How can rental tenants make their office space more eco-friendly
Making your office space more eco-friendly truly benefits everyone: your landlord, you as tenants and not least – the environment.
Studies have also shown that corporate responsibility and being eco-friendly in the office will also attract and retain employees and boost wellbeing. Today’s young professionals are likely to care deeply about the environment, and will be doing to best they can at home to be environmentally friendly. They will therefore be looking to continue their eco-friendly efforts within the workplace too, and will be actively seeking a like-minded company to work for.
The benefits are numerous. By making your office space more eco-friendly you can:
– Reduce your office impact on the environment and preserve natural resources
– Enhance your business brand image
– Save money by reducing the utility consumption
– Potentially improve the relationship with your landlord by saving them money too
– Improve employee recruitment, wellbeing, productivity and retention
– Demonstrate responsibility and sustainability to clients, potential customers and to other businesses
The serviced office is over-taking the traditional office environment in popularity due to flexibility – especially for small businesses and start-ups. So what can you do to make your office space more environmentally friendly if your business is renting out a serviced office?
Encourage green commuting
Encourage staff to walk, cycle, carpool or take public transport to the office. You can offer incentives for green commuting, such as money off a gym membership, or an extra days annual leave. The government Bike2Work scheme offers benefits and savings for employer and employee.
You can also encourage working from home to save on commuting and desk space and energy use. This is particularly beneficial when working in a small office with a limited number of desks and resources. Telecommuting jobs have become much more common with the influence of teleconferencing and mobile devices. They also offer a better work/life balance. Many big corporations are even catching on to the trend to save on costly desk space and cut their energy bill.
Start an eco-friendly action team in your office
By organising an eco-friendly team within your office you will automatically create a focus with action likely to be taken. Brainstorming sessions with the combination of many heads to the cause will also enable some fresh, new ideas to come to the forefront.
Perhaps the team can come up with monthly eco-friendly challenges with prizes and rewards to those who stick to it. For example, a month using reusable coffee mugs, utensils and plates – with no takeaway boxes or cups. Rewards could be given to those who complete the challenge such gift cards or vouchers.
Add office plants
Plants produce oxygen and remove chemicals from the air, making it cleaner for air to breathe. Plants also create a happier, more positive work environment, thereby making it a more productive and creative space. Research also has found that plants can successfully reduce stress and noise levels within an office.
However, you must consider what plants are best for your office environment. You need to select plants which will thrive despite a potential lack of daylight and choose plants which aren’t high maintenance and perhaps don’t need so much water. Succulents such as cacti will do well, and rubber plants. Palms are currently on-trend so are great to include if you are creating a fashionable and up-to-date work space – you can team the greenery up with some dark wood and gold to complete the look.
Choose eco-friendly products
Many eco-friendly products are inexpensive and make a difference, as they contain no harsh chemicals and use innovative packaging. Eco-friendly products inflict minimal impact on the environment. You can replace your usual products with eco-friendly cleaning products, office bathroom products and kitchen products.
You can also encourage staff to drink tap water from stainless steel bottles.
Also think about office accessories – choose rugs, mats and bathroom towels that have been made from recycled material.
Installing steaming hot water taps can also keep energy costs down with no need to repeatedly boil a kettle. Staff always tend to over-fill a kettle, whereas a tap will provide the exact amount. Staff will no longer have to wait for the kettle to boil so it won’t interrupt their work flow.
You can also purchase eco-friendly computers, laptops, tablets and computer accessories such as a wooden keyboard or computer mouse. These are made from sustainable materials, and responsibly manufactured.
Switch to LED bulbs
There are a wide range of LED bulbs on the market which makes it easy to replace your typical high-energy fluorescent, halogen and incandescent bulbs.
Not only is switching to LED better for the environment, but the ROI is considerable. Your business will recoup your initial spend eventually – based on energy savings alone. LEDs can last up to 25 times longer than a normal bulb. All bulbs can be switched over – even the office fridge!
Turn off lighting and electronics and monitor the thermostat
Think of your office as you would your home. Most people are conscious about turning off lights and equipment at home, but are more slack in the office. Perhaps create an incentive for staff to turn their computers at the end of the day – those that forget have to add money to a jar that eventually goes to an environmental charity. Try to remind staff to lay off the thermostat!
In summer, offices can often be overly air conditioned. Try to not turn on the air conditioning unless you really need it. Even by turning up the air conditioning thermostat by one degree will make a big difference over time.
Say no to paper
There is plenty of recycled paper on the market, but of course the greenest paper is no paper at all. This is becoming easier with more and more offices moving onto the cloud, and storing all their files and data remotely via the internet.
You can also encourage vendors to provide e-statements and invoices and set up automatic payments to reduce your carbon footprint and also approve efficiency.
Maximise and rely on natural light to save energy
Numerous research has found that employees are more productive if they work in natural lighting. This is due to the fact that natural light sets the body’s rhythms for better quality, longer sleep, synthesises vitamin D and aids digestion. Artificial light on the other hand, is a major sleep disruptor.
Make sure that you organise as many desks as possible next to the windows, perhaps on rotation if space is a problem. Make sure blinds are up as much as possible. You can also talk to your landlord about installing light sensors if you don’t already have them – any landlord will listen to money-saving options. Try not to turn on any artificial lights on a sunny day.
Just because you are renting an office premises doesn’t mean you can’t make some very affordable and eco-friendly adjustments. These small steps will increase productivity, keep staff happy and healthy, improve your company’s bottom line – and ultimately contribute to making a positive difference in protecting our planet.