Adopting sustainable policies in the office is becoming increasingly important as organisations continue to focus on their environmental impact.

In this article, we have compiled the 35 most important tips to help make your office space more eco-friendly. Hopefully, you find the list helpful and can implement at least a handful of ideas below.

1. Recycle

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to incorporate green practices into your workplace and reduce your office’s environmental impact.

We suggest setting up labelled bins for recyclable waste, specifying what can and can’t go into them. You can set up separate recycling bins for glass, plastic and paper. In addition to this, it is essential to dedicate a few sessions during work hours to educate employees on the importance of recycling in the workplace.

Some apps like "recycle coach" provide organisations with recycling information specific to their area. Make sure that you keep your recycling policies up to date with local guidelines.

2. Reuse

If you already have recycling in place or plan to incorporate it within your office, we suggest focusing on reusing materials when possible. 

Implementing a system that promotes reusing water bottles, plastic bags, coffee mugs, and other daily essentials like folders and scrap paper is an excellent idea. 

Another useful idea is to organise small events that encourage employees to exchange reusable items they no longer need.

3. Eliminate Single-Use Items

After promoting reusable items over single-use ones, you may want to encourage staff members to bring in their own mugs and bottles to reduce waste within the office. A great way of doing this is by offering branded reusable alternatives.

4. Prioritise Bulk Purchasing

A great way to reduce your office's carbon footprint is to bulk purchase work supplies like kitchen and cleaning products.  

Making a simple change like this saves time and reduces packaging waste, as bulk items have simpler packaging. You also reduce the number of deliveries that need to be made, minimising carbon emissions and saving money in the long term.

5. Introduce Office Plants

Plants are one of the ways in which you can significantly improve air quality within the workspace. By incorporating plants into the office, you can create a calmer environment for staff members and reduce indoor air pollutants. 

Factors like air quality have a large impact on employee morale, which, by improving, can boost productivity.

Examples of plants well-known for their air-purifying qualities include peace lilies, spider plants, and snake plants.

6. Have Plants? Well, Add More

If your office already has plants, it never hurts to add more.  By adding more plants throughout the office, you also improve its aesthetic appearance. We recommend creating a vertical garden/wall, which is very efficient for filtering air

Don’t forget to create a suitable plant maintenance plan and ensure they are near a natural light source to keep them healthy and thriving.

7. Implement "Waste Walks"

"Waste walks" are scheduled inspections of the workspace that help to identify areas that produce the highest amount of waste. They are a great way to evaluate whether unnecessary single-use items are being used and to understand ways in which you can reduce waste.

Understanding how to reduce waste in your workplace is a great practice. You not only open opportunities for improvement but also raise awareness among your employees about sustainable decisions.

8. Create Commuting Schemes

Setting up an online platform where employees can share rides during their commutes can encourage sustainable transportation options. Some online platforms like Kinto Join are developing commuting schemes for businesses looking to meet sustainability goals.

In addition to developing commuting schemes that promote sustainable commuting, you may want to improve site usage by promoting incentives like dedicated parking spots for car-poolers.

9. Encourage Green Commuting

If you notice your employees are interested in other modes of transportation, such as biking and walking to work, providing secure bike storage not only shows your support for their choices but also ensures their peace of mind. 

By encouraging your current staff to adopt sustainable commuting practices, you not only benefit them but also contribute to a greener environment. To further this initiative, we suggest providing a stipend for those interested in purchasing a bike, thereby promoting a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle.

10. Reduce Water Consumption

Water consumption can be minimised through various methods, such as installing low-flow fixtures, fixing leaks, and reusing greywater from dishwashers and sinks. All these methods significantly reduce the amount of freshwater used by office staff members. 

Moreover, water meters are recommended to track water usage and identify where water is most wasted. Businesses can then measure and create goals to reduce water consumption.

11. Conserve Energy

A necessity to becoming an eco-friendly office is conducting an energy audit to determine energy efficiency within your office. 

