Green Initiatives in the Workplace

Wellness isn’t just about gym discounts, massages in the office, or bringing your pup to work. The overall office environment contributes to wellness. A new trend in wellness and culture is integrating green practices.  Think ergonomics, air quality, and light.

From LEED Certified Buildings to adding in recycling and compost bins into office spaces, going green is starting to become the norm. With the average American working at least 40 hours per week (or more if working in the start-up space), thinking about health in the office is important to support employees wellbeing- including going green.

Contrary to Kermit the Frog’s perspective, being green “can be easy”.  Implementing eco-friendly practices in your organization not only helps create a healthier environment for employees, but can save the company money.

Below are 5 ways to improve “greenness” and help reduct costs in your office space:

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-  Sorting out plastic, glass, and cardboard/paper is now a common practice most people try to abide by in their homes .  Why should the office be excluded from this practice? Set up recycling bins in the office for employees to properly dispose of plastic, glass, and cardboard/paper boxes to enhance your recycling initiatives.  Simply adding extra recycling bins in the office will drive participation in your efforts to “reduce, reuse and recycle”.

2. Go Paperless- While it isn’t always easy to fully eliminate paper, go paperless where you can. Not only will this save money (think less bulk paper purchasing or costly stamps) but electronic communication can provide faster response times. It can take time to completely switch over from paper, but approaching this initiative in steps will allow everyone time to adjust.

3. Compost – Just as recycling bins have been added to the office, try adding one for compost. Ensure you can find a site where you can drop off compost, or a service that will pick up your compost to ease the transition. Keep a sign above compost bins to let employees know what they can compost- think tea bags, food scraps, some paper packaging, etc. Composting is a great way to help reduce waste especially if you keep a fully stocked kitchen in the office.

4. Implement Efficient Power and Light Sources- Check you electric and power bills. Are the incredibly high? If so consider changing out the lighting (if possible) to have more efficient bulbs. You can also work with your IT team to install power saving technology on laptops and desktops to automatically turn off machines if they are idle for a certain period of time. Reducing energy expenditures not only helps reduce your carbon emissions, but saves money on electric bills!

5. Add in Greenery- Placing greenery around the office isn’t just for aesthetics. Trees, vertical plants, or desk terrariums all help contribute to cleaner air in the office. Plants will naturally help purify air quality- which makes for a better work space.  Plus plants make people smile :).  Consider adding in green to common office spaces or giving each employee a little green for their desk- having a plant on an employee’s first day is a great way to welcome them!  

Creating a “green” culture can take time.  Start with small steps by assessing and addressing your biggest concerns.  Not every aspect of being eco-conscious can be addressed, but little changes can make a world of a difference.


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