Costs and environmental protection in the office are by no means contradictory, as long as one does not only consider the pure acquisition costs. Some measures even mean a pure cost saving.
Environmental protection in the office and environmentally friendly products do not automatically have to increase costs, as procurement decision-makers often believe. Green procurement in particular can help reduce costs over the entire lifecycle. Employees at office workstations can also contribute to environmental protection in the company. In many cases, this is done by changing the behavior of employees. In other cases, management can make a difference by changing processes.
Take a holistic view of environmental protection in the office
As is almost always the case, the focus of environmental protection is on minimizing waste. This means z.B., That paper and cleaning supplies are not wasted, but used as fully as possible and, where this is not possible, recycled. Only then is it a matter of disposing of the unavoidable waste in an environmentally friendly way.
Avoiding waste is also the focus when it comes to energy: Often, considerable energy can be saved in the operation of equipment and in lighting.
In addition to protecting the environment, there is always another important argument in a business: saving money. However, this requires good planning to ensure that the right measures are selected and that the changes are sustainable.
15 tips for more environmental protection in the office
You don’t have to switch to green electricity, offer organic milk in the coffee machines or plant a flower meadow in front of the company grounds to become more environmentally friendly. There are other ways you can save money at the same time:
- You can replace coffee machines with aluminum or plastic capsules with fully automatic machines with a grinder.
- If balconies and windowsills are deserted? Insects are happy to see anything that blooms and provides food.
- Check that all appliances are set to energy saving mode.
- Gradually replace stationary PCs with laptops with docking station, external keyboard and monitor. While a PC may consume 350 to 400 watts, a laptop may use only 70 to 80 watts.
- Switch to digital payroll.
- What needs to be printed out? Check how you can make progress on the way to a paperless office.
- The back of printed paper can often be used for internal copies. This reduces paper consumption.
- Instruct your employees on the topics of paperless offices, saving electricity on the computer and waste avoidance – for example, without much effort with a ready-to-use instruction solution from WEKA.
- Encourage a central shutdown of PCs after a certain time – not all employees shut down their computers every day.
- Switch to low-cost consumers such as LEDs.
- Motion detector with automatic light switch-off in rooms that are not constantly used (z.B. Small material storage, kitchenettes etc.) can ensure that lights are not left on unnecessarily.
- Discuss with the building management which rooms need to be heated to how many degrees. If you only pick something up occasionally or your intern only uses a room once a week, that room doesn’t need to be heated all the time.
- Post a checklist on office doors. Those who go home should be reminded once again that they have switched off all energy consumers.
- Avoid individual orders of office supplies, but collect orders instead. In this way, many trips are avoided.
- Ensure that offices everywhere have facilities for separating "waste", which in reality is largely made up of recyclable materials.
Or simply ask your employees what ideas they have for environmental protection. You can animate employees by asking for their opinion. It is also important that you then implement corresponding ideas.
Clear responsibilities help
Assign responsibilities in the area of environmental protection. Who will ensure that all devices are switched off in the evening?? Is anyone responsible for the purchase of a coffee machine with a grinder?? Who regularly checks the radiator thermostats to see if the settings make sense? These responsibilities ensure that a measure is also implemented and also motivate employees to commit themselves to the environment.
Ideas competition for more environmental protection in the office
It is advisable to involve as many employees as possible in this process. One possibility is z.B. a simple competition: if possible, everyone should make at least one suggestion as to how they would improve environmental protection at work from their personal point of view.
So you draw on the existing knowledge of your employees. It is almost more important, however, that everyone is sensitized to the upcoming changes and is "taken along". Collect the ideas and let the employees discuss what makes sense from their point of view and what not.
Management wants environmental protection
Many employees today are open-minded when it comes to measures for more environmental protection. However, it is important that a company also encourages this and exemplifies a spirit of caring for the environment.
In order to achieve a sustainable improvement in the area of environmental protection, the management level must clearly signal: "Yes, we want to improve environmental protection in our offices."
The management level can set an example z.B. by avoiding obvious waste (paper cups for coffee-to-go) and by making noticeable investments in everyday work, for example software-controlled blinds to shade windows in order to reduce the power-intensive cooling of office spaces, or motion sensors that automatically regulate the lights.
Investments in environmental protection often also have a time component: The department management initiates z.B. an environmental circle and gives those involved a time budget that they can spend on developing and implementing measures. In turn, these measures should also be allowed to cost money. However, encourage the participants in the investment circle to always quantify the savings from reduced waste in addition to the investments made. This increases the acceptance of the investment by management, which has to release the necessary funds.
Results must be measurable
No motivation is so high that it doesn’t need a clear sense of achievement now and then. Therefore, wherever possible, measures should be designed in such a way that the results are measurable. Encourage e.B. Make sure that your colleagues always record the current status first and then check the success of the measures after they have been implemented.
If employees see that their behavioral change is making a difference, they will stick with it. And where measures do not change anything, they can be adapted or stopped. Clarify for each idea: How do we measure success??
Experience shows: Where success cannot be measured, the measure is often not fully thought through. In this respect, the question of measurability often increases the quality of the suggestions for improvement.
Can the ideas be implemented quickly?
Sort the good ideas of the employees and the management level not only according to how effective they are. Also check what can be implemented quickly and what takes time.
It may be that the best measures take longer, because z.B. which must be turned on purchase. However, if there is a difference between raising awareness among employees (z.B. by a survey) and the implementation of the measures takes a long time, the effect is largely already fizzled out again and the motivation gone.
Therefore, start with measures that can be implemented quickly, and gradually supplement them with measures that take longer to implement. This result should always be communicated to everyone – then everyone will also feel that the measures have improved environmental protection.