Whether your business is at home or office space, you may not realize the impact you have on the environment. A cluttered office doesn't usually help with productivity so as we enter the new year, now is a great time to take stock of your footprint and find ways to promote more sustainable living practices.
Consider what kind of office space you want in order to maximize your productivity. Many of us don't need a lot of space, for example. A laptop and good coffee mug are often all many of us need. If you do need a larger space, though, and find yourself having a heavier environmental footprint than you'd like, here are five things you can do today that take five minutes or less.
1. Refuse. We all know the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra. But how about we add refuse to the mix? Rather than accept a bag for your purchases or another Styrofoam cup for your coffee-to-go, refuse the default option and bring your own bag or mug instead.
2. Reduce paper use. Use whiteboards instead of scratch paper or sticky notes. If you're still getting catalogs or direct mail solicitations, take the time to contact the companies and have them remove you from their mailing lists. If you want to extend this to your personal life, consumers can register with the Direct Marketing Association to stop receiving direct mail offers by paying a $2 processing fee for a period of 10 years through DMAChoice.org.
3. Plant a garden. Eating that first ripened tomato fresh from the garden is one of my favorite parts of the summer. Encourage your team to plant things they love to eat and harvest for lunch. If you work out of your home, take some time to plant something outdoors and take breaks tending to your garden. You'll get some nice fresh air time as well as delicious produce to eat.
4. Curb your transportation. Is it possible to walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving to your destination? Can you install a bike rack for your employees and encourage them to bike, if possible? If getting around in two wheels isn't possible, can a meeting take place over Skype or another online conference platform? Not only are you saving gas money, but you're also saving time.
5. Do business with companies that have environmental and sustainability policies. Choose to work with companies that share similar values. If their policy isn't immediately available on their website, ask whether the company has one. It's possible they will share what they do and just not publicize it because they don't think anyone outside their circle cares. Show them there are people who care and maybe more companies will opt to share.
Lower our environmental footprint in our offices isn't hard but it does take forethought. Taking the time and energy to be more mindful of the resources we use will help make us more productive while doing our part to decrease our global environmental impact.