We all want to be more David Attenborough. From using less plastic and buying second-hand to eating plant-based and ditching the car, most people are making changes to lead more sustainable, eco-conscious lives.
But what can you do to lower your environmental impact at work? Creating a sustainable office space is the answer!
Heaps of business benefits come with being kinder to the planet – not least reducing your office carbon footprint. Things like higher productivity, improved employee satisfaction, and lowered costs have all been linked to sustainable workspaces.
As a loud and proud B Corp, we’re BIG on sustainability. So, we like to think we know a thing or two about eco-friendly offices. Here are some of our top tips to help you be your best sustainable selves.
Set your sustainable office space goals
First things first, what do you want to achieve as a business? Outlining your aims from the very beginning will go a long way to helping you stay on track and smash your sustainable office goals.
Spark a company-wide conversation about what sustainability means for your employees. Look at what you can improve within your business. And then use these findings to start turning ideas into actions.
This might also be an excellent time to revisit your company’s mission statement. Make sure it reflects your goals, and don’t be shy to shout out about your commitment to improving your social and environmental performance.
Assemble your ‘green’ team
Choose your resident eco-warriors who can lead your sustainability journey. They’ll be in charge of developing your sustainability initiatives and putting them into action. But sustainability includes the efforts of your whole team. So, keep all your staff informed along the way. How about holding a lunch and learn about sustainability in the workplace?
By making sustainability part of your company culture, your teams are continually encouraged to find ways to make your office more sustainable. It’ll be much easier to stay motivated and achieve amazing results together.
At Work.Life, we have our very own ‘Sustainability Committee’, made up of staff from various areas within the business who’re in charge of keeping our spaces running sustainably, improving our processes, and getting our members engaged in being more eco-friendly in and out of work.
Improve your energy efficiency
One of the most effective efficiency tips is to switch to LEDs if your office uses CFL or fluorescent lighting. You can also consider an automatic lighting control system to cut your energy consumption – all Work.Life spaces have automatic sensors so the lights aren’t on when no-one’s there. Controls like dimmers and occupancy sensors automatically adjust the office lights, so you only use what you need.
Speaking of lights, let in as much natural light as possible or choose a sustainable workspace with plenty of natural light. This cuts energy usage, saves you money and can increase employee wellbeing.
And slay those pesky energy-draining vampire devices. Encourage staff to switch off or unplug appliances or devices when they’re not being used, particularly at the end of a work day or week.
Become a B Corp
We’re a proud B Corp. That means we’re committed to treating people, communities and the environment respectfully, sustainably, and ethically. Why not join us?
Being a B Corp is great for your company’s image. But importantly, it gives you a framework to assess different areas of your business and how you can make changes to improve your social and environmental performance.
You’ll also get access to a network of other businesses willing to share their experience and best practices. It’s great to have these connections and know your road to sustainability isn’t a lonely one.
Slash your paper use
Or even better, go paperless! We know this isn’t always possible, but try to be as paperless as possible. Make switches to online billing, cloud-based storage and digital signatures.
If you can’t part with your printer, buy sustainably sourced recycled paper. You can also set your printer to print on both sides as your default – an easy way to cut your paper use by 50%.
Encourage a green commute
Reduce your office’s overall carbon footprint by encouraging staff to choose an eco-friendlier commute. Even if it’s just one day a week, using public transport, car sharing, or walking or cycling to work cuts traffic congestion and air pollution. It can also improve your health, fitness and wellbeing.
You can even offer incentives like holding a green commute challenge with prizes – who doesn’t love a bit of healthy competition?
And be sure to set up secure bike storage, so your staff feel confident their bike is safe at work.
Cut your office waste
Reduce how much your office contributes to landfill to create a more sustainable office space. Here are some small ideas that can make a big difference:
- Ditch single-use materials and replace disposable kitchen items like plates, cups and utensils with reusable ones.
- Have separate bins with clear labels for waste, recycling and composting.
- Only print if absolutely necessary – remember what we said in step 5!
- Remove personal bins from under team members’ desks to encourage recycling.
- Buy tea and coffee supplies in bulk for less packaging.
- Gift reusable water bottles to your staff.
- Switch to digital business cards (if you need them).
- Challenge staff to pack a zero-waste lunch at least once a week.
Give back to sustainable causes
Help offset your office’s environmental impact by supporting causes that align with your sustainable goals. You could support tree planting initiatives, donate a % each year to environmental partners or set up a fundraiser for a local project.
Or how about asking your teams to use a charity cashback site like Easyfundraising? Together, you can raise money for a green charity of your company’s choice when you shop online at no extra cost to you.
Another option is to plan a volunteering event like tree planting or a litter pick to show your commitment to sustainability. Doing good in the community gives you the warm fuzzies, too!
Sharing is caring – and that goes for offices, too! A shared office space (a.k.a. coworking) allows several companies to work underneath one roof (meaning less land occupied), share common amenities like kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor space, as well as printers, private phone booths, breakout spaces, and even coffee machines. Because companies are sharing resources, coworking is inherently more eco-friendly. Plus many coworking spaces (like ours, woo!) are committed to creating more sustainable workplaces, a big draw for companies interested in reducing their footprint.
It’s a common misconception that a shared office space means your team will be working in an open space with other companies – but this isn’t the case. Within a coworking space you can rent your own lockable, private office, where it’s just amenities and resources that are shared with other businesses.
Small changes, BIG impact!
Making changes to create a sustainable office doesn’t have to be scary. When you break all the tips we’ve given you into manageable steps, they’re actually pretty simple! Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, take your time to really think about what you want to achieve, get your teams on board and start creating a more sustainable office space.
Remember, a few small changes today can have a big impact on helping your business move towards a more sustainable future.