Offices are notorious for consuming too much power, playing a pivotal role in the amount of energy being wasted globally each year. Office facilities, such as lighting, cooling, and heating are often left switched on at all hours, even if nobody is using them.
What this means is that more and more businesses are being asked to actively make eco-friendly choices, to reduce the negative impact of the commercial sector on the environment.
Going for the pro-environmental option does not necessarily require a huge amount of financial investment. Companies can choose to adopt practical methods such as utilising office technology that help, rather than damage the environment.
How Office Technology Can Benefit the Environment
At first glance, modernising your office technology may seem like an unjustifiable expense that is a burden to your company, especially if you are a small business owner. However, with technology developing at a faster rate than ever, these tools have become much more attainable and affordable.
For example, you could start by replacing standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED bulbs. This achieves the same light output while using 75% less energy.
While the initial investment may seem higher compared to traditional or conventional office equipment or facilities, these eco-friendly choices could actually benefit the company in the long-term. Not only will using eco-friendly office tech help tackle environmental issues, but it could also enhance your reputation and provide long-term financial gains.
Building and Office Automation Could be Key
For large buildings and office complexes, it can be quite challenging to ensure that all electronic devices are switched off at the end of the day or when not in use. Manually managing this may take up a lot of time and effort. This is where building and office automation can greatly help.
Automation systems, also known as smart systems, can link up all the electronic equipment and facilities in an office using a single control panel or app. This works for lighting, heating/cooling, internet, security, systems, access control, elevators, etc. They ensure that all electronics are switched off when not in use, whether by programming the system or by using a timer.
While it’s true that some of the automation systems available, which cover an entire building, can be quite expensive, there are a range of products on the market that are suitable for smaller offices. These systems can be set easily to automate the most notable energy guzzlers like lighting and heating.
Installing an automation system in the office will not only help conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions and save on utility bills, it will also extend the lifespan of many electrical devices.
Managed Print Services
One of the most useful office inventions in recent history is the printer. With just a push of a button, a legible document is produced –cleaner and more efficient than handwriting or using a typewriter. However, the convenience afforded by the printer has resulted in many people unnecessarily printing everything. This leads to more waste and is a drain on our natural resources.
While printing can admittedly be a necessity in the office environment, office workers need to be more conscious about how they use this machine. One way to do so is by using managed print services that can help monitor printing activity.
A managed print service is a service provided by your print provider, where they monitor, manage and optimize your total print output, often with the use of software. This will provide clients with in-depth data that can help them become more aware of how much they are printing, what they are printing, which departments or employees are printing excessively, etc. This type of information gives business owners more control so they can create effective printing guidelines. This can then significantly reduce printing costs and paper usage.
Another benefit of managed print services is increased productivity. It will be able to anticipate your needs so instances where you run out of ink toner or paper are minimised. In case of printer issues, the supplier can immediately respond, reducing downtime.
Many years back, environmental groups targeted cloud data centres saying that they are bad for the environment as they produce carbon emissions and use massive amounts of energy. Now, more and more studies show that using a public data centre like the cloud is better for the environment than a traditional data warehouse.
The concept is quite simple: sharing. When companies shift to the cloud, they do not need to build their own expensive infrastructure that often consumes too much energy. Most of the time, companies who maintain their own data centres don’t even get to use their servers at full capacity, which is a waste of resources. Using the cloud, on the other hand, allows them the flexibility to scale up or down depending on their needs. Major cloud companies are also switching to renewable energy like solar energy to power their data centres.
For small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, free services like Google Drive may be sufficient, as they are very straightforward to use. However, for businesses which require greater security and storage, there are alternatives to Google Drive that are very reasonably priced.
The availability of these free and affordable cloud services offers businesses an inexpensive way to digitise their data and business assets. Many modern businesses are eliminating physical filing systems and prefer the electronic alternative. As files saved in the cloud are accessible anywhere and any time with an internet connection, this also reduces the need for printed documents and photocopying, which in turn reduces paper waste.
The traditional working day involves getting up in the morning, dressing up for work, travelling to the office, and completing tasks at a dedicated office desk. However, this has increasingly changed in recent years. Many companies are becoming more flexible when it comes to how their employees perform their work.
With the internet becoming faster and more accessible, many employees are able to do their tasks remotely. Many people are preferring to work from home or in co-working spaces, which saves them time, transportation costs, and also provides them with more flexibility in terms of balancing their professional and personal lives.
There are many office tech innovations that support remote work including cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, productivity applications like Trello and Asana, and communication tools like Skype and Slack. These tools help employees to remain connected even if they are situated in different parts of the globe.
Remote work has many advantages, not only to employees but also to employers. Businesses can widen their talent pool so they can hire people outside their geographic location. Remote work is also more environmentally friendly. Since employees are not required to travel to the office every single working day, this reduces air pollution.
Companies can also save on office space and utility bills when they hire remote workers. In an office setting, employees are often required to stay for eight hours straight so even if their tasks are done, they still have to be in the workplace consuming office resources.
On the other hand, many remote employees working from home can complete their work and then move on to other pursuits or activities. In short, it’s a better use of time and resources because employees do not need to stay and watch the clock.
Making Environmentally-friendly Choices for Your Business
While more and more companies are becoming more conscious about how their operations impact the environment, there is still a long way to go. Starting with simple yet efficient methods like switching to more eco-friendly office tech is one way businesses can become a part of the solution.