Going Green In The Office

going-green-officeGoing green in the office is not only important from an environmental viewpoint, it is also imperative in order to keep up with a new generation in consumer demand. Consumers are increasingly interested in the sustainability of the companies they interact with. To be successful in today’s competitive environment, companies are having to demonstrate responsible behaviour.

And it’s not all green for green sake. Besides the clear ecological advantages, taking the steps to reduce the environmental impact of your business can have a positive impact on your workplace and on your bottom line.

Here are several tips which make a great start point in greening your office:

Energy use

Wasteful energy use is the greatest contributor to an office’s environmental footprint.

  • Reducing the energy used by computers and other electrical devices can have significant benefits. Start by ensuring that all machines are set to default energy saving settings. Make it normal practice to turn off monitors and switch off plugs at the end of the working day. In addition, keep equipment switched off unless it is being utilised
  • Companies should also focus on ensuring lights are switched off when out of use and installing energy efficient light bulbs and LED lamps

Paper and recycling

As part of a ‘throw away’ society, we tend to be blissfully ignorant of the amount of resources we both overuse and dispose of incorrectly. An unnecessary amount of paper is used in offices where it could easily be avoided or recycled appropriately.

  • Companies should start by buying only recycled and biodegradable materials
  • In order to reduce and recycle, you can reuse envelopes, enlist double-sided printing, use scrap paper for draft prints and implement and enforce a recycling scheme in the office
  • Digitising the workplace is a further positive step in implementing a green office. Where possible, keep your work online. Only print documents when necessary, send emails instead of letters and store files on computers as opposed to filing cabinets.


Besides its inefficiency, commuting bears a monetary and environmental cost on society. Commuting in individual cars causes an environmental strain and creates time pressures for most businesses. As a company, encourage sustainable transport schemes. As well as promoting walking and cycling, you can set up an office car-pooling scheme

Sustainable design

If you are in the process of redesigning or are able to afford a revamp, why not design your office to be more sustainable. Simple factors such as making use of natural light and air flow can reduce your environmental impact as well as increasing your employees’ health and productivity.

Furthermore, you can invest in furniture that has been made from recycled materials, is biodegradable or is sourced from sustainable forestry (‘Sustainable Forestry Initiative’ or ‘Rainforest Alliance’ certified).

In conclusion

Whilst there are many more actions your company could undertake, these simple starter actions can go a long way towards turning your business into a sustainable, green venture. They will also maintain your company’s position at the forefront of customer demand whilst saving you money in the process.

Recommended Reading
In The Myth of the Paperless Office, Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper use the study of paper as a way to understand the work that people do and the reasons they do it the way they do. Using the tools of ethnography and cognitive psychology, they look at paper use from the level of the individual up to that of organizational culture. The Myth of the Paperless Office

About the Author Acacia Smith

Acacia Smith is a New Zealander now based in London. She holds a bachelor degree and postgraduate diploma from Victoria University of Wellington. She has worked for the Council for International Development (CID) and more recently in Bolivia for CIWY, a network of private parks for the rehabilitation and conservation of Amazonian fauna. Acacia is passionate about sustainability and the role businesses can play in promoting a better, more sustainable future.

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