A survey of 1644 office workers by commercial property agents Savoy Stewart in November 2019 revealed that over 50% of UK workplaces do not employ eco-friendly features in their day-to-day management. That’s quite a shock statistic given that most of these features are fairly simple to implement and that the UK is set to miss a raft of environmental targets in 2020 and beyond.
In our initial space planning and interior design for clients, Ben Johnson Interiors always suggest energy-efficient solutions such as LED lighting, automatic heating and lighting control systems, along with the latest technology, large video-conferencing screens and more, not only as a cost-saving and environmental measure but as a way to attract staff or tenants. The integration of the IoT (Internet of Things) in commercial buildings allows for the monitoring and modulation of lighting levels and temperature, thus reducing energy costs and maximizing occupant comfort.
Having the best and latest technology not only makes our lives easier but makes modern office life far more environmentally healthy. At the simplest level, workers enabled by mobile devices are no longer required to travel to work every day and video-conferencing reduces the need for global and long distance travel.
But despite all these smart tech solutions installed within the workplace design, it’s the ongoing attitude by management and employees towards environmental protection that sets the tone. And if you become used to being eco-friendly at work, it becomes the norm at home too – if it wasn’t already.
Ben Johnson Interiors design and fit out for CPP Group in Leeds
So, what can you do to make a big difference to the environment in your workplace?
- Go Paperless
Limit unnecessary printing. In the modern office, printing is no longer a necessity. If you must print, use only 100 percent recycled paper products and ask your printer for FSC Certified paper
- Ditch the plastic
Everything from the cups at the water cooler to the cutlery and salad containers in your canteen can be replaced with compostable versions or you can choose to eliminate them entirely and ask people to bring in their own. Something as simple as keeping reusable bottles at your desk will eliminate the need for plastic cups. Consider ordering branded company water bottles instead.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It may seem obvious but ensure your office has clearly labelled and easy-to-find recycling bins. Recycling is about more than just putting your old newspapers in the blue bin.
- Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Many standard office cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can harm the environment. Consider asking your cleaning company to use green products or switch to one that does. You can order products from https://letsgoplasticfree.co.uk or from https://biggreensmile.com
- Limit Heating and Cooling
While it may seem impossible to find the perfect temperature setting to satisfy all employees, making a few small changes such as turning the thermostat off overnight and instituting a casual dress code in summer months can help keep costs down.
- Provide Eco-Friendly Office Snacks
Support sustainably produced snack, coffee and tea companies by providing them for your office. Look out for companies that are local to your area to further reduce your carbon footprint.
- Create a Green Committee
Set up a team of employees to help guide your office into making more sustainable and green decisions. This will help educate the entire office and also facilitate interaction and collaboration between employees who may not have worked together previously.
- Un-Plug It
Most offices are only used for nine hours a day. That leaves 15 hours when you’re powering appliances that aren’t needed, adding up to a 123 hours per week. There are going to be certain things that need constant power but something as simple as staff unplugging their computers in the evenings will have a massive impact on your energy usage and your electricity bill.
- Lighting Adjustments
If you don’t have automatic lighting control, then adjusting when and how you use lighting in your office can make a big impact on energy usage. Make sure to switch off lights when leaving a room (or install motion sensors) and consider using natural light as often as possible as an alternative. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and LED lights are the best eco-friendly lighting options for your office.
- A Green Commute
Commuting to work plays a significant role in the company’s overall carbon footprint.
Companies should encourage employees to explore other transport options. What about
implementing a cycle to work scheme? For those who have a long commute – this might not be a
practical option, but the rise of remote working, facilitated by technology, offers a solution.
Alternatively try encouraging carpooling between employees or offer tax-free transportation
benefits for public transit. Some employers are starting to give bonuses to bike and carpool
commuters and special perks to hybrid drivers.
There are plenty of other things you can do to take steps towards a super eco-friendly office: from hosting recycling competitions between departments to changing your office suppliers. These are just some ideas to get you started. Why not host a staff brainstorming session to see what you can come up with collectively?
Implementing even just a few of these small changes in your office can make a big impact on easing your company’s impact on the earth. Make a point of showing off your sustainable efforts on your company website or even include it as a part of your mission statement. Efforts to save the environment are big news these days.
If you’d like a free environmental health check on your office, please call Ben Johnson Interiors on 03333 449 249 https://www.benjohnson.co.uk/interiors/