10 Easy Tips to Create a Sustainable Office

Office Desk

During lockdown it was hard not to notice the environmental impacts of our departure from the streets. Deer grazing outside housing estates in East London to peacocks taking over a highway in India, it was a beautiful sight. Now we’re all starting to venture back out into the world, the big question is, how can we continue to keep nature happy? We’ve compiled a list of quick wins you can easily incorporate to create a more sustainable office.

1. Go Paperless

Everyone can relate to the stress of making sure they have enough printouts before their big presentation. Let’s remove the added pressure, on you and the environment. If lockdown has taught us one thing, it’s that screen sharing works. Take that mindset into your next meeting and invite people to bring their laptops to take notes, then email them the slides later. You can’t print out all the fancy graphics anyway.

2. Recycling Bins

This might seem obvious, but ensuring you have the correct recycling bins in the office will encourage employees to do the right thing. Have a sign above each one to say what can and can’t be recycled for ease of use.

3. Refillable Jars

Free snacks have almost become a necessity in office perks, and whilst it’s a great bonus, it also means a lot of unwanted waste. Think about what you offer and how you can reduce the packaging it comes in. Instead of getting multipacks of nuts, try bulk buying and having a refill jar, so that employees can help themselves to however much they want. This will not only keep your office sustainable, but also help in reducing food waste, which leads me nicely to my next point…

4. Food Waste

Did you know food waste generates approximately 25% of man-made greenhouse emissions annually? It’s hard to believe your leftover lasagne is that dangerous right? When food is left to rot it releases methane, which is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere. To ensure you’re doing the best in your workplace, do a review. See how much food you end up throwing away at the end of each week so that you can better plan what to buy for the future. This way you can avoid purchasing things that no one really eats. Smarter storage is also a way that you can increase the shelf life of certain foods. Bring older items to the front of the cupboard and keep things in airtight containers so they don’t go off. Finally, consider buying your fresh fruit from a market, or use companies like Oddbox to really make use of surplus greens.

5. Reusable Water Bottles and Keep Cups

At Making Moves, every member of the team has their own personalised branded reusable water bottle. It’s a simple and effective way to reduce waste and ensure our staff are always hydrated! Water bottles and coffee cups are not only a great way to keep your office sustainable, but also a brilliant branding opportunity (hello marketing department).

Orange Chilli bottle

6. Lunchtime Litter

Ok, so we get that it’s unrealistic to bring lunch in every day, no matter how much you plan. Sometimes we just want our weekly sushi treat, and that’s ok. Just do it without the waste. Until drastic measures are put into place, most of our food will be wrapped in plastic of some sort, so it’s our job to reduce how much we add. Take your own tupperware and ask for your food to be filled in there instead of a takeaway container. Do you really need a bag? Take a reusable one if so. And of course, say no to plastic cutlery and straws. If you’re a decision maker in your business, consider getting more cutlery in the office so staff are confident they won’t need a plastic alternative. Remember the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.

7. Go Green, Literally

As well as making your office look prettier and helping the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff, plants drastically help the environment too. Along with providing oxygen, plants also absorb carbon dioxide and other office pollutants into their leaves. It then filters into their roots and cleans the contaminated air around you. Just one plant can clean up to 30 square meters of air, so yes even that little plant on your desk can help.

8. Go Dark

Lighting accounts for 20% of all energy consumption in the UK. For businesses, this can be as much as 35% of total electricity expenditure. By changing to LED lights you’re not only promoting wellbeing in the office (research shows that they’re the closest alternative to natural light) but you’re also helping the environment, as LED’s are 100% more recyclable than other bulbs and have 4 times less environmental impact. Another easy way to maintain a sustainable office is by going dark. Switch off everything that doesn’t need to be left on overnight. Finance will thank you later.

9. Transport

If you are able to, cycling is a brilliant way to not only help the environment but keep you active too. A lot of companies offer access to cycle to work schemes, allowing you to purchase a bike without the hefty one-off cost. If you drive, is there anyone you can car share with en-route? Road transport accounts for 22% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. Help reduce that whilst getting in a bit of team bonding with your colleagues.

10. Recycled Furniture

Ok so not a quick win, I know, but a great change that makes a huge difference to the environment and to your bank balance. Recycled office furniture typically lowers costs by around 66% and reduces landfill. People often think that to have a classy modern office you can’t have recycled furniture. Well, here’s some news, you can. All of the chairs at Making Moves HQ are recycled, on brand and we think they look pretty cool.

Recycled office chairs and Making Moves HQ

Due to certain COVID-19 restrictions, some of these tips can’t be carried out straight away, but hopefully it will give you inspiration for the future. By implementing some or all of these ideas into your office, you’ll be taking positive steps towards saving our planet. Small acts when multiplied can change the world.

Sometimes, it can be hard to make the sustainable office changes you want if your lease doesn’t allow it, or if the space itself isn’t right for the design you want. If that is the case for you, it might be worth looking for a new, more sustainable office space – one with lots of access to natural light, where you can make the eco-friendly transformations you want. Here at Making Moves, we help companies who are looking to find and move to a greener building. Whatever requirements you have, we will identify options that we think will work for you. For more information, please drop us a message.