We spend a lot of time thinking about how we can be more green at home, but for most of us a vast majority of our week is spent at work. In a place where we usually have limited control over how green our lives can be.
I, like many, work in an office where green living is not part of our working day. Although management have made steps to try and improve our energy consumption (for cost reasons I imagine) every day I think about how un-green an office can be. Lights will be left on in empty corridors, computers run for 40 hours a week, air-conditioning relentlessly blasts out cold air. These are all things which we (as non-management) have little or no control over but there must be things we can change in our own departments to help improve our green working environment.
I’ve made a few changes since I started my job 3 years ago and since starting my green journey I’ve been thinking more consciously about what we can actively do. The first thing I did was introduce plants to the office. Not necessarily a ‘green’ thing to do but adding plants to a work environment is proven to help productivity, “researchers at the University of Exeter found that workspaces were 15 percent more productive when you added a few houseplants to the office.” (source link here). Having a plant on your desk has psychological and biological benefits.
A major change that I’ve introduced in my work is starting a paperless movement. According to Recyling Guide.org.uk “12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used annually in the UK”. That’s a lot of paper. Our office used to print everything and every new document we received was photocopied. But now I’ve made it the norm to scan everything. What’s more is it has made the office much less cluttered, we used to have filing cabinets full and my desk was piled with paperwork. Now it is clean and clear making a much more minimalist, happy atmosphere.
I’m always trying to subtly introduce more green practices to the office (a thermos for hot water instead of boiling the kettle, a tea bag compost bin) but it can be hard when others don’t see the value in what you’re doing. I believe that it’s better to try even if it’s just you making the effort. Work shouldn’t be a non-green space when we spend so much of our lives there.
Let me know if you have any good green workplace ideas, I’m always looking for more things to do.