With this month’s focus on Earth Day and all the talk in the news recently about missions to Mars, it’s actually a good time to think about what each of us can do to protect our own planet – the things that we can actually change to make a difference.

We spend most of our time at work, so let’s start there. How environmentally friendly (‘green’) is your office? How highly do you score on the checklist below of green workplace initiatives?

1. Do you really Reduce, Re-use and Recycle?

The three R’s help us to limit wastage, saving precious resources, energy, time, and money. Don’t print unless you really have to, and when you do, try to print on both sides (duplex). Save old printouts and scrap paper for taking notes at meetings instead of breaking open a new notepad.

Don’t leave water running or lighting and air conditioning on when it’s not required. Ensure the correct amount of water is in the kettle when you boil it, rather than filling it and boiling it every time. There are so many ways to reduce energy consumption. Make an investment in printers and copiers that use less toner/ink and are energy efficient.

Get involved in recycling schemes for cardboard, printer cartridges, batteries, phones, laptops, etc., so that these are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way or donated.

2. Do you operate a paperless office? (or at least a ‘less’ paper office??)

Most companies have focused their efforts on making the office paperless. With the variety of flexible cloud-based storage systems, digital document management software, and connected devices available now, it is much easier – and more secure – to store and process all of your documents digitally. Not only will this keep your desk and office clean and tidy, but you’ll also be able to manage, track and access documents better and help save the planet at the same time!

3. Do you have an action plan that your teams are aware of?

For an office to be truly green, everyone must follow green principles. Ideally, you need an action plan with a checklist of goals that everyone must strive to achieve and with clear roles and responsibilities that encourage everyone to participate.

Some items on your checklist could be: Everyone using energy-saving mode for their computers and phones at the end of the day, rather than leaving them on standby; Unplugging equipment such as printers and scanners when they’re not in use; Reviewing documents onscreen rather than printing; Using shredded paper as packing materials; Bringing reusable lunch bags; Taking public transport or car sharing, etc.

4. Do you encourage others to go green?

It’s not rocket science, and it’s certainly nothing new, but a simple step is to include a line in your email signature, encouraging the recipient not to print the email. This sends out a positive message to others about your company and encourages your teams.

More and more customers are looking to work with offices that are sustainable and thinking beyond the immediate future in terms of their client’s needs, the community, and the environment, but this shouldn’t be your main driver to go green, nor should it be the cost or time savings. So many simple, free steps will help ensure the sustainability of our planet for future generations that there’s no reason not to get involved.

If you’d like to hear more about our most energy-efficient office equipment and paperless document management systems, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.