Workplaces can be notorious for waste and excess of office supplies and energy, which can take their toll on the office budget. By implementing green strategies, you can make your office more environmentally friendly, which is attractive to potential new customers, while saving money on utilities, repairs, equipment and supplies.
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Many workplaces waste a large amount of electricity by leaving computers and other devices on continuously. For a simple way to save money on utilities, ask employees to turn their computers off if they will not be using them for more than 15 or 30 minutes; at night, require that all computers, printers, copiers and faxes must be turned off. Even when a device is not in use or in sleep mode, it takes power from the wall outlet. Start an employee education program that encourages staff to turn off lights in rooms when they are empty, such as the bathroom, break room and conference rooms. If your company's work allows, ask employees to work from home one or two days a week; the reduced staff will cut the use of power and other utilities while giving staff more freedom and flexibility.
To cut costs on paper, printers, ink and toner, encourage your office to go paperless. Switch all memos to e-mail form, use a document-sharing program for group editing and review processes, and include a note in your e-mail signature asking the recipient not to print the email. Instead of printing the company manual for each new employee, make it available online in PDF and HTML forms for easy reference. Hold informational sessions to help employees learn how to save web pages to PDF instead of printing them, capture screen shots, and edit using communal tools. When you must print, encourage employees to use both sides of the paper and use low-quality print settings to save ink.
For an environmentally friendly, cost-saving plan, eliminate travel unless it is absolutely necessary. For many businesses, you can achieve the same results in less time by using online meeting tools. Instead of sending executives to meet with foreign clients about a project, you can arrange a video chat with screen-sharing to discuss documents and figures in real time. Take advantage of instant messaging and computer-to-computer calls by getting employees and clients on a program like Skype. Whenever possible, encourage employees to communicate by phone, e-mail and online meetings to cut airfare, mileage reimbursement, and unproductive time away from the office.
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