This year marks the fifth Green Office Week, its aim being to empower workers across the UK to change their office practices for the better. With the idea of uniting offices around the country, the hope is to raise awareness of green issues and offer practical help and advice to office workers looking to make a difference.
In a national study, it was revealed that over half of office workers in the UK feel that their efforts to be environmentally-friendly can sometimes be let down by colleagues. The study, which surveyed 1,000 office workers, showed that fifty-five per cent of people say they work with colleagues who either disregard green working practices or are deliberately wasteful. Top problem areas include: forgetting to recycle, needlessly throwing paper away and leaving computers switched on overnight.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that 42% of workers felt that the financial crisis increased the need for their workplace to be greener and more resource-efficient. 66% of office workers also say they are more likely to purchase a product if it is environmentally-friendly, with 61% saying they would feel happier if their workplace was seen to be more environmentally-friendly.
Green Office Week has been broken down into five daily themes to inspire you to make change at work. Why not encourage your office to take part by printing out the day’s themes and putting them in a place where people congregate, such as the kitchen or coffee machine. Or better yet (paper saving!), email it to everyone in your office on the first day of Green Office Week. Here are a few to get you started:
• Enable the standby mode on printers and photocopiers, turn off machines at the end of every day – or put them on a 7 day timer switch to make it automatic.
• Save cash and make friends – find someone who lives close by or who is going to the same meeting as you to car share tomorrow. Write a travel policy which specifies rail travel where possible. Travelling to Europe by train typically saves time, money and carbon emissions!
• Find out if your city has a ‘Bike’ scheme – more fun than the gym! Explore whether your company can offer tax-free incentives to staff by purchasing bicycles through payroll
• You’ve heard it before but it’s true: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, dispose. Get colleagues to design a waste hierarchy pyramid and use the winning design to spread the word! Share your waste reduction tips on the GOW Twitterfeed
• See if you can go the whole day without printing any emails
• Offer old office furniture and equipment to local charities, hostels or schools
• Organise a stationery amnesty day and pool together surplus stationery supplies. You will probably find you stock re-orders reduce dramatically! Co-ordinate your stationery orders with others in your company to reduce the number of deliveries
• Choose recycled paper and/or items sourced from sustainable sources when ordering your stationery
• Set up a green ideas scheme which encourages and rewards lean, green thinking in your company
• Go walkabout in your office and find five things that need changing – aim to get them done by the end of May
• Get social! Link up with likeminded eco-warriors via the Green Office Week twitter feed and facebook pages. Tell the press what you’ve done this GOW. Use the press release templates on the GOW website to encourage others and maintain momentum!
• To read more tips like this, visit the Daily Themes part of the GOW website
As it says on the Green Office Week website, nobody can do everything but everybody can do something! Make this the week you really make a difference to the environment and have fun getting to know people in your office at the same time. Happy greening up your workplace!