General Workspace Tips
Here are a few general Greening tips to keep in mind when establishing, expanding, or organizing your workspace and work systems. Trust us, your co-workers and employees will thank you!
1. Location. Location. Location! Choose office locations that are easily accessible by public transportation. (see Transportation Tips & Tricks) Look for office buildings that will have good indoor air quality. New spaces that use low-VOC paints and carpets will be more comfortable for employees with chemical sensitivity, and better thinking spaces for all.
2. Take your office footprint! Find out what kind of effect you are having on the environment. Use The Office Footprint Calculator™ to highlight opportunities for office/workplace Greening. Don’t be scared, even if you uncover huge inefficiencies that you might have missed, it’s never too late to make a positive change and strive to achieve Zero Waste Principles.
3. Build a Green Team. Create a committee to take on the responsibility of organizing and monitoring your Green office practices. Schedule regular meetings to track success. Free food always helps!
4. Green Screen™ Your Vendors. Ask vendors about their social and environmental practices. Are they Conventional? Green? Dark Green? You’ll make your vendors aware of where they can improve their practices. And you might even gain insights into better ways of doing business!
5. Green From the Ground Up. Incorporate your values into your company’s founding documents. Check out Our Vision for ideas!
6. Make a Green Checklist. Find ways to translate your mission into project-specific actions. For example, striving to achieve Zero Waste includes implementing a recycling and composting system (see #7) and a Green Purchasing Policy.
7. Turn Paper Into Trees—Recycle & Compost. While recycling is becoming mainstream in office spaces across the county, composting carries a stinky stigma. Trust us, once your office starts doing it, your employees will love it. To prevent odor, throw compost in small green containers (lined with compostable waste can liners) and empty them frequently. Small containers are easier to clean, too. And remember in some areas (like San Francisco), you can even compost food-soaked paper and help turn those disposable plates back into trees!
8. Kick Off Your Shoes. Avoid tracking chemicals and street dirt into your office by initiating a no-shoe policy. Encourage employees to keep a pair of indoor shoes or slippers at the office. Your floors will thank you. Just make sure your socks match!
9. Clean Green. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. If you have a traditional cleaning service, provide them with an array of green cleaning tools and supplies to use when they come to your office.
10. Show Your True Colors—Get Green Certified. Seek third-party environmental certifications through the EPA or through private business networks like TheGreenOffice.com Green Workplace Certification Program. These certifications will improve your access to business networks while challenging your company to take steps toward more environmentally and socially responsible practices.
We could go on and on!