In the past few decades, environmental issues have risen to the forefront of our national discussion, and it’s easy to see why. Concerns about human-caused climate change and pollution have many people (understandably) worried about the future of our planet. With this in mind, many businesses are doing their best to go green around the office. Unfortunately, a lot of the information that’s out there concerning going green at work doesn’t take into account some of the cost issues and other concerns that might rightly hold even the most well-meaning business back from embracing the “green office” movement.
Because of this, we wanted to put together a list of ways that you can go green around the office, but we wanted to put a twist on our list. We want to give you some ideas for ways to go green that will also benefit your business directly. Everyone wants to be a better steward of the environment, but it’s hard to justify doing so at the expense of your business. Our tips include practical advice for going green while also improving productivity and saving money. Let’s get into it.
#1: Going Digital Conserves Resources, Improves Productivity, and Sets You Up to Recover from a Disaster
Going paperless around the office has a host of benefits. It makes things quicker and more efficient around the office, which is never a bad thing. Sending and receiving files digitally saves time and energy, and creates a much better “paper trail” than an actual, physical paper trail. Apps like the award winning Slack messenger are garnering much praise for being far more efficient and useful than paper-based memos, and even more useful than email.
Digital filesharing is also changing the way we do business, with apps like Dropbox and Google Drive allowing for simple, intuitive, and cost-effective cloud storage of documents. This frees up space by getting rid of bulky file cabinets, and it allows for much easier collaboration.
Here’s a more complete list of apps that we have tested. Each one of them can help your business to save resources (namely paper, ink, staples, and other costly office supplies) and improve efficiency and productivity.
- File Sharing Options: Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365 are all extremely viable file sharing options that help get the right documents in front of the right people. These software options eliminate the cost of office supplies, cut back on the need for employees to leave their workstations to deliver documents. These programs are also excellent for collaboration especially when you combine them with…
- Collaboration Software Options: Basecamp and other similar software programs help with things like task tracking, project management, and distribution of work.
- Communication Options: The previously mentioned Slack, and the newly launched Facebook Workplace are categorically faster and more efficient than email, and they lend themselves to more informal, natural communication that fosters a happier workplace.
- Invoicing and Payment Options: Programs like Square allow for paperless billing and payment, and allow employees to take payment when at a jobsite, or other non-central location in a way that wouldn’t be possible with a traditional point-of-sale system.
- Hosted Phone Systems: A hosted phone system can be accessed from anywhere, making it ideal for remote work, while also setting you up to be ready to move to a new location in the case of a disaster
- Tech Support and Remote Work: Teamviewer allows employees to remotely access computers from home, a coffee shop, or any other location. This is great for tech support, and for remote work. Speaking of which…
#2: Remote Work, Carpooling Plans, and Biking Initiatives Incentivize Employees and Make for a Greener Commute
Audiobooks and Podcasts have done a lot to make commuting more bearable, but it’s pretty safe to say that no one really likes having to commute. By allowing employees to work remotely, you eliminate this hassle from their lives, you cut down on office overhead, and you reduce the overall carbon-footprint of your business.
Working from home also has a noticeable and measureable benefit for employees. This is especially important as many millennials, now the largest demographic in the workforce, are choosing to prioritize extraneous benefits over pure salary concerns. This has made it more important than ever for employees to provide more than just salary increases to keep workers around.
Finally, if you have to have employees commute, carpooling incentives and bike initiatives can help cut down on emissions, and the younger, health-focused millennial demographic directly benefits from bike stipends.
#3: Smart Monitoring Cuts Down on Energy Usage and Saves Money
With all of these digital devices, it’s easy to run up a pretty hefty energy bill in just a short time. One easy way to prevent this is to implement smart monitoring procedures (that’s smart as in “smartphone” or “smart tv”.) Smart Monitors are easy-to-use devices that track energy usage, both on a macro, building-wide scale, and on an individual basis. This helps to identify where your energy usage can be curtailed, which conserves our natural resources and helps keep energy costs down.
These same devices can be used to remotely activate or deactivate devices overnight, or during the weekend when they are out of use. Copiers and other large electronics are notoriously prone to draining electricity even when not in use. Smart monitors, along with other simple changes, can help your business go green, and help your bottom line at the same time.