Going ‘green’ or switching to a healthier and more environment-friendly workplace just might be one of the best decisions big organisations and pretty much anyone could make these days.

What with all the benefits sustainability in the workplace can bring, not to mention the fact that Carbon Tax requires businesses to implement effective ways to cut down on carbon emissions, there seems to be no other way to go but GREEN.

You can’t be the only one in the entire company to aim for workplace sustainability though. For a company’s green initiative to be a successful one, everyone in the organisation has to be in on it as well.

Below are 32 ways you can get your employees involved in your business’ green initiative:

1.  Ditch the Paper Whenever Possible

A woman typing using her laptop

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by startupstockphotos

Doing work online means there’ll be less need for paper. Have everyone review documents and keep files on their computers instead of printing everything and piling them up in file cabinets. When you move to a new office, it’ll be easier to make offsite backup copies and take them with you.

2.  If It Has to Be Paper – Use the Recycled One

If you can’t go totally paperless, use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and coloured using only eco-friendly methods. Recycled paper also uses up huge amounts of energy, water, and chemicals. So, buy the kind that has a high percentage of post-consumer content. Make sure that the minimum of chlorine bleaching is involved.

3.  Double It Up!

Two high technology photocopier

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Andre W

Choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If possible, avoid colour printing. Make sure that everyone sets the photocopier and printer back to default single copies after use.

4.  Paper Is Not the Only Thing You Can Recycle

Consider recycling printer cartridges or going for recycled replacements that are way cheaper than new ones. Remanufactured cartridges cost less (15%) than brand new ones.

5.  Get the Waste Alerts

Use software programs like GreenPrint  that can identify wasteful printing and alert the user about the possible wasted paper space. It also recommends the ways to eliminate it. In fact, GreenPrint claims to save businesses 17 percent on printing materials every year.

6.  Don’t Misuse the Misprints

Give away notepads made of recycled misprints and so everyone knows their misprints can still be used and not just thrown away.

7.  Your Granny Was Onto Something: Save the Shipping Boxes and Wrapping Paper

An individual carrying a cardboard box with a globe and other items inside

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Guy Kilroy

If your staff needs to ship packages, have them reuse shipping boxes and shredded waste paper as packing material.

8.  Make It a Fun Ride Together

Help reduce traffic congestion by encouraging everyone to carpool, take public transit, bike, or walk to work if the workplace is reasonably near their home.

9.  Cheer for the Responsible Transport Methods

A group of people with their bicycles

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by PhotoAtelier

Encourage those who are getting a car to get a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, or a scooter. You can even start an office carpool or group bike club and give small rewards to those who choose green methods of coming to work.

10.   Loosen Up the Dress Code

If it’s possible for your company, consider setting a business casual policy that allows employees to wear something more casual instead of strictly formal attire. Aside from being better for the environment, this also means less dry cleaning expenses for everybody.

11.   How About Just Staying Home?

A woman working in front of the computer

Photo courtesy: Pexels Image by negativespace.co

Give working from home a try. Practice telecommuting with your staff through instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools. That way, everyone gets to save time, and money for gas and laundry because you can work in your pajamas! Just think about how much air quality will improve and how much less of a hit road maintenance will have to take.

12.   An Extra Day of Weekend? Bring It On!

Consider having your employees work 10 hours a day for 4 days instead of 8 hours a day for 5 days. This helps cut energy costs for the company and travel costs for everyone. Who wouldn’t love three-day weekends?

13.   Let It Shine

Natural light helps employees with productivity and satisfaction. So, make the most of the natural daylight and use it as a free source of lighting in the workplace instead of having all those artificial lights on all day.

This can work perfectly for all the desks that are close to huge windows.

Also advise everyone never to leave the lights on at night when it’s time to go home.

14.   Recycle, Reuse, Refill is the Name of the Game

Colourful pen and papers in the drawer

Photo courtesy: Pexels Image by Tim Gouw

Stock up on recycled pens and pencils and encourage everyone to use them. It’s also better to get refillable pens and markers instead of buying disposable ones.

15.   Green Up Your Office Space: Literally

Go green literally by encouraging employees to bring plants to the office. Plants can absorb airborne pollutants while emitting healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air.

Turn your entire workplace green with plants everywhere and make it more comfortable and homey for everybody.

16.   Explore the Biodegradable Options

Replace soaps, tissues, or towels in the washroom and office kitchen with those made of biodegradable materials.

