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What is a Green Workplace?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mandi R. Hall
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A green workplace is otherwise known as an environmentally friendly workplace. There are innumerable ways to go green at the office. Many offices never stop “going green,” as advances in technology make it even easier. A green company can make a difference in economics and productivity, among other aspects of business. Some even say a green workplace spawns healthier attitudes between coworkers.

For those who can’t walk or bicycle to work, many businesses offer carpooling services. When coworkers carpool or ride share, carbon emissions are reduced. Additionally, the number of parking spaces needed by the company is decreased, as are the miles put on leased company automobiles. Companies can organize carpooling groups via the business’s intranet or on office whiteboards and via flyers on bulletin boards.

Bulletin boards, however, are discouraged in a green workplace. Bulletin boards hold paper flyers and thus attract more paper waste. Although companies will never be without paper, green workplace specialists recommend digitizing as much as possible. Items such as emails, graphs, memos, and any other items that are regularly printed can be emailed and filed away on the hard drive. Furthermore, the simple act of ensuring all employees power down their computers at the end of the work day can save energy.

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Things that can’t be kept only online could be printed on recycled paper. Whoever is in charge of stocking up on office supplies at a green workplace should look for paper displaying a recycling symbol. Other supplies, such as pens, pencils, markers, soaps, and printer cartridges can also be made from recycled materials.

Many companies have begun to allow employees to work from home. Via telecommuting, instant messaging, emailing, and phone conferences an eligible employee could work one or all days of the week from home. Working from home could improve a green workplace in many ways. Less paper will be passed around the office if more people work from home, and the commute to work would be eliminated. Additionally, companies that offer flextime can encourage employees to work a full 40-hour work week in four 10-hour shifts.

Uniforms made from recycled or pre-owned materials are a part of a green workplace. Additionally, furniture, carpeting, and flooring materials made from recycled materials are becoming more prevalent. A company that stocks its cafeteria with organic or natural, rather than processed foods is participating in a green workplace because less factory work goes into those food products. Organic foods also can help make employees healthier.

A green workplace should practice the three “R”s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. This decades-old slogan, also known as a waste hierarchy, is an easy way to think of how to ensure a green space. Some people have incorporated a fourth “R”: Re-think. It is thought that business leaders and employees who stop to think about their actions can reduce a great amount of ecological waste.

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