Once you have identified energy-wasting areas, you can save energy by using sleep mode on idle computers, unplugging unused chargers, and using energy-efficient appliances. Tackling these issues can ensure that unoccupied areas of the office use little energy.

12. Implement Smart Power Outlets

Using smart power strips within the office is excellent at reducing energy consumption. These strips can be set to turn unused devices off, wasting less energy and minimising energy bills. Moreover, the lifespan of office devices can be extended eliminating the need to replace them frequently.

13. Limit Cooling and Heating

Similarly, the energy audit will identify spaces with poorly maintained HVAC systems or inconsistent thermostat temperature settings. Ensure that you have programmable thermostats set to efficient temperatures to reduce out-of-hours heating and cooling. 

In addition, you should regularly maintain HVAC systems to maintain optimal efficiency and add fans or space heaters around the office to reduce central system usage. Well-placed desk or ceiling fans are excellent at cooling heavily occupied areas.

14. Energy-Efficient Lighting

We suggest that you switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs, which use significantly less energy than traditional bulbs. In addition, it is beneficial to install automatic dimmers and motion sensors so that light is only used when necessary. Smart features like these have many additional benefits to saving energy.

15. Turn Off Lights

Employees may sometimes forget to turn off lights when they leave a room. To try to combat this, it may benefit you from putting up signs around the office about switching off lights. Similarly, you may be interested in establishing a policy where the last person in a room is responsible for the lights.

Smart systems that automatically turn lights off after work hours may also be a good idea.

16. Boost Natural Light

Offices with many large windows can reconsider using artificial light during the day, with midday producing sufficient natural light within the workspace. If you want to make the most of natural light in the workplace, consider rearranging desks to areas closer to windows and skylights.

This is one way to boost employee productivity and create a healthier and brighter environment for staff members.

17. Embrace Renewable Energy

Another great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by switching to renewable energy. Examples include installing solar panels on the roof of your office building if possible. If that is not feasible, you may want to research green plans offered by your utility provider.

Any small change towards renewable energy can significantly reduce your business’s carbon footprint.

18. Create a Sustainability Team

Having a dedicated team for promoting sustainability within the office is important. This team can organise green initiatives and offer a point of contact for employees looking to learn about sustainability.

19. Engage Employees in Sustainability Initiatives

Eco-friendly office success stories are heavily dependent on employee engagement. Sustainability teams within a business should encourage staff feedback and the sharing of ideas to help promote more initiatives. 

20. Introduce Green Challenges

We recommend that sustainability teams create monthly employee challenges, such as reducing paper waste and limiting water usage. These challenges are highly fulfilling ways for your business to encourage sustainability in the workplace.

21. Track Sustainability Progress

After introducing suitable green challenges for your business, it might be a good idea for sustainability teams to promote a progress tracker that employees can use to see all the green challenges they have completed and their impact on the environment.

You may want to offer small incentives or recognise any staff members taking part. Team meetings can be used to share tips and success stories from the green challenges within your business.

22. Invest in Reusable Stationary

Switching to refillable pens and pencils is a great alternative to disposable ones, as the plastic waste associated with them can be minimised. Many of these reusable models can also be customised to represent your company’s image.

23. Purchase Sustainable Ink Cartridges

Eco-friendly ink cartridges should be purchased in addition to reusable stationery as they use less raw materials and aren’t as harmful to the environment. Many manufacturers offer services to collect used cartridges and recycle them properly, sometimes offering incentives. 

This is a simple but effective way of transforming your office into an eco-friendly workspace. 

24. Reduce Paper Usage

Another simple way of minimising waste is by reducing paper usage. Your office can be made more eco-friendly by promoting digital document sharing and communication instead of printing. 

Similarly, you should focus on cloud storage programs and shared drives like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace to store and share digital documents. These can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, improve security, and eliminate printing costs.

If necessary, only print double-sided and use recycled paper.

25. Go Paperless

If you have already started reducing paper usage within your office, you may want to consider going completely paperless.