17.   Choose Greener Cleaning Agents

Green cleaning products that is safe for the environment

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Mike Mozart

Have your custodial staff use only biodegradable cleaners. These environmentally friendly cleaning products will protect the health of your staff. They will also eliminate harmful substances and odours.

18.   Mind Your Mats

Instruct employees to the use dust control & floor protection mats . Place these mats by the door to keep dirt, dust, and bacteria from invading your workplace. It will reduce the need for everyday vacuuming and cleanups using harsh chemicals.

19.   Every Water Drop Counts

Lecture about water conservation

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Eric Garcetti

Promote conservation of water in the office kitchen or washroom. Toilet flushing wastes a lot of water. You can limit the amount of water wasted per flush by putting a brick in the tank.

20.   Make Bulk Buying Your Thing

Avoid buying individual packets of coffee, creamer, sugar, pepper, salt, jam, and other consumables for the office pantry. Get them in bulk instead. Make sure to keep them organised and sanitary.

21.   Keep Your Eye on the Supplies Cabinet

Cabinet full of office supplies

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Andre W

Advise the office manager to regularly keep tabs on your supplies cabinet. This helps keep employees from being wasteful with the office supplies.

22.   Share the Savings Around

Explain the importance of cost savings to your employees and perhaps come up with a program that allows you to throw pizza parties, organise lunches or dinners for everybody.

You can do it using the money you all have saved from conserving your office supplies. This will make the savings more tangible for everybody and encourage their efforts.

23.   Update the Mailing List

Recycle your mail sign

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Quinn Dombrowski

Keeping your mailing list updated all the time will keep everyone from sending out unnecessary letters. This means you’ll be saving on paper, printing, and postage.

24.   Not Using It? You Better Be Unplugging It!

Advise employees to unplug their computers, printers, scanners, photocopiers, and other devices  before they leave work. Did you know that a huge percentage of office power is consumed by machines that are not even being used?

Unplug all the electrical sockets and devices if not in use.

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by trenttsd

These are the machines that may be off but are still plugged into an outlet. This makes them one of the biggest environmental culprits and expenses today called ‘standby power’ or ‘phantom power’.

25.   Start a Turn off Trend

Instead of using screen savers, have everyone set monitors to power off instead. Basically just turn everything off when it’s not about to be used for several minutes or more including the lights.

26.   Want a Fork? Bring Your Own!

Instead of using disposable spoons and forks, encourage everyone to bring their own reusable utensils so you don’t throw away large quantities of plastic on a daily basis.

27.   Nothing Beats a Homemade Snack

Encourage employees to bring lunch to work in reusable containers. As much as possible, avoid getting delivery and takeout as these usually end up being a pile of packaging waste in your office’s trash bins.

Your employees can also bring in their favourite mug from home to reduce or even eliminate the use of paper cups.

28. Forget About Bottled Water

Plastic botted water everywhere that contributes to garbages

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by Todd Morris

Discourage bottled water use in the workplace and even at any work-related event or meeting. Raise awareness about why you need to stop drinking bottled water and the alternatives you can switch to.

29.   Step Up Your Office Silverware Game

You might also consider a one-time investment for glass and silver plates for you and your employees to use in the office kitchen or cafeteria during lunch breaks.

30.   Make Recycling the Favourite Office Habit

Make sure each department has their own small recycling bins so that recycling becomes everyone’s habit in your company.

31.   Build Your a Green Team!

Couldn’t think of more ‘green’ ideas for workplace?  Build an employee-run ‘green’ team or committee whose members will brainstorm and come up with more Earth-conscious measures for your office. This will make everyone feel more involved and create a team atmosphere.

32.   Speak Up and Spread the Word!

Share these tips with your colleagues. Spread awareness in the entire workplace. You can put up signs, posters, and bulletin boards everywhere in the office.

Share studies and statistics about the company’s imprint on the environment. Share the company’s long-term goals and ask for suggestions, opinions and other ideas as well.

A group of indivual talking

Photo courtesy: Pixabay Image by Free-Photos

Having your employees as involved as you are in your ‘green initiative’ for the business can have a significant impact on workplace morale, employee retention, and most of all, the company’s bottom line. So make them understand how their choices affect the organisation they belong to and the environment and you’re all set.

The good news is, there are companies like Alsco that strongly support ‘Green’ businesses. We provide services that will help every business owner, big or small, achieve total workplace sustainability.

Get in touch with Alsco today and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you with everything you need to get your ‘green initiative’ started.

Photo courtesy: Flickr Image by University of Exeter