Today there’s a focus on recycling, repurposing and the importance of “green” approaches (PDF) for health and well-being in the workplace. Going green also appeals to your customers. So how can you make your office stylish, fun and eco-friendly?
How to Go Green in the Office
It may seem obvious, but even in this day and age there are many offices that lack a plan and policy on recycling. Explore your workplace policies, and make sure you have proper bins to separate your paper and recyclables from other waste. Pick quality, sturdy bins that will last through many uses. There are companies that will pick up shredded paper for a nominal fee and even provide shredding services.
Ensure you’re always recycling items like ink cartridges — some office suppliers will even give you store credit for being green and returning spent toner and ink to be refilled. Recycling cartridges keeps them from clogging up landfills and keeps our earth clean.
Add Some Green
Adding a plant to your workspace adds a little life to your office and helps to elevate your workspace. Plants keep the air clean and can add a little feng shui to your décor scheme. If your office is low light there are still resilient plants that can handle fluorescents.
If you’re lacking a green thumb, consider bringing in some fresh flowers for your desk — or even some nature photos and images or small items like a pretty rock paperweight. Viewing images of nature or connecting with the outdoors boosts your cognitive abilities, helps you stay relaxed and focused, and has a positive effect on morale.
Breathe New Life into Your Office Supplies
Boost everyday items with just a little DIY effort. You can add signature style to your office space no matter how small and stretch the use of items that you may have formerly thought of as practical or boring. Also, watch for items that can be repurposed for storage, like supplies that come in packaging that can be used more than once.
You may not think of stylish office supplies as a means of boosting productivity, but studies show that adding design touches to your office can increase your productivity by 20 percent. Think creatively and find new uses for everyday items. For example, try one of these to increase your productivity to brighten up your folders and notebooks. Add style and flair to documents and make your bulletin board eye-catching with just a little pop of color or a pretty pattern. Try some patterned paper to line a drawer or to cover a notebook. Be creative!
Soften the Lighting
Trade your harsh overhead lighting for some soft lamps that use CFL or LED lights, which require less energy and give off a softer ambiance. Adding softer lighting can help create a calm, productive and inviting space that feels comforting and warm.
Many of us don’t have a say in the color of our office walls, but we can add calm and soothing colors to our desk décor in the form of photos, images and desk accessories. increase your productivity mental clarity and spark creativity. Plus, it has a positive effect on the efficiency of staff.
Coworkers may be sensitive to clouds of perfume or heavily scented potpourri, candles and sprays — so when it comes to scents, less is definitely more. Natural essential oils and scents like peppermint, citrus and pine can boost your energy, productivity and mood.
To keep your coworkers happy, use a very small amount (a few drops) on a cotton ball or sachet in your desk. The idea is not to overwhelm, but to simply give a little lift to your day. (Plus it can help you escape your neighbor’s tuna fish sandwich wafting into your cube.)
Green living means less waste. Staying organized helps you easily inventory what you have, plus you’ll save time, money and resources not having to re-buy or search for lost items. Rather than tossing catalogs and magazines, store them for future reference and inspiration.
Keep files and important documents in binders or paper files on your desk for easy access. By staying organized you can save yourself from reprinting documents and using paper resources unnecessarily. Take a few minutes each day to tidy your desktop and do your filing — it will save you time AND wasted resources.
Purchase supplies that are recycled and green. Opt for the paper towels and toilet paper that are more eco-friendly and use paper cups as opposed to Styrofoam. Look at packaging, then purchase based on less waste and more use.
Small changes in your often-used supplies can make a big impact on waste and even cost. (Recycled products can sometimes be even less expensive). When it comes to keeping your office fun and inviting, going green is a simple and even stylish way to go!
Recyclers Photo via Shutterstock