Lights on when not needed, air conditioning making the office as cold as Antarctica, endless disposable plastic bottles – do we really need all of this? The green office is an eco-friendly workplace that opposes waste. Its philosophy is based on reducing or eliminating all unsustainable practices within the work environment.

Keep reading to discover a guide with 10 tips to make your green office.

1. Choose Sustainable Transportation Methods

Choose Sustainable Transportation Methods
Using a sustainable means of transport like a bicycle reduces carbon emissions. Image via Canva Pro

The sustainability and environmental consciousness of a company begin with the transportation methods employees use to commute to work. According to an analysis by ISTAT, nearly 70% of employed individuals in Italy use their own cars to reach the office. This poses a significant problem both in terms of pollution caused by carbon emissions and the stress induced by traffic. Consider these sustainable alternatives:

  • Bicycle: Helps you avoid traffic and engage in physical activity.
  • Eco-friendly transportation: Especially during cold months or rainy days.
  • Carpooling: Coordinate with your colleagues to reduce pollution collectively.

2. Control Air Conditioning and Heating

Control Air Conditioning and Heating
Image via Canva Pro

Air conditioning contributes to about 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The gases used for cooling indoor environments can severely damage the atmosphere. It’s crucial to avoid excessive use of these substances contributing to climate change.

With new anti-waste measures introduced in 2023, indoor spaces in Italy should maintain an average temperature of 19°C during winter, with a tolerance of 2°C. In the summer, the air conditioning cannot be set below 25 degrees. Abide by these guidelines to make your office green!

3. Bring Plants to the Office

Bring Plants to the Office
Plants in the office enhance aesthetics and improve indoor air quality. Image via Canva Pro

Adding greenery to your office not only enhances aesthetics but also plays a crucial role in purifying indoor air. As we know, plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, thus purifying the air and creating a more productive work environment. Engage your colleagues in these initiatives, making this sustainable endeavor both enjoyable and engaging.

4. Implement Waste Separation

Implement Waste Separation
Photo via Canva PROLabeled bins that facilitate waste separation in the office. Image via Canva Pro

Waste separation is crucial in a green office. Image via Canva Pro Waste separation is already present in almost all households. However, in offices, this aspect is often overlooked, and a single bin containing all types of waste is used. Reorganize this aspect of your office by using different bins, labeling them clearly to highlight the separation, and emphasizing the importance of these small actions. Make sure bins are conveniently placed in strategic areas of the office: near desks, close to the entrance, and in the refreshment area.

5. Minimize Paper Usage

A printer, which should be used only when necessary in a green office. Image via Canva Pro

Thanks to technological advancements, it’s possible to avoid excessive paper usage nowadays. It’s time for all offices to work towards digitizing documents, reducing printed paper, curbing excessive printer use, and saving forests worldwide. Document archiving and management can occur through digital platforms. If you need to print something, use recycled paper and always print double-sided to enhance efficiency and minimize waste in your green office.

6. Reduce Plastic Consumption

The world trapped in a plastic bag, a metaphor for excessive plastic use, particularly in packaging. Image via Canva Pro

Plastic disposal poses a global issue, heavily polluting the environment and oceans. Combat excessive plastic use in your office. Encourage stainless steel or aluminum water bottles that can be refilled multiple times, unlike single-use plastic bottles. The same concept applies to lunch containers: promote washable containers and strive to make your office entirely plastic-free.

7. Turn Off Devices Overnight

Turn Off Devices Overnight
A computer switched off. Always turn off your computer at the end of the workday. Image via Canva Pro

Employees often leave computers on standby or even fully operational at the end of the workday. There’s no reason for this. Ensure that all devices and lights in the office are turned off at the end of the day, or delegate this task to other members of your staff to involve them in your green office concept.

8. Utilize Solar Panels for Energy Production

Solar Panels
Solar panels aiding in the production of renewable, green energy. Image via Canva Pro

A fundamental step towards sustainability involves energy production from sustainable sources. Many buildings have opted for solar panels and photovoltaic systems to reduce the ecological footprint of the office. Take a step forward and harness solar energy to achieve economic savings and eco-solidarity with our planet.

9. Promote Remote Working

smart working
Working from home is a sustainable solution to avoid unnecessary travel and polluting emissions. Image via Canva Pro

In the post-pandemic era, remote working, or smart-working, has gained momentum. Despite concerns about its impact on the work-life balance, it’s an opportunity to enhance environmental sustainability. Firstly, it eliminates the need for commutes, resulting in fewer emissions and reduced pollution. Additionally, it could lead to downsizing the office space and minimizing waste. For example, you could organize your employees to work in the office three times a week and work remotely for the remaining two days. This drastically reduces workspace and waste in your green office.

10. Raise Awareness Among Colleagues and Collaborators

Collaborating with colleagues to make the office more green. Involve colleagues in sustainable initiatives. Image via Canva Pro

This tenth and final point is crucial for the successful implementation of the entire guide. Often, when discussing sustainability and the environment, people tend to overlook the consequences. They may think it’s something beyond their control and that it’s talked about excessively. Your significant task is to raise awareness among all collaborators in your green office. Engage them in internal and external initiatives, involve them in conferences to increase awareness. Your goal here is to create awareness about this issue, encouraging everyone to refrain from polluting even with small actions, both in the office and at home.

If your goal is to contribute to the planet’s well-being by transforming your office, this guide offers steps to make it more green.