How to be more sustainable in the office

April 30, 2019 Emilio Cuellas

Sustainability is one of the most important challenges of today. Our attitude towards how we treat the planet has changed considerably and people are now more aware of their need to be socially responsible and are actively adopting environmentally friendly measures such as recycling and using public transport. 

This changing attitude around sustainability and caring for the planet has now reached a level where we do not only want to be more sustainable at home, but we strive to implement these practices at work as well. In fact, recent research found that millennials ranked sustainability as a top priority when evaluating the company they work for.

If your organisation is looking to hire new talent, shouting about the sustainability initiatives you’ve implemented may be a driving factor towards talent applying to your company. However, if you haven’t yet investigated sustainability measures, fortunately, there are many, relatively simple, ways you can implement eco-friendly initiatives in the office. Here are some ideas that you can start applying in your office environment today:

  • Recycle: The simplest initiative that can make a big difference is recycling. Most offices will already have recycling bins for paper, cardboard and plastic, but what about computer hardware or old office furniture? There a many office items that we tend to throw away without considering whether they can be reused or recycled. However, there are services available that can help. Charity shops, local councils and computer waste services, for example, are available in most cities and can arrange to pick up your old office equipment for free. 
  • Replace lights with motion-sensor lighting: There are many areas in an office where motion sensors can replace the light switches. Motion sensors are able to detect when there is movement, ensuring that the lights are only on for a limited amount of time. Having motion-sensor lighting in the office means that we don’t need to remember to turn off the lights at the end of every day, helping to save on time and energy.
  • Switch off devices in the office: Lots of office workers will unintentionally leave their computers on, even once they’ve gone home — the same can happen with screens and computers in meeting rooms. Employees can also get into the habit of putting their computer in sleep mode rather than switching it off properly — putting your PC into sleep mode will still use more energy than if you switched your PC off completely. Remind your employees to switch off their computer every night through posters or leaflets distributed throughout the office.
  • Use renewable energies: This initiative may require a little more work. Powering your office equipment, heating appliances and light sources with renewable energy from solar panels, for example, can significantly reduce your carbon foot while and energy costs. Speak to your building manager to see if installing renewable energy sources is feasible in your office.

The commitment to sustainability offers a two-fold advantage to companies. On the one hand, employees work more comfortably and are happier with the operation of the company, making them more productive; on the other hand, it paints a positive image of the company’s attitude towards sustainability and demonstrates that the company is serious about the future. 

About the Author

Emilio Cuellas

Emilio has more than 20 years experience helping companies improve their HR processes through digital transformation. At Cornerstone he supports our happy clients throughout their journey.

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