Making your business that little bit greener needn’t be difficult. With a little creativity and flair, it’s easy to make your business eco-friendlier and contribute towards a healthier, more sustainable world.
At Workspace, we recognise that our business activities – along with those of our customers – will impact the environment through the demand of raw materials for products and services. We appreciate the need to mitigate our impact on the wider environment to make best use of limited resources through effective design, management and engagement with stakeholders.
We’ve subsequently put together this handy list of innovative tips to make your business more environmentally friendly, including advice from industry influencers and our very own Energy & Sustainability Manager!
Operate in the cloud
There’s no need to print the same amount of paper in the office as we used to. Monica Shepherd of WorkflowMax states that cloud-based solutions have transformed the way businesses work together on a day-to-day basis. With the ability to collaborate in real-time on documents, presentations, spreadsheets and any other collateral, many traditional paper-based methods can be consigned to the history books.
Today, we live very much in a 24/7 digital world and the ability to move towards a paperless workplace has numerous benefits in terms of business efficiency and environmental sustainability. Aside from increased collaborative opportunities, cloud-based solutions minimise printing waste – you’ll only need to use the printer when it is absolutely necessary!
Review your energy consumption
There are many ways you can refine the amount of energy your business uses on a daily basis. One of the first ports of call should be your office lighting. Consider motion-sensored lighting solutions which conserve energy by turning lights off in unused rooms and only switch back on once the room is back in use. When you’re a New and Growing Company every penny counts, so this kind of system more than pays for itself in the long run.
Did you know, even when office equipment is switched off or on stand-by, ‘phantom’ power loads continue to drain electricity. The University of California states that between five and 20 per cent of the energy you use is wasted by machines and appliances left plugged in. By simply unplugging or turning off devices at source during evenings and weekends you’re sure to optimise your energy consumption.
As part of Workspace’s “Doing the Right Thing” Campaign, we are trialling a new web-based Building and Energy Management System at three of our business centres: The Light Bulb, Grand Union Studios and Barley Mow Centre.
The Optergy system is an exciting new tool which offers greater transparency over energy consumption, giving Customers the chance to review their own energy profile and utility bills and consequently modify their consumption.
By working closely with your partners during redevelopment projects of your own it is possible to reduce your wider environmental impact. The construction industry has worked hard to redefine its image, with the Considerate Construction Scheme (CCS) proving particularly effective in demonstrating respect to the wider environment through management and awareness.
2017 promises to be a year of a number of new developments to add to the Workspace portfolio. When we redevelop space for New and Growing Companies in London we do so with a string of sustainable construction targets.
All major development and refurbishment sites require CCS registration, with a score of at least 40/50. Our recent developments at The Light Bulb and Grand Union Studios surpassed this, receiving ‘Performance Beyond Compliance’ certification from CCS.
For instance, Grand Union Studios, which opened in 2016, achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification due in no small part to its Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installation, supplying electricity and heating to the building and the adjoining new residential complex.
An additional requirement on Workspace construction projects over 2,000 sq m is that principal contractors divert at least 75% of the weight of non-hazardous demolition waste and 90% of construction waste from landfill.
Waste management and recycling
We’ve already discussed reducing your paper needs by utilising cloud-based solutions but it’s equally important to ensure that what you do use is disposed of, recycled or reused accordingly.
Being wiser with your waste is one of the simplest, most effective ways to minimise your business’ impact on the wider environment. If your office has kitchen facilities for staff, consider supplying reusable crockery and cutlery. Place recycling bins alongside all normal rubbish bins and printers, photocopiers and fax machines to make it as easy as possible for colleagues to dispose of recyclable items.
Waste management has been a particular focus at Workspace for the last 12 months. We have worked hard with our waste contractors to improve recycling rates throughout our portfolio. We currently divert 100% of the waste collected from our centres away from landfill sites.
By raising awareness and improving waste segregation within our business centres, we have been able to increase the number of centres achieving 70% recycling from 10 to 14. At The Pill Box in Bethnal Green we were able to achieve an impressive 86% average recycling rate through provision of on-site segregation of a diverse range of waste streams and we work closely with new tenants to provide the encouragement and support they need to recycle their waste responsibly.
Where there is a positive culture towards recycling and buy-in from customers, then it’s clearly possible to collectively improve business’ environmental performance.
Another aspect of our ‘Doing the Right Thing’ campaign, we will shortly be conducting a series of road-shows across our business centres, starting with next Tuesday’s event at The Light Box.
The purpose of these interactive events is to raise awareness of our commitment to recycling and provide guidance as to how our Customers can support us in our objectives.
Other top tips for a greener workplace
Consider a pool car scheme for staff
The guys at Sustainable Business Tool Kit suggest implementing a pool car scheme for staff. Whether it’s one to get your employees to share lifts to and from work or one which enables staff to travel to client meetings together without the increasing cost and footprint.
Don’t turn your nose up at refurbished computers and accessories
Jared Jacobs at Business2Community believes New and Growing Companies operating to strict budgets can save anything between 50 and 70 per cent on computing costs by purchasing refurbished desktop computers, laptops and servers. In some instances, a “refurbished” product is one that’s barely been taken out of its box and may not even have been used despite not having its original factory seal. Even those that have been used tend to undergo significant user testing and must meet set criteria before being eligible for sale.
Reusing doesn’t just apply to computers and accessories either. It incorporates everything from empty ink cartridges (which you can refill rather than forking out on a brand-new cartridge) through to previously used packaging and furniture. And even if you do require brand new furniture, it’s possible to do so from manufacturers that use responsibly sourced materials. Our partners, Raw Furniture offer UK-made products using the highest-quality materials and attention to detail.
Encourage cycle to work schemes
Another great tip from Monica Shepherd at WorkflowMax, businesses can encourage a greener way for their staff to get to work without the use of their cars by promoting cycle to work schemes. At Workspace, many of our business centres have secure cycle racks on-site, as well as private showering facilities to encourage employees living nearby to cycle to work.
A greener office environment... literally!
Another great way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint is by bringing nature into the workplace itself. Jared Lindzon suggests on Betakit to introduce potted plants throughout the office instead of unnecessary décor. It’s scientifically proven to boost morale and will also work harmoniously to increase the flow of oxygen and reduce air pollution, minimising the risk of illness spreading in the workplace and contributing to optimal productivity.
If you’re not already teleconferencing, why not?!
In order to reduce carbon footprints further still, teleconferencing should be a staple meeting solution rather than clocking up the miles for a face-to-face client meeting. At Workspace, several of our meeting rooms available to rent feature state-of-the-art technology to host audio and video conference calls, keeping you closer to your clients and saving significant travel costs.
Greener business practices are beneficial not only for the wider environment but for your business’ bottom line too. Hopefully these relatively painless tips will inspire you to think differently about the way you do business and if you’re already doing many of these then pat yourselves on the back. But don’t think the hard work is done by any means – energy efficiency is an ongoing battle that requires a continued strategy of adoption and refinement.