There’s a lot of talk about making offices sustainable, but the irony is that buying new furniture, appliances, and everything between adds even more strain on the earth. So how can you keep your office sustainable while staying true to what you currently have?
This article will discuss how to make your office sustainable while staying as close as possible to your tradition and original office aesthetic.
What Is Office Sustainability?
Office sustainability promotes ecological and environmental balance by reducing carbon footprints and avoiding the depletion of natural resources. An initiative like this entails using fewer resources and reusing items whenever possible. The result is an office that makes environmental and economic sense.
What Do You Need to Create Sustainability?
Every small change can significantly impact your office’s aesthetic, bottom line, and staff productivity, so you must be intentional with your decisions.
The first step you should take is to establish an office team to help you with this initiative.
You may have a lot of ideas yourself, but instead of doing the work by yourself, enlist your team to create new concepts and initiatives that garner support.
Come up with a few simple ideas that everyone can embrace, like setting up time sensors on electronics and lights or not using disposable utensils.
Eventually, your office will welcome each new initiative with open arms.
What Items Should You Replace?
So you want a sustainable office that keeps some of the old aesthetics? What are some things that have to go?
Here’s a start:
Disposable dishes and utensils: Paper plates, plastic spoons, solo cups, and plastic straws are filling up landfills, oceans, and streets. Offering reusable plates, utensils, cups, and mugs may add additional cost initially, but it will help save the environment.
Toxic cleaning products: Chemicals in cleaning products can harm the environment (and employees with allergies). Greener cleaning products are part of all office sustainability plans. The EPA has a guide on choosing eco-friendly products.
Incandescent Lights: Did you know those early light companies designed incandescent to have shorter lifespans? They also use more energy than compact fluorescent and LED bulbs.
Traditional Printer Paper: How much paper does your organization burn through that makes a marginal difference in your bottom line? One way to curb your carbon footprint is by using recycling printer paper made from recycled food and beverage containers.
Unused Parking Space: Do you have a lot of unused parking space? Consider turning it into a minipark, garden, or outdoor relaxation space for employees. Creating a mini-ecosystem can help the local environment and improve employee mental health.
Keeping Tradition with New Solutions
Modern culture leans towards fast furniture that’s cheaper and, as a result, more prone to breaking. What do we do when something breaks? Toss it in the landfill. All this to say that much of what you have in your office may be sustainable if it’s built to last.
Don't be fooled. Just because a piece of furniture doesn’t fit the “modern” aesthetic does not make it unsustainable.
Another tip, add indoor plants and lots of them.
Indoor plants will make your office greener in the literal and metaphorical sense. Plants have the unique ability to absorb carbon dioxide and some pollutants. More, plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress.
Keeping with the sustainability theme, choose plants that will last over time and don’t need daily monitoring.
A few great options are spider plants, cacti, bamboo balms, and aloe.
Lastly, you may get the urge to throw out old office furniture like desks, chairs, and tables. Think about reupholstering furniture to fit the style you’re looking for. If they still don’t fit the bill, ensure every last bit of office furniture finds a home.