It should come as no surprise that the world is facing some serious ecological issues with toxic air polluting our cities, plastic waste consuming our oceans and agricultural losses that threaten our food sources to name a few. In response to these (and many other) issues, there has been a growing trend in the last couple of years with people making an effort more consciously produce, consume and live on this beautiful planet.
The corporate world has also seen a shift in which more initiatives that support green offices and green office design are emerging. This week specifically (April 18th to 22nd) is known as Green Office Week in many areas around the world and is designed to highlight the green issues we face in our office spaces and further urge employees to take action and adopt practical ways of helping the environment. This week urges businesses and workplaces to introduce new policies, begin recycling and reducing their waste, or implement more eco-friendly products and practices. Although this may only bring a small change to your green office design, these actions are part of a larger solution that will lead to long-term change.
How To Build Green Offices?
Green offices are the new trend for the business sector, regardless of whether you work from your home office, small businesses or major corporate company. The main idea behind these green offices is to limit their carbon footprint while cultivating a more mindful and healthy environment for the people that inhabit the workspace. This not only improves the ergonomic design of the office but also adds numerous benefits for the business as a whole.
Sustainable green offices look to equip their employees with tools and resources that will help them go green little by little. For example, installation of energy efficient lightbulbs which produce more light for less energy, emit less heat and last longer than the standard light bulb. It can be quite amazing the impact such a small change can have towards building a more efficient and sustainable office.
Going paperless is another practical strategy to implement if you want to develop a greener office. While most companies have gone digital over the course of the last few decades, some documents are still preferred on paper in many workplaces. However, there are many simple steps you can take to use even less paper such as scanning important forms and documents and keeping them secure as digital forms, emailing forms to clients and using e-sign softwares, or even asking vendors and suppliers to offer e-statement invoices rather than the old paper statements. A paperless strategy is something all companies should be employing in today's digital world.
All that said, switching up tools and making these eco-friendly changes in your home office or a workplace may initially result in higher costs, however, with energy-efficiency and sustainability being a major priority for the world right now, the true cost and environmental savings will be fully realized over time.
Benefits Of Sustainable And Green Offices
Transforming a traditional workplace into a green sustainable office with ergonomic office design principles can also improve your bottom line.
A study published in 2014 by the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that productivity amongst workers could be enhanced by as much as 15% if potted plants were placed around office environments. This study determined that the increased productivity was a result of lowered stress and anxiety levels associated with exposure to nature. With employee satisfaction being such a huge driver in a company's success, adding plants and greenery to the workspace seem like a clear and simple adjustment to create a more ergonomic green office design.
While the positive impacts of exposure to nature on productivity is clear, many important physical effects still remain. Plants, when optimized for this purpose, have the ability to filter the air of toxins that can cause acute allergic reactions, chronic illness, lung damage, skin damage, breathing issues, and many other health problems both immediately and over time. They also release oxygen into the air, taking the byproducts of human breath (carbon dioxide), removing them, and transforming them into comfortably breathable air.
Enhanced Customer/Client Experience
With the digital world being the hub for most business these days, customers have come to expect easy and simplified digitization practices from their trusted brands. By employing paperless strategies, you will likely be making the shift to using digital forms which will unintentionally aid your business in keeping up with the new generation of consumers.
Adding plants and greenery to your workspace also creates a much more welcoming atmosphere. Studies have actually shown that shops with abundant plant-life are more likely to be endorsed and frequented more often by customers, and will typically see more sales as well. Whether it be potential business clients or end consumers, the positive benefits of physically transforming your office space to be more green through the use of biophilic design do not go unnoticed.
Improved Company Image for Potential Hires
While it is crucially important for business to consider the preferences of their customers, it is equally important to pay close attention to their employee's needs and desires. An eco-conscious brand in today's climate is sought after by the types of intellectual and purpose-driven individuals that are crucial to a company's success, no matter what industry you work in.
The Environmental Effect of the Pandemic
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused major setbacks for many businesses, the shift from large commercial offices to work-from-home spaces turned out to have quite positive effects on the environment. This challenge forced us to be resourceful - digitizing workplace practices, reducing the amount of people driving/commuting to work, and eliminating the costs and energy of huge office spaces.
As we shifted to work-from-home spaces and home office environments, the importance of ergonomic office design also became more important. Beyond the standing desk or lumbar supportive chair, we should be making an effort to equip our home offices with environmentally conscious solutions such as optimized natural lighting, using sustainably made products and of course investing in products like Respira. Through these simple techniques, you can skillfully transform your space into a green office and be a part of a global community making an effort to change.