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Go green for good

Go green in the office

Sustainability is a hot topic for today’s businesses, with governments all over the world putting strict guidelines into place. Chelsea Langston-Lloyd explains how PAs and office managers can go green with some simple changes

We are all busy in our day jobs and thinking about being sustainable in the workplace isn’t really at the forefront of our minds. With recycling bins scattered round the office and motion sensor lights installed you probably feel like you’ve done enough, but there are many more things you can do to make a difference, reduce the amount of energy used and save money.

Here are some tips and easy wins to get you started.

  1. Power saver options – There are a couple of devices you can check power saver options on, including printers, photocopiers and computers. Your printer/photocopier probably stays on 24/7 and you haven’t even realised. When you walk away from your desk you probably lock your computer, but how long is it on before it goes into sleep mode? Check power saver options on devices and ensure they go to sleep after a short period of time when not in use.
  2. Double-sided printing and hold print – ‘Think before you print’ may have been on your email signature for some time now, but let’s face it – if people want to print something they will. To reduce the amount of paper that is wasted, set everyone’s default to print double sided. You can also set everyone up on ‘hold print’; this means that the document won’t print until a button on the printer is pressed. I’m sure we’ve all pressed print and forgotten to collect the document from the printer or realised after we’ve hit the button that there’s a spelling mistake. ‘Hold print’ solves both these issues, therefore reducing the amount of wasted paper and toner ink.
  3. Shut down – Have you ever walked round the office when everyone has gone home? If you have you’ve probably noticed that the TV is playing to itself, equipment is on standby and lights in the meeting rooms are left on. Encourage everyone to turn off lights and appliances at the end of the day. You can also create and implement a holiday shut-down policy for any long periods of time that the office is unoccupied, such as bank holidays or the Christmas break. Make someone responsible for checking appliances are off and unplugged, lights are off and computers are shut down. Communicate what you are doing to your cleaners so they don’t come into the office at the end of the day and turn everything back on.
  4. Video conferencing – You don’t have to be in the same room to collaborate anymore. There are many different video conferencing options out there to reduce the amount of travelling required and time wasted, and this will reduce your carbon footprint by saving the journey. Go To Meeting and WebEx are just two examples.
  5. Plants – Why not get some desk plants or put some greenery in the kitchen or meeting rooms? They reduce CO2, dust and stress, and increase productivity and wellness. Some recommended plants for office environments are aloe, spider plants, cacti, rubber plants, peace lilies and snake plants.

Just by taking some time to step back and think, you can probably come up with several ideas to implement. Do you use disposable cutlery or individually packaged sugar sachets? Do you use eco-friendly and Fair Trade products? Are your caterers sustainable? Can you promote and support world sustainable/environmental days in the office to encourage everyone to think about their impact on the environment? Why do you do things the way you do and is there a more sustainable of doing it?

Chelsea is Senior Administrator to Deputy MD and Office Manager at Willmott Dixon Construction. Starting as an Assistant Administrator just over four years ago, she has worked her way up through the ranks. She looks forward to seeing where her career will take her and hopes to one day help people starting out in the profession. Twitter: @TheYoungEA