" Energy is our future, let's save it": this well-known French slogan is more topical than ever. And it's up to all of us to make daily efforts at home and at work to slow down global warming. The 10 green office hacks listed here have two aims: to save the planet and to involve all your employees in your CSR approach .
1. Become a recycling temple
In a temple of recycling, nothing is thrown away, everything is reused.
For example, you can use second-hand office furniture to limit your CO2 impact. IWG has just opened its first space using only furniture that has already been used.
You can also buy furniture that can be repaired ad infinitum(Slean, for example, makes eco-designed chairs and desks in France with a lifetime guarantee!).
Electronic devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) can be repaired/refurbished products. On the BackMarket site, for example, you'll find a wide range of refurbished electronic products at discounted prices.
To ensure that all your employees adopt the right recycling habits, we recommend that you raise their awareness of waste management .
You can start by explaining how to use each sorting garbage can. And yes, an eco-friendly office doesn't just have a paper garbage can and a plastic garbage can.
You'll need to provide garbage cans for :
- ink cartridges (although, as we shall see, the printer should be banned from the office);
- organic waste ;
- batteries ;
- cans ;
- cigarettes (goodbye crushed butts left on your lovely terrace!).
2. Organize a Climate Fresco
The Fresque du Climat (Climate Fresco ) helps everyone to understand the scale and complexity of the issues involved in climate change. This tool is based on the scientific reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The Climate Fresco lasts around 3 hours. It can be organized online or in person, and can accommodate up to 14 participants per facilitator.
Having taken part myself, I can testify to the effectiveness of this tool. There's no better way to take up the challenge of the climate emergency.
3. Resell your printer (or drop it off at the waste disposal center)
The printer should join the Minitel and Fax on the bench. And it can even go back to the checkroom for good. Today, many electronic signature software programs enable us to prepare, send, sign and store our documents and contracts without ever needing to print them out.
Going digital will be great news for the planet. And with good reason: according to ADEME, the average employee consumes between 70 and 85 kg of paper per year, or 3 reams of paper in a month.
Other figures to be aware of:
- 25% of documents are thrown away 5 minutes after printing;
- 16% of printouts are never read;
- paper consumption accounts for 75% of office waste (even today!).
One of the hacks for a greener office is therefore to resell your printer, give it away or drop it off at the waste disposal center. As an example, Morning no longer puts printers in its coworking spaces by default.
4. Set up a reward system
Many companies offer benefits to employees who choose to go green, which goes a long way to changing habits. This reward system values each ecogesture and encourages environmentally-friendly behavior.
For example, this system can award points:
- 1 point for each electric bike/electric scooter trip;
- 2 points for each car-sharing journey;
- 3 points for each metro/bus journey;
- 3 points for each home-cooked meal (limited to office deliveries);
- 5 points for each bike/scooter journey;
- 7 points for changing navigator (use of Ecosia, Lilo or Ecogine);
- 20 points for each train journey (previously done by plane), etc.
We're sure you'll be able to use your overflowing imagination to come up with other eco-actions to reward. At the end of the month, you can vote for the most eco-friendly employee or the top 3 eco-responsible colleagues.
5. Allow hybrid or remote working
ADEME recently highlighted the positive impact of telecommuting on the environment. In this report, it is stated that working from home could save you 20-30% in energy costs, especially if offices remain closed for at least one day.
This is a highly effective way of making your office more sustainable.
The study also reveals that the rebound effect of an increase in energy consumption in employees' homes (heating, lighting, IT) does not exceed 3.5% to 7%. Telecommuting is therefore an excellent measure for your company, and excellent news for our beloved Blue Planet.
6. Offer an eco-friendly kit to all employees
To encourage your employees to adopt the right gestures, we recommend that you give them an ecological kit (which may or may not be used as a Welcome Pack).
Inside, you can slip in a cloth shopping bag, a water bottle, a mug, ecological business cards, a glass tupperware set, a voucher to take part in the Fresque du Climat ...
