5 Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Workplace

FRANCIS KEATING

Environmental, Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

We are supposed to be exiting from the biggest recession in recent memory and here’s another member of the sandal brigade telling you that your business should go green or become a more eco-friendly workplace. You have more important issues to deal with and dedicating time, resources and manpower into becoming green doesn’t make sense. Actually, it makes perfect business sense becoming greener, aside from the obvious moral obligation to do your bit to help poor old mother nature, going green helps us to streamline, become more efficient and allows your business to tap into an ever growing green customer base. Numerous reports and studies from reputable organisations such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that companies have increased their profits by embracing sustainability.

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“Businesses who commit to being green are reaping the rewards economically, socially and morally”

Business can opt for one or more different approaches when choosing to become green. For example, a company may choose to initially invest in more expensive methods of sustainable operation which will hopefully make returns in the form of higher yields and lower costs. Alternatively, a business can begin by making small changes in its operations which are free or relatively inexpensive and which will again lead to lower costs, higher yields and greater profit.

The following are some eco-friendly workplace tips that even the smallest of companies can use. Admittedly, each company is unique and only you will know how best to adopt these tips into your business.

1. Get the base line

I don’t mean go and listen to some funky bass grooves, rather, find out where you are at with regard to your environmental performance. This can be as easy as recording your energy or water usage by reading the meter and recording them on a spreadsheet. Take a walk around your operation with the green glasses on. You will be amazed at how easy it is to spot areas for improvement when you have the green glasses on. Look for lights being left on needlessly, do the same with electrical appliances such as computers, copiers and printers etc. Look for doors or windows that are left open allowing heat to escape. Conversely, look for people sweating buckets in the middle of winter, your thermostat might need adjusting, thus saving a few shillings. Have a good rummage in your bin, are you recycling? If so, are you doing it properly? Remember, your business is unique and you are the expert when it comes to knowing your business.

2. All aboard for an eco-friendly workplace

If everyone is not on board the green train, the chances of success are slim to none. Being green means that everyone, top down and bottom up need to play their part. One way of helping to achieve this is through knowledge. Empower your employees, all of your employees, by providing training in environmental awareness, management and improvement. Here at EazySAFE, we provide online Environmental Awareness training which highlights how employees activities, the materials or products they use and create, can harm the environment.

3. The Red Light

I’m referring to the little standby light on most appliances that is costing you money. Turn things off when they are not being used including lights, computers, monitors, photocopiers and printers. Turn off the heating or air conditioning when it is not needed like on weekends, bank holidays, etc. These small measures will help you to do your bit for the planet but will also lighten your next utility bill.

4. Digitize

I know it is rather heart warming to occasionally receive a hand written letter on fine writing paper but why oh why are we still using paper to communicate trivial matters such as dinner invitations and letters of resignation, ok maybe not that trivial but you get the point. Some communication will probably always need to be sent in the traditional way but email can be and should be used for most communication, internally or externally. Not only will you help save a few trees but you will reduce costs, both financial and environmental, associated with printing and postage.

5. Change the Lightbulb

This measure will cost a bit but you are guaranteed pay back and more, therefore a little patience is needed. Retrofitting of lights means replacing bulbs with counterparts that use energy more efficiently thus saving you a wad of cash. LED lighting can do the same job as CFLs or incandescent bulbs but LED is much more energy efficient. Depending on the size of your operation, to completely replace all lighting with LED will cost anything from a few hundred bucks to hundreds of thousands or more. But, you will get pay back and indeed save money through reduced utility costs and all the while doing your bit to help mother nature. Remember that retrofitting can also be applied to other areas such as your windows and doors. Again the only downside is the initial outlay but you will get your money back within a relatively short period due to savings in energy costs.

So there you have it, 5 relatively simple ways of becoming a more eco-friendly workplace. There are of course numerous other ways of improving your environmental performance. You may choose to invest heavily or you may wish to begin by doing the small things, that will depend on you and your circumstances. But remember that businesses who commit to being green are reaping the rewards economically, socially and morally. And finally, I don’t wear sandals except for holidays and special occasions.

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Going Green at Work

Governments, businesses and private citizens are coming together in an effort to leave behind a better world for future generations. Businesses can do their bit to help in this global effort while also benefiting the local environment in which they operate.

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