Many digital note-taking and project management tools are sophisticated enough to replace planners and notebooks completely. In addition, e-signature software is available to ensure that online contracts and documents are easy to use.

Employees hesitant to switch completely to digital methods may benefit from education on how to effectively use digital tools.

26. Minimise Food Waste

By offering reusable Tupperware in the kitchen, you can significantly reduce food waste and disposable plastics as employees can store lunches bought or made at the office. 

To maximise its environmental impact, the Tupperware should be washable and durable for long-term usage. This is a great option to reduce plastic content sent to landfills, as most Tupperware is heat-safe and can be used for reheating meals.

27. Composting Within Your Office Building

You can minimise the impact of food waste by introducing composting bins to your office space. 

Many serviced offices have kitchens and break areas, which are perfect for this. Employees typically consume food there during breaks, so coffee grounds and food scraps can be effectively disposed of.

If you are looking to take composting a step further within your organisation, we recommend either creating an on-site compost system or partnering with local services. Any compost produced can also be used as fertiliser for plants within the office or donated to gardens in the local community.

28. Schedule Regular Fridge Cleaning 

When looking to make your office more eco-friendly, regular fridge cleaning can make a large difference. Ensuring the fridge is clean maximises its efficiency due to improved air circulation and maintaining a hygienic environment for employees to store food. 

When stocking the fridge, it is important to keep it organised and have all perishables visible to encourage the consumption of all food before its best-by date.

29. Drink Fair Trade

Another way you can promote environmental sustainability is by supporting ethical farming practices as they benefit many aspects of our world. Providing employees with fair-trade coffee, snacks, and tea ensures that farmers are fairly paid and promotes social responsibility. 

Employees can also be educated on the importance of ethical products like these, encouraging consumption outside of the workplace.

30. Green Cleaning Products

Many cleaning products today contain harmful chemicals that aren’t biodegradable. These release toxic chemicals into the water and air, harming the environment. By switching to eco-friendly products, you can prevent your business and staff from contributing to this. 

Furthermore, you could partner with a green company, such as Ecozone, one of the best ethical cleaning companies in the UK.

31. Consider the Environment When Decorating 

During renovations, you may want to avoid oil-based paints due to their high VOC content. Less environmentally harmful alternatives include using 100% VOC-free or recycled water-based paint, which is safer for indoor use. 

These alternatives come in a wide variety of colours meaning that organisations can still freely renovate their office. Many traditional paints have been associated with respiratory issues and health problems, making them a dangerous choice for your business.

32. Sustainable Flooring Alternatives

Typical green flooring options include bamboo, cork, and recycled carpet tiles, all of which have been responsibly sourced. Bamboo's fast rate of growth makes it a sustainable material, as it doesn’t require replanting and can typically be harvested at around 3 to 5 years.

Recycled tiles are great as they use recycled materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

33. Encourage Remote Working

Remote working can significantly reduce the environmental impact and energy consumption employees have as they no longer need to commute. 

Flexible work arrangements like these, allowing hybrid or full-time remote working are feasible when businesses ensure staff have the suitable technological requirements.

34. Sustainable Web Service Providers 

Look at the service provider you use for your website. If they aren’t using renewable energy sources to power their data centres, you may be interested in switching to an eco-friendly provider that uses solar or hydroelectric power. 

These green providers also tend to recycle heat from servers and use energy-efficient hardware, significantly reducing their carbon footprint. 

35. Carbon Offset your Business Trips

Businesses may be interested in calculating the carbon footprint associated with flights and other modes of transport during trips and purchasing carbon offsets. This could include investing in environmental organisations that prioritise forest conservation and reforestation projects. 

As some trips are inevitable, balancing your carbon footprint is a great way to become an eco-friendlier organisation.

Hard work and dedication will help to successfully transform your office into an eco-friendly environment. In addition to collaboration between employees, implementing strategies such as those listed in this article can severely reduce your carbon footprint as a business and create a healthier workspace.