While most employees make attempts to be energy efficient in their homes their environmental conscience tends to be less active once they get to work. It’s up to office managers and employers to bring green attitudes to the workplace.
According to research by consultants Logicalis, nearly 60% of workers would become more energy efficient at work if employers took the initiative. By adopting sensible measures to run a greener office, businesses can save thousands of pounds on their annual energy bills and reduce the carbon dioxide they emit.
Any office should create and adopt an environmental policy which not only encourages more energy efficient practice, but actually makes these positive changes a conscious part of the company work ethic. To do this, the correct incentives and facilities need to be in place so workers can and will be more energy efficient in the office.
While, according to Logicalis, 94% of workers surveyed turn their lights off at home, only 66% thought about doing the same at work. Turning the lights off all too often gets ignored by offices, whose lights continue to shine even after everyone has gone home.
Make it company policy that whoever is last in the building, switches off the lights. Indeed, whenever workers leave a room, the lights should be turned off. Also, where possible, install energy efficient or energy saving light bulbs.
A lot of energy wastage comes from old and inefficient equipment. When it comes to budgeting for new office items, consider investing in ones that are better for the environment. This can be as small as purchasing a more energy efficient kettle, new office lamps, or printers that print paper on both sides. In the long term, office managers should also consider the effectiveness of often ill working air conditioning systems.
Investing in new technology such as video conferencing equipment is a great way of connecting people across the world without an expensive and gas guzzling flight. Simpler additions to the office will also assist in its becoming more environmentally friendly. Instead of using paper cups for water, a set of glasses or mugs for workers to use aren’t just better for the environment – they’re much nicer to drink from too!
It’s not only lights that need to be switched off at night. So too does every other piece of equipment in the office. In the same Logicalis survey, almost half said they would leave IT equipment on standby at work. In contrast, 85% of workers would switch off their computers at home.
Encourage workers to carry on their energy efficient habits in the workplace. Send reminder emails to employees reminding them to turn off their computers at the end of each working day or unplug their mobile phone chargers. Make someone in the office responsible for switching off equipment each week, and offer incentives to those that complete the job well. Even colourful posters around the office will give people a helpful daily reminder.
Businesses should be aware of the amount of waste they produce every year, and seek ways to reduce this. All businesses have a legal duty to provide arrangements for waste disposal. There is usually a charge for commercial waste collection, so reducing how much waste needs to go to landfill will also save money.
Offering workers a good recycling service is one way of doing this. There are many commercial recycling services available that will offer a weekly collection of paper and other materials directly from the office. Designate a small area in the office where people can place their items.
Also encourage reuse of paper by ensuring that employees use the other side of each sheet of paper when printing. Importantly, try and encourage electronic rather than paper based communication. By making energy efficient habits part of the company culture, it won’t take long for workers to create a more efficient office as a whole very quickly. It’s important to lead by example and to get involved in the same energy saving activities as everyone else. It’s no good if employees can see that you’re not making the same effort. Offering incentives – a work night out, extra facilities or a competition – is also a great way of kick starting a green campaign.