If you want a green office but don’t know where to start, we can share some advice!
As experienced commercial cleaners, we’ve seen lots and lots of offices over the years. Our teams have seen some outstanding sustainable workplaces – as well as plenty of others that have potential, but aren’t quite there yet.
A green office is resource-efficient and environmentally responsible. Green offices can help support Net Zero targets to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Sometimes, sustainability initiatives can be expensive – but many of our green office tips below are not only environmentally-friendly, they’re budget-friendly too.
Furthermore, taking some of these steps can actually save you money! Energy efficiency is also economically efficient after all.
Here are 9 of our favourite green office ideas for businesses:
#1 Go paperless
While some businesses do still need to print important hard copies of documents on paper, many don’t.
At a time when most office staff use laptops and smartphones at work, attending meetings in rooms with big screens, arguably there’s very little need for printouts.
Encourage employees to work on documents digitally. You’ll also save money on things like printers and ink cartridges!
#2 Replace your lighting
Older offices in particular have ageing lighting systems that may have made sense at the time, but are now very outdated.
If your office still uses fluorescent bulbs, replace them with LED bulbs. These use 75% less energy on average compared to standard fluorescent bulbs, according to EC4U.
Not only that, you should save some money too – potentially 62%! Sustainability in the workplace doesn’t have to be expensive.
#3 Use the thermostat sparingly
Some of your staff think the office is too hot, others think it’s too cold. It’s a classic debate – but it’s time to settle the argument, once and for all.
You can’t please everyone, but you can reduce your energy bill and the amount of carbon dioxide your office produces by taking a stand on the temperature.
Lowering thermostats by two degrees in winter and increasing it by two degrees in summer could help reduce approximately 2000 lbs of CO2 emissions each year, according to WWF.
#4 Decorate the office with plants
Instead of spending money on divisive artwork and internal branding, make the office look universally appealing – decorate it with green plants!
The right indoor plants won’t require much watering but will improve the air quality, providing a similar benefit to maintaining a clean office space.
Plants can make any office look attractive and an appealing office will also improve staff morale.
#5 Support greener commutes
If many of your employees drive independently to the office, there are lots of ways to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
For a low cost you could provide incentives for staff who walk, cycle, carpool or take public transport to work. If the office is in a hard-to-reach location, consider providing a private shuttle bus transfer service from the city centre.
Another option is to support staff wanting to enjoy the benefits of hybrid working, in turn reducing the number of employees commuting daily to your office.
#6 Turn things off when you leave
If you leave a room, turn the lights off. If you leave your computer, turn the screen off – these are some key principles for sustainable workspaces.
It’s easy, so it’s always a sad sight to walk by an empty office at night and see so many lights and screens still turned on, even though nobody’s there.
Computers should have a ‘sleep’ mode and motion detectors can ensure that the lights go off when no-one is around. Don’t wait for the cleaners to hit the switches!
#7 Avoid single-use products
Another important principle for a sustainable office is for staff to embrace reusability as much as possible.
Provide reusable water bottles and coffee cups for staff. Don’t rely on disposable cutlery for lunch, single-use packaging and so on.
While you can recycle plastics, there is a risk that too much of it is the ‘throwaway’ kind. Less than 10% of everyday plastic is recycled according to Greenpeace.
#8 Limit food waste
Speaking of lunch, it’s easy to waste food at work. Staff may love it when you provide free fruit, snacks or full meals – but what happens if they don’t eat it all?
Wasted food can contribute to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, reports WWF. But there are plenty of companies and charities that will take any extra food you have and give it to those who need it.
Again, don’t leave it for the cleaners to clear up – redistribute extra office food responsibly!
#9 Use green cleaning products
But if you don’t use the right commercial cleaners, then they may not have environmentally friendly products.
When commissioning a cleaning service for your office, ask about this. Check that their team will use eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
Final thoughts: Green office ideas for businesses
We hope the ideas above are giving you some inspiration for ways to embrace sustainability in the workplace.
And according to McKinsey, the journey to Net Zero could be lucrative for businesses. Their researchers estimate that supplying the services and goods for the transition could be worth £1 trillion to UK companies by 2030.
When leading a sustainable office initiative, one of the biggest challenges is the reliance on staff and the partners you work with to align on your vision. That goes for everyone – from your own employees, to the property manager, the cleaners and everyone in between.
At Think FM, our teams are dedicated to providing outstanding commercial cleaning services with sustainability at the forefront. We regularly monitor our supply chain and own practices to ensure our cleaning services stay sustainable – please get in touch for more details.
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