For any business, the bottom line is the most important figure. To get this number favorable, saving money wherever possible truly matters. If you are a small business, this can become even more critical. As you are looking for ways to cut down on spending, try to look for ways to become “more green.” These two ideas often coincide, so you can help the environment, while reducing your own spending costs. Here are a few ways you can make your company more eco-friendly.
One of the quickest and simplest ways to make your office more environmentally friendly is to reduce paper use. Think about the items that you print every day: memos, office flyers, drafts of presentations, actual presentations, and more. By eliminating these prints and copies, you can drastically reduce the amount of paper you use. Of course, you cannot completely eliminate prints, but you can cut back. Put a “used paper” box next to the office printer. All prints that would be thrown away, but have a blank page can be put in this box. Then, whenever a person needs to print an unofficial document, they can print on the used paper. This will hopefully reduce your paper use by at least a third! Another way to reduce paper is to utilize digital means of sharing information. Use a company wide Google calendar, make a company Dropbox account for document sharing, and send memos and reminders through email. Also, always buy recycled paper!
Run a “Turn Off” campaign
Turning off your electronics is an immediate way to reduce energy use and therefore cut down on your power bill. The amount of “on/off” switches located in a modern office is astounding – and often overlooked. From coffee makers to computers, bathroom lights to copiers, you probably have a great deal of switches constantly turned “on.” Run a campaign reminding workers to turn everything off when it’s not in use. Switch all computers to off during the day. Try to have a set time for printing documents so printers can be turned off most of the day and not waste energy powering up. Keep all light switches off when no one is in the room; in fact, try to utilize natural light as much as possible! Throwing open office blinds and working by natural sunlight for as long as possible can improve moods, in addition to cutting down on energy use.
Don’t touch the thermostat
The EPA has recommended temperatures for thermostats in order to make them the most energy efficient. These temperatures are less than 62° for heat and higher than 85° for air. When you leave the office at night, the thermostat should be turned lower for heat and higher for air, but when you first get to the office in the morning, these can be turned to hotter or colder to adjust for the overnight temperatures. While these temperatures can seem extreme, especially for people accustomed to keeping the thermostat at an exact comfort temperature, the EPA estimates the average home saves nearly $200 a year by following the guidelines. For an office, this can be much more. Tell staff not to touch the thermostat throughout the day and leave it at set temperatures. To adjust to the extremes, consider encouraging casual dress during hot months; this will allow a bit more freedom in clothing for a hot office. It will balance out, however, when formal office wear will keep everyone comfortable in the winter.
While advertising online is, in fact, a great way to cut down on paper use, it can be so much more. Firstly, it is a great way to not only advertise your product, but also let people know about your green initiatives. In this eco-conscious time, many customers are aware of company’s environmental policies and will choose the “greener” one over its competitor. So, brag that you are making changes that help the environment! But do keep pushing products online. Social media sites and your own website are a great medium for advertising sales or new products. Consider getting a “Like us on Facebook” stamp you could put on every receipt or adding a call to “like” in your company emails; that way, customers know to head to your website and become involved in that community. No more flyers or mailers to advertise those sales, plus you can create an active fan base!
Liz Childers writes for a few small businesses that utilize these techniques. One business can help you find a great hammock for relaxing outside the office, while another sells fine knives, like a Gerber knife.