Green work

In the last weeks, I showed to you several different ideas how to act eco-friendly in our everyday life and I hope that changed your way of using plastic bags or the paper napkins in the Mensa. Now, after having the previous posts as a base, I would like to draw your attention on the business level, because that’s where a lot of things can be achieved!

Going green can certainly boost office morale and it will bring the office together in order to fulfill one united task. Soon, you will see that your effort to make the environment healthier and happier will give you and the rest of your team a sense of purpose and achievement. It can even be part of a team management campaign.

A lot of people think that going green will consume enormous amounts of money but that is definitely not the case. On the contrary, the total operating costs will drop if you go green (remember electricity use from last week’s blog post) and furthermore your business will be able to set higher prices, because, according to researches, half of the costumers are willing to pay up to 10 % more if it can be assured, that the product is green.

With those facts, you can overcome the greatest obstacle: convincing the CEO. With him (or her) on your team and clearly standing behind this project, going green with your business isn’t difficult anymore.

To start off, you use firstly the tips for your own household (see What a difference a day made… Part I  and What a difference a day made… Part II ) and apply them to your work place.  For example, turn off the lights, when they are not used and take energy-saving bulbs like LED lights. Save money by turning off electronic devices you don’t need and sort your waste consciously.

Use materials that are either recycled or will be. Buy recycled and maybe even refillable office supplies like pens, pencils, markers and especially paper. Be aware that 55 % of water is saved during the production of recycled paper and that it takes 60-70 % less energy to produce than paper made from a new paste. Biodegradable soaps and cleaning agents are not only healthier for the environment but less harmful for you, especially if you suffer from allergies and a sensitive skin.

In summer, companies use air conditioners in order to chill their offices and most of the ACs are much too cold, it is often unhealthy. Differences of more than 10 degrees between inside and outside the office are not good for your body, you risk collapses. If you set the air conditioner just one degree warmer, you can save 6-8 % of energy, which is vice versa suitable for heaters, as well.

Thanks to IT, being green in your work life is easy: filing or accounting per computer is more efficient and databases do not take a whole room rather than one computer as a server or an external hard drive the size of a shoe box. Searching for a certain piece of data will be easier, too, on a computer and you can spend more time on other tasks. If you email documents and letters, they can be read online and don’t have to be printed, which is either far less time consuming and tree-friendly.

In meetings, employees should bring their laptops for note-taking and the speaking person can email all the necessary data. Furthermore, use whiteboards instead of flipcharts (paper!). Flash drives allow you to transport information in a quick and efficient way and just imagine the amount of text files and small pictures that fit into those tiny USB flash drives!

The following green ideas for computers will surprise you as we are not always aware of the fact, that the newest things are the best for our environment, but have a look:

  • Turn off your computer when not in use. It doesn’t hurt it. Really!
  • Replace Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors with flat screen monitors. Flat screen displays consume only about one-third the energy of a CRT monitor.
  • Consider replacing one or more desktop computers with a laptop; laptops are the most energy-efficient computer/monitor combination.
  • Keep computer equipment updated; current new computers and monitors are more energy efficient than those even just two years old.
  • Choose Energy Star compliant computers and monitors when selecting new equipment.
  • Recycle used computers.
  • Energy saving settings (standby if not used for 10 minutes)

(Source: http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/environmentbiz/a/greenoffice.htm)

All those ideas are nothing extraordinary. Pay attention and you will find a lot of other possibilities to act green.

Now, let’s have a look in the future. The greenest work is work at home because that means no office-hour traffic, no extra building no extra electricity and so on.  Researches prove that the efficiency rate of work at home is at least the same (if not higher) than at an office with lots of other people. It is a very convenient way to act. The trading platform Hitmeister engages for its services employees being at their house and taking the incoming calls on a special telephone. Ideas of virtual call centers are developing fast and technology with it. Mothers would be grateful to find more job offers like that!  Read my colleague’s blog post on Business conferences with Skype  for more information on this topic.

People will (hopefully) be more and more conscious concerning our environment and companies can’t be blind to it, as well. Working together will help ;)

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About SparklinGesine

20 year-old girly girl from the eastern part of Germany, now studying at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Loves music, cinema and this fancy invention called "internet". View all posts by SparklinGesine

2 responses to “Green work

  • lisabu00

    Hey Gesine,
    I really liked your recent post. You presented easy but efficient ways to save energy, time and money in your daily business life and gave advice how to change habits in small steps to get a big effect.
    I also liked how you underlined every statement with a number, so it makes it easier for us to get the whole message and the relevance of every clue you gave us.
    Very well done.
    I just would like to add, that if companies choose to go a greener path, they can switch to green electricity as well. It does not automatically mean energy is more expensive, but even if the local provider supplies green electricity a bit more pricy, you can invest the money you saved with reducing the costs of your air conditioner. ;)

  • loveletterbringer

    Hello,

    I like your post about the ways energy can be saved and waste can be reduced in the every day work environment. In my opinion you got it right that in the workspace where people spend most of their day the green initiative is the most efficient. As a computer science student myself I see it every day how inefficient workflows are designed around the university and administrations. Lecture notes are sometimes printed out (by students and Staff) instead of viewing them on the computer/tablet and adding notes there. For exams every students get a load of paper to fill out instead of providing easy to use tests on a computer. Of course the cost of producing those devices needs to be considered as well, but over time the nature would be a little more green.
    Keep up the work, I just added your blog to my RSS reader to keep up with your work. Very interesting.

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