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Workplace Design

Why Business Should Go Green and How to Do So


Everyone knows about it, everyone talks about it, but what does your business do to create and promote a sustainable working environment? “Going green” in our day and age is no longer limited to the prudent use of our natural resources, but rather spans across a multi-faceted ecosystem that can also be translated to your workplace that impact cost and also affect your workforce and external view of your company.

These are some practical steps to start green and the positive impact for your business:

1. Dim the lights!

One of the most efficient energy reduction ways everyone should know about is also as simple as it sounds: turn off the lights. Despite it being common sense, fact is that most of us often forget to turn off lights when leaving a room. The easiest way to remind people can be having notes next to light switches, or equipping your office with motion sensors, which will switch on only when someone enters the room and automatically turns the light off after a pre-defined duration.

Use LED light, Eco Label like Energy star for appliances, using appliance with high tick-rating (Energy Label certified by NEA). Engage qualified electrician to switch your lighting for LED.

The same logic can be applied to most of your office electronic equipment. When not in use computers, printers, beamers, TVs and monitors should go into power saving mode. Luckily, manufacturers and industry leaders are making an effort in this field and already equip most modern hardware with a power saving function ready for you to use. Consider applying your standard office policies to newly purchased equipment.

While the number of kilowatt-hours may not be immediately noticeable, the cost savings accumulate rapidly when everyone joins the movement.

2. Go paperless!

Often manifested in legacy processes that everyone just blindly follows, paper trails can go deep and in the end you might wonder: “Why did I have to print this in the first place?”.

According to Forbes, the U.S government has spent USD930 million on unnecessary printing costs every year – with USD28 million wasted on the daily printing of copies of congressional records, which are available online.

In the digital age the best approach you can take is not to start with any paper trail at all. The “paperless” philosophy may seem drastic and intrusive at first, but the symbiosis of this mentality with your daily operations can result in massive savings and increased efficiency throughout your business.

Environmental impact:

The production of printing paper is resource-heavy and directly causes forest harvesting, CO2 emissions, excessive bleaching and chemical waste.

Operational efficiency:

As comfortable as we are with a stack of handwritten notes, the information age requires us to capture, find and share data fast and efficiently. e-mails, digital forms and signatures, document management systems and cloud storage should become integral parts of our office routines to avoid paper as much as possible.

Business Cost:

By minimizing your printing needs, you can reduce your office budget for paper, toner / printer ink, files, storage space and archival management.

Office Security:

Private and confidential documents lying open on a desk are all but safe. Digital document management solutions offer role- and user-based access management functionalities to secure your data.

More and more companies, especially younger start-ups and smaller workplaces are adopting this trend creating an example for rest of the industry to follow. While it may be a bit more difficult for existing paper-heavy companies to make the transition, the cost will only further increase over time, so start now!

Also consider small steps starting with your printing habits. Default printing settings could include: black/white only, double-sided, multiple pages on one and a monthly limit per employee.

3. Choose your office products & furniture

Adopting environment-friendly products and office furniture means that your business are not only helping the environment but also promoting a social responsibility image to your business partners and consumers.

An environmental responsibility image can also benefit your company regarding to higher staff retention and satisfaction. According to an online survey by Knoll on the workplace preference of Generation Y, 96% out of 3,000 respondents want to work in an environmentally friendly or aware workplace.

Office chair sourced from net positiva, a collection and recycling program aimed at combating the bad effects of discarded ocean fishing nets. Green product.
This Office chair is sourced from Net Positiva, a collection and recycling program aimed at combating the detrimental effects of discarded ocean fishing nets.

One of the way to promote that image to your partners and consumer is furnishing your office with FSC labeled products. The FSC logo is well-known as a symbol of well-managed forests. “Any company wants to add the FSC label to the products it makes must first receive chain of custody (CoC) certification. This certification means it is sourcing materials from FSC-certified forests, recycling and/or controlled sources and is following FSC-defined best practice throughout the production process and supply chain”.

4. Get cozy!

According to a poll conducted by WWF Singapore for Earth Hour 2011 among 450 participants, 40 percent of those are not happy with the air-conditioning at their offices. and three out of four faced health issues such as flu, cough, and dry skin.  Even though it might be a trivial issue, it has noticeable effect on employees’ productivity. Most of the time, temperature extremes waste productive energy. Organizations are encouraged to set their air-conditioning temperatures at 24°C or above to not just save on electricity bills, but also keep in mind the health of the people working and visiting their workplace.

Business can do their part in environment. Doesn’t cost a lot. In fact, there will be operational cost saving and better corporate branding associated.

"Why business should go green and how to do" first published on ASME Entrepreneurs' Digest. Written by Eunice Ooi, cofounder of spaceSense.co
This article is first published on ASME, Entrepreneurs’ Digest, Issue 85, 
May/ June 2019.


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