More and more businesses are opting for a greener approach to their operations. This means more than just being picky about your suppliers and materials, though. You can also implement green practices in your everyday office routines and encourage personnel to participate in initiatives and incentives to reduce your company's carbon footprint.
So, why create s sustainable workplace? Sustainable efforts can bring your team together, build a positive reputation for your business, and even save you money in the long run. Things like going paperless, rethinking your power sources, and recycling materials are examples of how you can take the first steps to creating a sustainable workplace.
While you're checking your ASC 606, consider how switching to a more sustainable business model can help your bottom line. In fact, research shows businesses who invest in sustainability perform better than companies that don't. The consumer market is growing more and more ethically aware and wants to purchase from businesses who agree with their morals and social outlooks. Developing an eco-friendly brand and advertising your efforts to make a difference for the planet can draw in this crowd and create new, loyal customers. Consumers will continue to move away from companies that are harmful to the environment, so make your business their next stop!
One of the first things that might come to mind when you hear the word "sustainable," is going paperless. Plenty of modern businesses are making the switch from consuming tons of paper a year to using online services or high-tech options to reduce their in-office paper use. You might have used a tablet to check in at your last doctor's appointment or an app to submit documents to your bank. These principles can be carried over to other businesses as well. There are tons of online database options for securely storing customer information, and these can also help you with marketing tasks like creating mailing lists or generating email newsletters. If your business is heavy on paper files, the transition may take some time, so be patient. It usually starts with scanning in the papers you have saved or forms you typically use so employees can still easily access the information. You'll also want to keep everything on a central server so employees can access what they need when they need it. Getting help from an IT professional can sometimes help ease this transition.
For some businesses, such as legal offices, going paperless isn't an option. Certain industries require you to keep physical copies of records and documents for a certain period of time. If you're not legally able to make the switch, don't worry! There's still an option for you. You can keep recycling bins around the office instead of trash cans so people can easily recycle old or unnecessary documents. Misprints and extra marketing handouts can even be cut up into strips for scrap paper if employees need to take notes or write to do lists at their desks. Reusing and recycling paper can make just as much of a difference as going paperless!
If you rent or own a small building for your office, then you might consider adding solar panels or investing in other types of alternative energy. Most businesses, though, are in larger buildings where these options just aren't feasible. However, just because you can't take advantage of alternative energy, doesn't mean you have to waste energy. One of the first places you can focus on is the temperature in your office building or suite. You want to make sure your employees are comfortable, first and foremost, but you also don't need to keep air conditioning blasting freezing air all day. Turning the thermostat up even just two or three degrees can greatly cut down your electricity use and your utility bill.
Another area to consider is your lighting. Office lighting stays on for the majority of the day, and in some places 24 hours, so you want to make sure it's not drawing undo power or harming the environment. Try switching all of your bulbs to energy efficient ones that will last longer and cost you less at the end of the month. LED lighting is another great option because it mimics sunlight and can actually boost productivity and mood in your employees. Additionally, for spaces such as the break room, conference rooms, or the bathroom, consider switching to motion sensor lights so those areas aren't lit all day and your meetings aren't left in the dark.
There are a number of ways to get your employees on board with a green initiative, but perhaps one of the most enticing is to set up a telecommute option for certain positions. Your employees contribute to carbon emissions every day just by driving to work, whether it's an hour-long commute or a ten-minute trip across town. You can help cut down on these emissions by creating work-from-home opportunities for the positions compatible with that set up. For example, if you have an administrative assistant that helps all remote executives, allow that person to work from home if they'd like. Research suggests switching people to telecommute roles can save companies up to $11,000 per person! That makes it great for morale and your bottom line. If your business model isn't conducive to having some employees work from home permanently, then you can implement "Green Days" as another alternative. These are days where the whole office would work from home to help cut down on carbon emissions and make an effort to better the planet.
The break room is another place where single use plastics and non-responsibly sourced foods can run rampant, ruining your company's attempt at bettering the planet. One great way to promote sustainability in the lounge is to brand a few reusable food or drink containers, such as stainless steel water bottles, reusable utensils, or reusable lunch bags. You should also be aware of what you're supplying for snacks. Vending machines can be a hotspot for paper and plastic that can't be recycled because it's been used with food. Instead, you could offer fruit or have lunch catered once a week from a local restaurant that shares your care for the environment. You can even incentivize people to create less waste by running contests or promotions that encourage them to eat healthy and use reusable food materials.
Even your office decor can help the environment and your employees. Scientists have found that adding plants to a workplace increases employee's happiness and productivity. They also help to release oxygen into the room and soak up harmful carbon dioxide from the air. This helps to clean the air and keep the atmosphere at the right balance of natural chemicals so it doesn't continue to erode. There's also the added bonus of adding a little extra color to your office space.
The bottom line is going green is good for business. Companies that stand up for the environment see higher profits and more customers than those that don't. If you want to take a more eco-friendly approach to business, then consider going paperless, recycling, choosing smart energy, allowing telecommute roles, restocking the break room, and adding plants to your workplace.
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