Consumers often have their own internal tick-list of what they need or expect from a company. The standard questions most people consider when buying a product or service are:
Is it affordable or good value for money?
Do they treat their customers and employees well?
How efficient is their service and will it suit my needs?
Increasingly, people are seriously considering the ethics and values of companies they engage with and sustainability is the top of people’s list. With countless website measuring and rating how sustainable and environmentally friendly a company is, the business world has started paying attention to their impact on the planet.
However, becoming a wholly sustainable company takes a long time, especially if you didn’t start with sustainability in mind, and often means investing a lot of money into new systems and new manufacturing processes. Sometimes 100% sustainability just isn’t feasible or affordable.
But every little change makes a difference. Starting small is the best way to become sustainable and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the process.
Where to start? Your offices and customer facing premises are the best placed to start making small changes. Here are our small top tips to running a more sustainable office:
1. Consider the stationery and office supplies you are buying.
Boxes of the plain black biros and rubber bands equate to a lot of plastic waste when they run dry or snap. When the next time comes around to re-stock consider the alternatives that are available; refillable ink pens, metal rather than plastic paper clips, recyclable whiteboard markers or biodegradable packaging for shipping out your products.
2. Go paperless!
Many companies have recognised that this not only saves some trees but also saves them money. Only printing when absolutely necessary saves you from high ink costs too. If printing is unavoidable, consider switching to recycled paper and biodegradable inks for your printer.
3. Implementing some standard office recycling habits.
If your office isn’t too large, a set of recycling bins for plastics, cans and paper should be a standard. Having one set of communal bins rather than a bin for each desk also saves on the number of plastics bags your company uses.
4. Last one out, switches it all off.
Excluding equipment like servers and fridges, switching everything off at the plug at the end of day stops your office running up the utility bills with electronics on standby all night.
5. Maximise that sunlight.
If you’ve got some big wide windows, consider if you even need all of your overhead lights on. Opening up your blinds saves on how many lights actually need to be on in your space.
6. Renewable energy is the biggest change you could make right away.
If you are able to, consider switching your energy supplier to one that supplies electricity from renewable sources.
7. Avoid constantly changing the heating.
Leave the boiler alone. Set a standard internal temperature with a thermostat for the winter and summer season. Provide office blankets for anyone who is a little chilly.
8. Providing a kitchen space with all of the basic equipment means your employees don’t need to bring disposable utensils or packaging.
9. Encourage low emission commuting for employees who can and those who need to travel to the office, try to facilitate car shares or using public transport.
10. Allow your employees to work remotely when possible.
We hope some of these tips have shown that small changes are the best way to start your business’ journey to become more sustainable. Big changes take time to consider, plan and implement but if your customers can see how you have made adjustments on your sites, they will appreciate your efforts to get the ball rolling in the right direction.