The concept of going green in the workplace used to be just a vision for the future, but it is now one of the top priorities for companies all across the nation. When you take into consideration the fact that the United Kingdom produces enough carbon emissions each year to weigh as much as 37 million London buses, then it’s easy to understand why this has now become just an important collective responsibility. By turning to greener policies, not only will your business contribute to reducing its carbon footprint, but you will also help it save on costs in the long term. Here are some of the most effective things that HR professionals can do to implement a more sustainable work environment:
Almost all types of businesses are conducted in the digital realm these days, which means that there is less need for copious amounts of paper and printouts. Implementing a paperless policy at your company will help to reduce the amount of daily waste it incurs, and it will also mean that less energy is spent on printers, fax machines and photocopiers. Instead, encourage all members of staff to take advantage of cloud networks which allow you to access, store and edit important documents from any device. Going paperless is also said to increase productivity among workers because it enables them to work at any time, from any location at their convenience.
Be Economic With Energy
A typical office space will have a wide range of electrical appliances and computers that are used throughout the day. Having these devices switched on all day when they aren’t in use is a serious waste of energy, and can put a heavy dent in your utility bills. Consider having a policy that tells employees to turn off computers or devices that aren’t in use, or to use energy-saving settings where possible. You should also switch over to energy-efficient lighting, such as LED lightbulbs, as they last much longer and will keep the bills lower.
HR should always have a clear recycling strategy in all areas of the workplace, as this helps lower the amount of waste that gets taken to landfills. Hanging up signs and reminders in visible locations is a good place to start, and you should also make it easy and convenient for workers to recycle, instead of placing recycling points further away than necessary. You can also appoint a recycling coordinator who can oversee the policy on a day to day basis. Your business should be able to recycle most items and materials, including old computers and electronic items, which can be sold as parts to other companies.
A great way to cut down on carbon emissions is to limit the amount of commuting workers do. Many businesses can now cut back on costs and be more sustainable by allowing employees to telecommute from time to time. For business trips, make sure that carpools are used rather than individual car rides, as this makes far more sense from a financial and environmental standpoint.
It can get quite hectic in the office at times, but if you lay out some ground rules in terms of supplies and storage space, then you can help to prevent unnecessary waste from accumulating. Each day, you should encourage employees to take a bit of time to tidy their desk and keep important files binded together so they don’t mistakenly end up as trash. In the canteen or kitchen areas, it’s also a good idea to invest in cutlery that is built to last, rather than continuously using plastic knives, forks and plates.