So, you’ve gotten your whole family involved in recycling, installed energy efficient appliances and significantly cut back on your energy use at home. Now what? If you really want to go green, consider making changes at the office, too. Get your co-workers involved with these eco-conscious efforts to go green in the workplace:
Use green materials.
The most eco-conscious way to use paper is not to use it at all. But, that can be difficult when certain work-related items need to be put in print. Ask the office manager to buy recycled paper with the least amount of chlorine beaching possible. Go green with other office supplies, too, such as refillable pens and pencils, envelopes made out of recycled materials and eco-friendly cleaners. These supplies aren’t more expensive, poorer quality or harder to find, so making this switch will be easy for everyone involved.
Cut down on printing.
Talk to your co-workers about only using the printer when it’s absolutely necessary. Employees should review documents on the computer instead of printing them. Ask your manager to send a meeting agenda to attendees ahead of time instead of providing paper copies for everyone during the meeting. When you do have to print documents, make sure to use both sides of the paper. If the paper jams or the ink smudges, instead of throwing away the piece of paper, keep it on your desk to use as scratch paper for jotting down a to-do list or taking notes during a meeting. If everyone is on board with these small changes, you will be able to significantly cut down on your office’s use of paper.
Turn it off.
Some office workers have a habit of leaving their computers on at night so they can jump right back into work the next morning without having to wait for everything to load. However, leaving your computer on—or any device, for that matter—can be a huge waste of energy. Make sure that everyone powers down their computer when they leave for the evening. Talk to your manager to discuss turning off everything for the night including copiers, printers and fax machines, too.
Work from home.
Does your office have a telecommuting policy? Many employers are now allowing workers to either work from home some of the time or permanently. Not only does this lead to higher job satisfaction, but it can also help reduce your employer’s carbon footprint since everyone won’t be traveling to work and polluting the air. If your office does not have a work from home policy, talk to management about allowing it once a week or once every other week. Managers may be open to trying it out on a trial basis to see how employees handle the change before making it an official policy. If your idea gets rejected, don’t worry! Try arranging an office carpool so you can cut down on carbon emissions by riding to work together.
How do you go green at office? Share your suggestions in the comments below!