7 things YOU can do to create a greener office

If you believe, like we do at ToolKit Café, that no man or woman is an island and that we all have a responsibility to take care of our planet, then we hope you enjoy this set of seven keys to being green at work.

1. Wear clothing that can adjust to the poor environmental controls that all offices seem to have.

This tip provides a virtually free and extremely easy way to use less energy. The large spaces and number of people in most offices make it virtually impossible to control the office environment to everyone’s satisfaction. Making it worse are the folks who hide small heaters under their desk. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, wear light clothing in layers, no matter what time of year. The ability to remove or add a jacket or sweater as  the office temperature fluctuates (or you move from room to room, meeting to meeting), enables you not only to be comfortable, but more productive.

2. Instruct your callers on enabling power management software.

The EPA estimates that providing computers with “sleep mode” reduces their energy use by 60 to 70 percent. Help Desk analysts who are concerned about unnecessary energy use are in a perfect position to encourage this practice. Many calls are filled with awkward moments where both the analyst and the caller are waiting for a reboot, a program to download, or any number of annoying computer delays. These times are a great opportunity to ask the caller if they are using power management and instruct those who aren’t. Don’t preach or even inform about the need to be green. Save that for your personal blog. If the caller isn’t interested, drop it. If there seems to be interest, use the time to set them up.

3. Turn off printers and other desktop devices when you leave work.

Many offices leave shared systems running during off hours. As wasteful as it is, it’s understandable. Waiting for printers and copiers to warm up is can be a hassle. A good solution is to work in a team. Ask coworkers who share your concern to take responsibility for turning devices off and on. If early birds are willing to take the power on responsibility those warm up times won’t affect productivity.

4. Create a Car pool forum or database for coworkers.

With gas prices creating more and more concern ride sharing is a great deal more attractive to many workers. Offer to set up a way for would be car poolers to find each other. If your company doesn’t have a employee forum ask management to allow or even help you create one for ride sharing. Green is hot so they may be more receptive than they were in the past.

5.  Clean up the old coffee mugs hanging around the office.

Most offices have break rooms with sinks. The cabinets under those sinks are generally loaded down with disgusting old mugs left by previous employees. Take the initiative to clean them out and offer them to employees who are still using paper or Styrofoam cups.

6. Reuse water bottles.

Even though we’re finding out that much bottled water comes from a tap and not a spring, we’re still buying it. Probably because a cold bottle of water is very convenient. Instead of throwing the plastic bottle in the recycling bin consider real recycling. Refill it with tap and put it in the fridge for the next day. It’s just as convenient as the $1.00 bottle in the vending machine and it’s free.

7. Don’t use cubicle lights when overheads are on.

Most cubicles are equipped with lighting below the overhead bins. They are great after hours when the overheads are turned off. During the day they are unnecessary and should be kept off.

How green are you?

We want to know what you think about these seven tips, so please post your comments below and share your tips for a greener office.

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