Seven Tips For A More Sustainable Office

September 30, 2020
Commercial Real Estate

Developing a greener or more sustainable office isn’t just good for the environment. It’s also good for business.

In fact, going green helps:

  1. Reduce costs – The number one business benefit of green buildings/offices is lower overheads thanks to wastage cuts.
  2. Attract customers – It’s no secret that consumers want to minimise their own footprint. So, more and more, they are choosing brands that engage in ethical and sustainable practices.
  3. Attract talent – Green businesses often lure the best talent because more and more job seekers prefer to work for a company with values that align with their own. Eco-friendly workplaces also infer that the company cares for its staff members.

What’s more, attitudes towards sustainability are shifting. Green building standards are becoming less of a personal preference and more of a corporate responsibility and market necessity. The current climate has sparked debate around the sustainability of office space and commercial property, especially as people have started returning to work. For many companies, the pressure to become more environmentally sustainable is coming from all sides.

More and more companies realise the need to act now. If you’re one of them, here are some sustainable office ideas that you can follow to help reduce your environmental footprint.

Tip 1. Reduce your use of electricity and water

For example, take advantage of natural light as much as you can to reduce your electricity needs, and (if possible) install a solar hot water system and a rainwater tank.

Think about what appliances really need to be left on overnight. Although leaving devices in standby mode is better than leaving them completely on, it still wastes electricity. If all your computers are connected to a server, there are ways you can schedule them to shut down at a certain time of night. This is a great way to combat staff just locking their screens and walking out at the end of the day.

You should also conduct a spot check of your office to make sure that there are no leaky taps in your kitchen, toilet or shower facilities. And invest in aerators to reduce excess water flow.

Tip 2. Recycle

Having recycling bins in your office is a simple way to make your office more environmentally-friendly. Encourage your staff to recycle as much as they can and make sure recycling bins sit in prominent positions (like near or next to your printers). And provide real crockery and cutlery for your staff to use in the lunchroom to reduce the use of disposable cups, plates and cutlery.

Providing battery chargers and using rechargeable batteries in your equipment will also help you to reduce waste, as well as save you money in the long run.

You should also make sure that your office printer cartridges are recycled.

Image of green bins | Sustainable office article

Tip 3. Do not use resources unnecessarily

Paper is a classic example of a resource that is widely overused. It is one of the most significant components of solid waste in landfills (in NSW alone, we chew through over 700,000 tonnes each year!). But, in today’s digital era, how much paper do we actually need?

Most offices could cut back considerably on their paper use. Or, at the very least, ensure that they use recycled paper.

If printing is essential, encourage your staff to print double-sided and to avoid printing emails. You could even roll out a “clean, green” message under your email signatures. This will prompt every staff member to think before printing.

Another solution is to implement card readers which will reduce your company’s printing pace straight away by holding staff accountable and reducing unclaimed prints.

Providing whiteboards and laptops is another sustainable office idea that helps to reduce paper use. Hand dryers or tea towels can also be provided to negate the need for paper towels.

Tip 4. Buy energy-efficient equipment and supplies

This includes equipment like air conditioners, computers and lunchroom appliances. You can also go through your office and look at lighting options. Depending on the types of lighting you currently have, you may be able to upgrade to more energy efficient light globes. They may set you back a little more initially, but they cost less to run and last way longer than standard globes.

In any case, remember to look at the energy use ratings before making your purchase decision.

You should also ensure that air conditioners, computers and lights are switched off when they are not being used or necessary.

Image of a lightbulb with a plant growing in it | Sustainable office article

Tip 5. Make green purchasing decisions

Think about the resources you need to run your business. Are there green alternatives? Also, look at the green credentials of your suppliers. For example, are their products made from recycled materials and do they minimise their environmental impact? Are your cleaners using environmentally-friendly products?

What about your own packaging? If you also have a retail aspect to your business, provide your goods in recycled or reusable packaging. This will also appeal to customers who prefer to support eco-friendliness in the consumer world.

Tip 6. Introduce some plants

Plants help to recycle the air, brighten up the office, and reduce stress and other workplace nasties (like low morale).

Be sure to choose low-maintenance plants that are not a burden to look after, are hard wearing and have a low pollen count. (Be sure to check with your employees before introducing plants into the office to in case they are prone to allergies.)

A laptop on an office desk with a plant | Sustainable office article

Tip 7. Reduce unnecessary staff travel

Consider what you can do about work-related activities outside your office. For example, can you hold a video conference call instead of requiring people who live interstate to fly in to attend a meeting? After all, that’s one of the many benefits of modern technology – it allows work to be done anytime and anywhere.

Businesses today are also more often willing to look at working from home options for staff. And this can be great for your company. Staff love having that little bit of extra flexibility. Plus, even just one day a week can reduce their footprint when it comes to their daily commute.

Choosing to set up your office close to public transport options and installing end-of-trip facilities (like bike racks and showers) can also help reduce your staff’s environmental impact.

Info graphic summarising seven sustainable office ideas

How we can help

Want to find out more about leasing a smart building to help your business become greener and more sustainable?

Tenant CS is a commercial tenant advisory service that caters to companies across Australia (with a particular focus on Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra), Singapore and the greater Asia-Pacific region. Contact our team today for assistance with your next office relocation!

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