Picked up this great self help guide at the library recently: Greening Your Office: Strategies that Work, by Doucette and Johnson. Be it a home office or a cubicle in an office tower, every workplace can become more efficient and environmentally responsible.
The best is the dollar saving kickback and brand image boost that you can achieve while simply doing the right thing for the environment and local community.
Here is a summary of the book’s message, peppered with my personal take on it.
- The tangibles: save hard cash, e.g:
- reduce wastage everywhere
~~ For in-depth definition of waste please see my Process Optimization Part 2 blog, ~~
- sleep/power off electronics when not needed
- filtered instead of bottled water
- optimize insulation and thermostats for more efficient heating and cooling
- reuse before buying new
- telecommute, minimize travel
- when replacing, switch to LED lights.
- The intangibles: boost employee morale and boost brand image, e.g:
- creating a “green team“ is an energizing, fun challenge that spreads positive feelings and message across the organization, spilling over into their homes and communities
- sets positive role model to the competition and in your industry while contributing to the larger good.
WHAT to do?
Conduct an assessment by category. This forms the baseline against which you can measure dollar savings, process improvements and then showcase improved results in future marketing campaigns.
Please take advantage of my free downloadable checklist to get going quickly and easily.
To achieve success, motivate top down. Have business owner and senior leaders champion the cause to support and encourage everyone to participate. Make the activities fun, respected and valued across the organization. Quarterly and annually report back on pre-defined targets.
5 COMMON THEMES SPANNING ALL CATEGORIES
- ERADICATE WASTE
Hunt down and eliminate waste in every aspect of your physical office space and business processes.
- CLOSED-LOOP THINKING
Think in terms of a closed loop system, where you factor in all supplies and raw materials that come in, and all end products and wastage at the other end. Seek to harness extraneous outputs, to become fresh inputs or revenue generating products in their own right. Engage service providers that follow your reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy and co-operate with each other to minimize waste and maximize efficiencies at all exchange points where you conduct business.
Remember that inputs include the intangibles, like attitudes, time and space.
Reapply this thinking to your suppliers’ suppliers. In this manner, keep growing your circle of influence, continuously expanding awareness and benefits of sustainability, from your local community to more global enterprise.
- FROM THE GROUND UP
The easiest time to implement sustainable practices is when building from scratch. This applies to renovating physical space and when creating new processes. Think bulk/modular design, local supply and renewable raw materials. Favour vendors who like-mindedly are continuously striving to behave sustainably. Minimize water and energy consumption. Give preference to potentially larger up front, one-time investment, that over the longer term will yield bigger Profit, thereby improving the Planet for the People.
- START SMALL
From the long list of areas to address, initially pick at most 5. Choose those few items that you know you can achieve 100% successful results within 3 months. Early successes will provide such a shot in the arm to the team, snowballing into subsequent additional goals and achievements.
- CELEBRATE and SHARE
After all, your business goal is for you, your family, staff and community to flourish financially and spiritually. Doing this in a way that improves living conditions for current and future generations should be shared and celebrated. Such community participation brings not only joy and fulfillment, but the best publicity no money can buy.
Now, to download your personal checklist to identify greening opportunities, please fill out the form on the top right hand side of this page, to receive your downloadable spreadsheet via email.
Thank you. Fay Rakoff.
Doucette, J., Johnson, L. (2014). Greening Your Office: Strategies that Work. Canada: International Self-Counsel Press Ltd.