Responsible individuals have taken guidance from environmentalists, scientists, and even politicians to make a concerted effort toward being good citizens of planet Earth. These initiatives for “going green” extend to office environments as well, with most businesses focusing on sustainability and creating internal programs for a green office.
Many of these efforts are concentrated on distinct areas that produce measurable results:
- Reduced energy consumption
- Elimination of waste that gets transferred to landfills
- Less dependency on paper documents and printed media
Using technology to create a green office environment contributes significantly to the overall success of green initiatives.
Sustainability in the Office
Developing a strategy for a sustainability program is an essential first step. Studies reveal that 62% of executives across all industries believe a sustainability strategy is vital to remain competitive. Organizing a team for the evaluation of conservation opportunities with members from multiple business areas offers:
- A feeling of ownership and commitment to the program
- Input from a mix of employees – technical, managerial, administrative, and production
- Knowledge of business processes that are viable components of a green office
Here are five top ways to formulate and execute an office sustainability program.
Communicate the company’s dedication to green initiatives and offer incentives for the best suggestions that reduce cost and save energy or reduce waste. These incentives can be as simple as gift cards or a free team lunch.
- Make it everyone’s responsibility to save energy. Lights in unoccupied spaces should be turned off, and computers should be shut down at the end of the workday. Many companies are making energy conservation a key concern, including their IT infrastructure.
- Stress conservation of office products including paper, ink, toner, and other consumables.
- Ask employees to identify unused or seldom-used office equipment such as printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines. These may be suitable for removal or replacement with more energy-efficient multifunction devices.
- Stress the importance of thinking twice before printing documents such as emails or non-essential documents. If electronic storage can suffice, don’t waste paper and time by printing and filing.
Heating and air conditioning are additional areas where energy use can be conserved. Many offices are heated or cooled to extremes. Maintain a comfortable but reasonable temperature. Where possible, implement programmable controls that reduce energy consumption during non-work hours.
2. Implement Document Management and Managed Print Services
Document management systems (DMS) can contribute significantly to an office sustainability program. Using technology to create, distribute, and store all types of documents can reap great rewards for any business:
- Significant reduction in the use of paper, ink, and toner
- Improved productivity from less paper handling, filing, and copying
- Increased security – only authorized parties have access to confidential information
- Benefit from a reduction in the number of printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines
Managed Print Services (MPS) take document management to the next level. With MPS, a print services provider contributes to a green office in several ways:
- Supply advanced multifunction printers that save energy and eliminate outdated equipment
- Evaluate business processes and printing activity to identify waste
- Manage the use of supplies and provide consumables when needed
- Replace energy-consuming in-house print servers with cloud-based shared servers
With analysis provided by MPS, businesses can make essential decisions on how to improve efficiency and further promote sustainability.
Avoid irresponsible discarding of office consumables. Recycle beverage cans and bottles, paper, and other articles that may otherwise contribute to overflowing landfills.
Managed print services that include recycling of toner cartridges and other consumables can reduce cost and eliminate potentially toxic chemicals from the environment. Most toner cartridges can be successfully cleaned and reused.
Even office furniture that has outlived its useful life can be donated to charities or startup businesses that can reuse it, rather than merely discarding such items.
4. Buy Responsibly
When acquiring products for the office, whether the need is for furniture, technology, or office supplies, give preference to environmentally responsible products and manufacturers. This includes energy-efficient computers and printers, as well as furniture made with eco-friendly materials.
5. Encourage Telecommuting and Ride Sharing
Commuting is one of the highest producers of greenhouse gasses in the U.S. With today’s technology; workforces are increasingly mobile and able to work from their homes. Where that is not practical, businesses should promote the benefits of carpooling and rideshare programs.
These programs not only save fuel and reduce emissions, but they also save energy at the office with lower costs in heating and cooling, fewer computers to support, and may even minimize space requirements.
Getting Started with a Sustainability Program
Doing Better Business helps our clients promote green office initiatives by providing energy-efficient multifunction printers from leading manufacturers – Ricoh, HP, Lexmark, and others. With managed print services from Doing Better Business, companies of all sizes can reduce their environmental impact, reducing paper consumption, and implementing recycling programs.
Contact Doing Better Business to discuss sustainability initiatives for your business.