins in the air left by toxic chemicals.
Instead of choosing a typical hamburger for lunch, why not have something healthier and wholesome? Pack your own lunch from leftovers or make something easy to go. Avoid using paper or plastic bags and invest in a reusable lunch container.
Buy fair-trade and organic tea and coffee. Avoid using styrofoam cups for hot drinks and encourage people to bring their own mugs or provide reusable company mugs and water bottles. This will not only be great inner office branding but will cut down significantly on the amount of waste that comes from your kitchenette. If disposable cups are a necessity, purchase ones that are made using some, if not all, recycled content. Instead of purchasing individual packs of sugar and other condiments and bottled water, switch to bulk, as it reduces the amount of packaging waste.
Every 30 minutes to an hour, encourage co-workers to get up and walk for five minutes. Whether it be to go fill up their water bottle, go outside to get some Vitamin D, or to have an in-person conversation, some movement oriented activity should be happening. The body is designed to move and being sedentary all day leads to sluggishness, decreased efficiency, and irritability. If your office has a nap area, take advantage of that, as 10-20 minute power naps will boost both energy and awareness.
By instilling these green habits in the office, everyone becomes an agent for a healthier, happier, and more productive work environment.