3 Questions that Will Make Your Businesses Greener in 2018
Ready to be more productive in a healthier workplace?
Since the introduction of the November 2016 Paris Agreement to limit worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, businesses have responded with the now global trend to invest in clean, renewable energy resources and add more sustainable green policies. According to Green Matters last Fall, from 2016 to 2017 surveys found that 25 percent more organizations and businesses have increased their use of environmentally-friendly products. Another 40 percent have begun laying the groundwork for more eco-conscious services.
And why not?
Countless small businesses and massive corporations alike have shown that when any organization chooses to reduce its carbon footprint through daily practices and personal dedication, they are able to significantly affect the environment and the company’s bottom line. Incorporating strong daily habits into your company and/or department’s weekly routine has routinely saved businesses money in the present and future, shown an increase in employee retention rates and increase in productivity, attracts more prospective clients and employees, and adds to the building’s property value if you own your own business.
If your office has already done some spring cleaning, such as taking files and records from 2017 to storage and washing every nook and cranny with a natural cleaning solution, then you have already taken a great step in the right direction!
The next step is to think about any resources, methods, and habits to improve upon to reduce your businesses carbon footprint and simultaneously increase the availability of time, money, and resources for the organization.
To help get you started, Better Office Furniture has brought together three major questions you can ask to advance your businesses environmental footprint, save lots of money, and improve employee health – all at the same time!
Ask: What are some quick solutions to reduce our summer energy bill?
It may be over 90 degrees with an extra side of humidity these days in Missouri, but that does not mean you should stop short when thinking about your energy bill this summer. Here are some quick and affordable ways to start saving on your utility bill this month:
- Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer months, which can make a major difference in your utility bill and keep your employees comfortable. Another smart choice is to use standing or boxed fans near office windows and/or doors to encourage consistent airflow throughout the day.
- Turn off lights when not in use, particularly for areas like the kitchen, bathroom(s), and conference room(s).
- Replace less eco-friendly CFL light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and LED alternatives that conveniently last longer, give more natural light, and are more energy efficient.
- Replace any outdated technology, such as computers and televisions, that work harder to provide you with less quality content, with LCD or LED technology. Then donate items to a local organization in need or try to sell computers and laptops at a nearby computer repair and recycling shop.
- Keep all maintenance needs up-to-date for HVAC systems, whether changing out filters regularly and performing annual upkeep.
Ask: How sustainable is our company’s current business model?
It is fact that sustainability never looks the same for every business. It is impossible to have an equal, one-size-fits-all solution for both small and large businesses alike. The type of approach you take depends on the unique organizational culture, how current sustainable policies compare to your ideal green space, and the context of why the issue is needs addressed.
One shining example of a local business that embodies the belief of working and living sustainably is Whisk, an eco-friendly bakery and beverage shop found just 30-minutes southeast of Better Office Furniture. The company’s business model focuses on the use of:
- replenishable natural resources;
- local compost facilities for food waste, such as St. Louis Composting;
- packaging products in 90 percent post-consumer recycled content that is both recyclable and compostable;
- working with local farmers or partnering with other small businesses to always use in-season ingredients; and
- ensuring all company wholesalers only commit to sustainable practices and eco-friendly ingredients with no GMOs and other additives.
While we know that it takes substantial time and dedication to make such impactful changes, it usually does not have to involve a major capital investment for the company. Small and medium business enterprises have been able to quickly adapt and keep up with this green trend with the wide-range of free energy advice that is now available across the interweb for different industry sectors. Some states also give grant aid or utility refunds for businesses looking to add big ticket energy-saving items, like wind turbines and solar panels.
Ask: How green are our everyday office practices?
It is easy to get stuck in unhealthy habits, especially when it comes to everyday sustainability practices. While it may be more of a challenge to encourage employees to carpool, use public transportation, or bike to work there are slight changes around the office that can make a significant difference too. Here are some ideas to get your started:
- Start an office recycling program in the office break room to readily collect bottles, aluminum products, and cardboard for recycling. And do not forget a designated area for alkaline batteries to properly dispose of or consider switching to rechargeable batteries that are worth every penny.
- Switch to more technology friendly options to reduce the office’s need for paper waste. End the use of check stub paper by enrolling your company into a favorable direct deposit possibility. Reduce needless paper waste and drop the need for countless filing storage cabinets by investing in a scanner to save your company’s history on company computers, the cloud, and an external hard-drive device. Invest in a thermal printer, take part in an ink recycling program offered by a local business (such as Cartridge World, Staples, or Office Depot), or simply save electronic signatures to reduce the clutter of receipts and agreements.
- Think before you buy! It is always tempting to choose items pre-packaged for single-sized use, but buying items in bulk has the advantages of being more environmentally friendly (less waste to dispose of) and saving the company money in the long-run. Utilize stay-fresh containers and dispensers that are durable and easy to clean, so they will not cause any added hassle throughout the work week.
Want to learn more about how Better Office Furniture can help your business be greener and more productive? Looking to find quality furniture that will withstand years of use and is affordable? Ask about our refurbished cubicles and other used office furniture today!