Sustainability is a topic that every industry should be looking at as we enter a new year, especially in office design.
Designers can use their expertise and skill to create a working space that utilises recyclable products and incorporates natural elements, but it’s also business owners and employers that need to stand up and look at new ways to be sustainable in the working environment.
Reduce and Reuse
There are lots of steps that you can take to make your business more sustainable, but one of the easiest is making sure your office has recycling bins. They should be next to the normal rubbish bins and clearly labelled – the more visible they are to the eye, the more obliged your staff members will be to use them.
Reduce your energy output by installing energy-efficient light bulbs which will significantly reduce your energy use too. However, make sure the lights are switched off if no-one’s in the office and take advantage of the natural light from the windows during the day – it could also save you a lot of money on lighting costs too.
Go for equipment that covers more than one job, so you have less plastic to throw away and replace when it breaks. Multi-functional devices can cover a lot more tasks, and as they are shared among the office, people are less likely to use them unless they really need to. You should also look at furnishings that do not require a lot of maintenance and purchase eco-conscious products made with recycled materials.
Also, check unnecessary areas of the office aren’t being heated and ensure your water pipes aren’t leaking anywhere either.
Paper is an essential part to the working environment, but its wastage and high turnover is damaging to the planet. It’s important to encourage less printing and digitalise documents that could be paperless, so they can simply be sent in an email or accessed online.
If using paper is vital to your business, and going paperless may mess up your company’s system, then it’s best to switch to using recycled paper and recycle your own paper too.
Talk it Out
Sit the team down and brainstorm ideas that could aid in your business’s journey to be more sustainable. It’s not only a team building activity, but one of your employees may have some really good ideas as you begin to discuss and generate a plan.
It’s also important to encourage your team to live in an environmentally friendly away in and out of the office. You could install a bike shed and inspire your employees to cycle to work, instead of commuting by the bus or train.
Think Outside the Box
There are more ways to be sustainable in the working space than you think – come up with new and exciting ways to help the environment. You could have work water flasks, so people will be less tempted to purchase plastic bottles and be healthier or stock the stationary cupboard with reusable pens, so employees aren’t throwing away disposable products.