Today's modern office design needs to be adaptable. Not only to meet the needs of staff but to move with the changing environmental landscape. Nowadays, it's no longer enough to simply have a functional office, government, financial and moral pressures now play an important role in encouraging companies to have sustainable office designs.
According to a Carbon Trust survey, 67% of employees want to help their employer reduce their carbon footprint but don't know how. We've written this post to help highlight some of the ways that a modern office can become more sustainable.
According to Xerox, the average U.S working office uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year and 45% of those sheets are thrown away within 24 hours. And according to technology researchers, Gartner, our paper use is growing at a rate of 25% per year.
Paper waste reduction begins on the office floor by encouraging staff to only print documents when it's absolutely essential. In most cases, shared drive folders and cloud storage is a perfectly good alternative for storing and sharing documents digitally.
Make Responsible Buying Decisions
The everyday materials that your office buys have a significant impact on your company's carbon footprint. Some ways that you can plan a more sustainable office is to consider the environmental friendliness of the materials that you buy. Opting for high capacity toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, recycled paper, energy saving lightbulbs etc. all make a difference towards reducing your carbon footprint.
As an added incentive to make your office space more sustainable, the government has an Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) scheme that provides tax relief to businesses that invest in energy saving products.
Encourage Behaviour Change
Encouraging behaviour change within your company can go a long way to developing a sustainable office. Rather than simply introducing new sustainability policies at management level, ask employees to help come up with strategies to reduce your carbon footprint. Arranging team meetings and encouraging colleagues to share energy saving ideas can really help get everyone on board towards reaching your carbon footprint target.
Re-use and Maintain Old Materials and Equipment
How often does your office throw away old furniture and equipment without giving it a second thought? The next time your company arranges some office furniture clearing, first consider if the items have an alternative use in your office. If not, then consider recycling your old furniture and other equipment through the Active Waste Not Want scheme, where you old furniture will be donated to local charities and community organisations.
Likewise, they say prevention is better than cure, so make sure that you keep your heating and boiling systems in check to ensure that they're working efficiently and not costing you unnecessary money.
A sustainable office design not only benefits our environment by improving air quality and reducing waste, but it can save your company money by reducing your carbon footprint and making you eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances. Careful office planning increases worker productivity as less waste means less recycling and clutter, making for a more harmonious workplace.
If your company is serious about designing a sustainable office space, then we suggest that you ask your team to become involved in writing an environmental policy for your company. To help get you started and for some inspiration, you can read our environmental policy here.
Thanks for reading!
The Active team.