By this time, the phrase "go green" has become commonplace all over the world - green energy, green transportation, renewable resources - it's a hotbed issue in government and business.
The obvious benefits to the environment are easy to see, but what about the direct benefits to a business?
Organizations often view only the philanthropic aspect of "going green", and thus dismiss it as either too expensive or unnecessary and non-value-adding.
In reality, an office can save money and increase productivity by moving away from traditional office processes that involve lots of paper documents, shipping costs, and physical storage to electronic document management and storage, as well as automated electronic routing and workflow management.
This can be a daunting task to consider implementing a full document management software system, so to start let's take a look at some easy tips for getting your office just a bit "greener".
- Reduce or eliminate the use of toner and ink, and buy remanufactured when you do - by shifting to more electronic systems, toner and ink usage should go down significantly; when you do reorder, try ordering remanufactured ink cartridges and recycled toner cases - this cuts down on production cost for the toner company significantly and translates to savings for you!
- Buy Energy Star qualified electronics - from the fridge and the coffee pot in the break room, to the monitors at every workstation, Energy Star products are available - as you transition to less paper, more electronic, ensure that the environmental impact doesn't simply remain the same due to energy usage - it's easy to turn a computer off at night, and if you are in such a rush at work that turning your computer on in the morning is a daunting task, there are other issues in your process to be focusing on at this time.
- Recycle - it's the easiest step, by and large, for homes and offices. Recycling is a huge step in the effort to take the world to a greener lifecycle, and the paper that is being used along with cans and bottles from meals, snacks, guests, luncheons, etc. can be recycled and made useful again - so consider checking where your trash goes - some waste companies use incinerated trash to power their compactors and stations, decreasing your carbon footprint by proxy;
- Reusable promo items increase green awareness in OTHER companies - that's right, those finger-trap-USB-pen-Candy-Cane-dongles you gave out at your last conference may have been a big hit for the five minutes that person spoke to you, but more than likely it's going to get thrown in the garbage sooner rather than later. Consider giving out a mug that they might use at their desk in place of styrofoam cups, or a notepad of recycled paper to reduce their usage of non-recycled paper at their office.
- Telecommute if the option exists - with e-mail, instant messaging, video and voice chat, it's hard to imagine a time where the ONLY business that happened was in person. There are certain things that are better done in person, certainly, but more and more often the option of working from home and telecommuting is possible for employees. This is also true of meetings - with software such as Skype and GoToMeeting, the days of spending mornings and afternoons driving around town to different meetings can be simplified to calls and conferences digitally, reducing the carbon imprint of the company even more (especially for companies who encourage and reward this kind of office efficiency and simplification).