How to Work More Sustainably in the Office and at Home
Sustainable living has risen in prominence over the years, with concerns for the environment affecting what we wear, the food we eat, how we travel, and how we work. But improving workplace sustainability can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with a large team of people who might also be splitting their time between working from home and in the office.
The best course of action is usually to start finding your own ways to be more eco-friendly when working and then expand that to make wider changes to environmental practices at work. Read on to find out ways to go green at work and also how to work from home more sustainably.
Think Before You Print
One of the easiest ways to improve your sustainability at work is to reduce the amount of paper you use. There will be many instances when going completely paperless won’t be appropriate for your business. However, you can take steps to use paper more efficiently. You can start by using recycled printer paper, made from 100% post-consumer waste and ideally unbleached, as this reduces the chemicals that will have been used in the manufacturing process.
Before you print a document, think carefully about whether you really need it printed, or if it would be possible to work with it on the computer. Perhaps, rather than printing off multiple booklets and documents for people to refer to in meetings, they could instead take their laptops into the meeting room to use. If you have to print off a document, make sure to only print off the pages you definitely need and always print double-sided to save paper.
Use Eco-Friendly Stationery
Throughout your working day, you may encounter a time where you need to quickly jot down a note, reminder, or someone’s contact details. Often, you won’t need to keep this note long-term, so using paper to write it on could result in unnecessary waste. Instead, you should use eco-friendly stationery like a glass desktop easel or a glass desktop notepad. With these wipe-clean stationery tools, you can make any notes you require and simply wipe them away when they’re not needed and start afresh. These tools can also help you to stay focused and productive, as they’ll result in a less cluttered desk than one that may have sticky note reminders plastered everywhere.
You can also expand your eco-friendly stationery to other areas to create a green home office or corporate workplace. The Leitz Recycle range features sustainable office equipment that is all CO2 neutral, 100% recyclable and made from a high percentage of recycled material. For example, the Leitz Recycle Lever Arch File is made from 100% recycled card and also features our unique patented 180° opening for faster and easier filing. The Leitz Recycle Waste Bin is made from 98% post-consumer recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable itself. By equipping your office with sustainable stationery, you can help to do your part for the environment and reduce your carbon footprint at work.
Dispose of Your Waste Appropriately
Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, you should always dispose of your waste appropriately. This means that materials that can be recycled should go in the relevant recycling bin, and all other waste should go in the general rubbish bin. If you’re working from home, it can be helpful to have separate waste bins in your home office to make it easier to recycle. If you’re in the workplace, you should do what you can to encourage recycling. Speak to whoever is in charge of waste management to see if they can set up separate bins for different materials, and also include clear signs for clarity.
Paper should always be recycled. If you have confidential documents or paper that includes confidential information, such as someone’s phone number, email address, or other personal details, it should be shredded. If you’re working from home, our range of home shredders can help you to stay data protection compliant. If you’re in the workplace, speak to your Data Protection Officer about how to sustainably dispose of confidential paper. There are some companies that will collect confidential documents and shred and recycle them appropriately. Others may be able to collect the shredded waste and recycle it, all whilst adhering to data protection regulations.
Use Reusable Dining Equipment
You should avoid using single-use plastics as much as possible throughout your workday. This will likely be easier at home, where you have access to your own cups, mugs, and crockery; however, it might be tricker in the workplace. If your office has a kitchen, speak to whoever is in charge of office management to ensure it is properly equipped with cutlery and other items that people might use to eat and drink.
If your workplace doesn’t have facilities to wash up cutlery and the like, instead encourage others to bring their own from home and take it back with them at the end of the day. Alternatively, replace plastic cutlery with bamboo, which is biodegradable.
Instead of using plastic water bottles or plastic cups for water, or single-use coffee cups for hot drinks, use reusable water bottles and travel mugs. Your organisation could even get water bottles and travel mugs for staff to use that have been branded with the company logo and made in the company colours.
Use Electricity Efficiently
There are a few ways you can reduce your energy consumption, both when working from home and when in the office. An easy practice is to switch off your computer at the end of the day, as well as any other office equipment, rather than leaving them on standby. You should do the same with lights, especially in toilets or meeting rooms that won’t have people in them all the time during the day.
If you have the choice, you should use a laptop rather than a desktop, as laptops use much less energy. You should speak to your IT Department or whoever is in charge of equipment management to see if it’s possible to switch to laptops next time an upgrade is due.
Where possible, you should use natural light in your home office and workplace. You should also use energy-efficient lightbulbs and consider moving to an energy supplier that uses more sustainable sources of energy. This might be a simple switch at home, but could require more effort in the office. Try to gather some information about the costs of a standard lightbulb when compared with an energy-efficient lightbulb and present the information to the person in charge of purchasing at your workplace to encourage them to make the swap.
Find a Sustainable Commute
When you’re looking for more ways to be sustainable, you should take a look at your commute. If you regularly drive by yourself into work, is there an alternative method of transport you can use? Could you walk or cycle? If the latter is possible, could you encourage others in your business to do the same, perhaps with a cycle to work scheme? Perhaps you could find other colleagues that live close by who you could carpool with. Otherwise, maybe there is a public transport route that you could take that would be suitable.
If your role allows, you should also look into the possibility of working from home a few days a week. It may be that your company already has a hybrid working policy in place, or maybe you could speak to someone about implementing one. Hybrid working can not only help to improve employee wellbeing thanks to a better work life balance, but it can also be better for the environment by reducing commuting time.
Utilise Virtual Meetings
Where possible, you should utilise communication technology to hold meetings. There may be some instances where a face-to-face meeting is necessary. However, put some thought into each meeting beforehand to determine how best to conduct it. It may be that a video conference will be just as effective. This means that you can reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating travelling to another part of the country or even overseas.
You should also aim to use virtual meetings for internal communication. Rather than requiring everyone to be in the office on certain days just to be part of a meeting, is it possible to hold it virtually? It might be that you have a weekly catch-up that can be held online, but then you have a monthly or quarterly meeting where people come in to take part in person, so there is still a time where everyone can speak face-to-face.
Leitz has a huge range of office tools and equipment for an eco-friendly office, both at home and in the workplace.
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