Ask your employees what they'd like to see included in this eco-friendly kit. They may have some good ideas!
This is an opportunity to replace plastic cups with glasses and disposable cutlery with real cutlery. Plastic straws are also to be avoided. You can replace them with reusable glass straws if you insist on drinking mocktails with straws in summer. Finally, we recommend that you use reusable, washable sponges rather than disposable ones.
7. Obtain labels and certifications
Many different labels and certifications are awarded to companies that make their offices more eco-friendly. We're thinking of the B Corp / Breeam / HQE label (when building premises).
B Corp label
Not just anyone can be a B Corp(Benefit Corporation)!
This highly demanding American label certifies companies that integrate social, societal and environmental objectives into their mission, business model, workforce, products or services.
To obtain it, 200 questions must be answered in 5 areas:
- governance ;
- employees ;
- communities ;
- environment ;
Once you've given your answers, you'll get a score. This must exceed 80 points to be certified B Corp. In France, over 150 companies are certified.
BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) certification assesses the environmental performance of new or renovated buildings. This certification program applies to hotels, retail outlets, schools, corporate offices, etc. To obtain this certification is to highlight your CSR commitments and your sustainable development approach.
To obtain it, follow these steps:
- preliminary assessment of requirements and development of a plan to obtain certification ;
- design and construction (to bring the building up to standard) ;
- certification (after numerous inspection visits by the assessor, and once all requirements have been met, certification is awarded).
Companies that strike the right balance between respect for the environment (energy, carbon, water, waste, biodiversity, etc.), quality of life and economic performance are eligible for HQE (high environmental quality) certification.
HQE certifications apply to both construction and renovation projects.
If you're planning to make your offices environmentally-friendly right from the design stage, we recommend you take a look at the 14 points required by the HQE® approach. These are divided into 4 main categories: eco-design, eco-management, comfort and health.
8. Installing double glazing and LED bulbs
Installing double glazing and opting for LED bulbs are 2 other hacks for greener offices. Double glazing will reduce your office's energy consumption by 10-15% and improve its energy rating.
LED bulbs, meanwhile, consume 80% less electricity than conventional incandescent bulbs. But we're sure you're familiar with these techniques (and hope you've already adopted them!).
In general, we advise you to undertake energy-efficient renovation work.
9. Green your roof, terrace or balcony
Like the other green office hacks on this list, a green roof is an asset to your company's CSR approach .
This eco-responsible initiative will have a positive impact on your company's image. But that's not its first asset. It will enable your employees to develop their sense of ecology and ethical values.
When it comes to the type of installation, you can choose between :
- a shared vegetable garden ;
- a beehive ;
- an insect hotel ;
- a bird's nestoir...
If your premises aren't sufficiently insulated, we advise you to move. Firstly, because you'll save on heating costs. Secondly, because from 2028 onwards, the French Climate and Resilience Act will prohibit the rental of all thermal flats.
On the other hand, your premises may be located too far from your employees' homes. In this case, they may have to drive more in the mornings and evenings to get to the office (and therefore get tired).
An excellent solution to this type of problem is a coworking or private office. This enables every employee to find an operational workspace close to home.
What's more, the rationalization of spaces by pooling them means that energy consumption per occupant is drastically lower than in conventional corporate offices.
We therefore advise you to opt forsubletting coworking spaces. And if you're looking for this type of office, workin.space is the ideal place to find it. We can even offer you a personalized office search to help you find the perfect space in record time.
Hacks for greener offices: in brief
We hope these techniques and tricks will help you create more sustainable offices and make your employees more aware of the climate emergency.
As a reminder, here are the 10 hacks for greener offices:
- become a temple of recycling ;
- organize a Climate Fresco ;
- get rid of your printer;
- reward employee eco-actions;
- authorize telecommuting;
- offer an ecological kit to employees;
- obtain ecological certifications;
- install double-glazing and LED bulbs;
- plant your roof or terrace;
- think about moving.
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