With lockdown restrictions easing and more of us returning to the office, now is a great opportunity to consider the small changes that can be made to transform our workplaces into a more eco-friendly environment. Not only will you be helping the planet, but some eco-friendly changes can also result in improved wellbeing and mental health!

Nick Fletcher, founder of Absolutely Bear  – a sustainable British clothing line – is all about taking small steps to make a big difference, so Nick has shared his four tips on small workplace changes that will keep the office more eco-conscious: 

 

  1. Swap your current coffee for more sustainable options

Many of us find that coffee is a must for a productive day, so looking for a sustainable alternative allows your team to be more sustainable whilst still getting your morning boost before a busy day. 

Nick says: “Because most coffee is grown in South America, there is somewhat of a limit on reducing the number of air miles as a result of buying it. What can be done, is to ensure that the coffee is registered Fair Trade, and is organically produced. If your office harbours a coffee machine that uses pods, then swapping to compostable coffee pods would be a solution to minimise landfill waste generated by your team.”

 

  1. Turn your office into an indoor forest 

Adding a few plants around the office can have more of an impact than you may think. Nick explains: “When it comes to the health benefits your team will receive, think of reduced stress levels, faster recovery from illness and reduced levels of depression and anxiety. If you’re concerned about the ‘overall difference’ to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere that having a few office plants will make, don’t be. Instead, think about the cumulative effect that every office ‘greening up’ would have. The real difference comes when many people take a single action.”

Office refurbishment company Meridian Interiors, also agrees, citing “green and living walls” as its most popular 2021 office feature request too: “Employers are understanding the importance of creating a relaxing environment for their employees. They understand that there is huge underlying anxiety about returning to the office, and they want to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. Even though green and living walls are becoming increasingly popular across hospitality and events in recent years they are still relatively rare to find in an office. Having this unique feature gives employers the feeling of standing out from the crowd. Being near nature, or what the brain conceives to be as natural, is proven to relax the brain and reduce stress hormones” comments Meridian’s Sarah Glover.

 

  1. Swap your office cleaning products to more eco-friendly alternatives

Office cleaning products are something that we wouldn’t usually think about in terms of eco-friendliness, but cleaning liquids are actually notorious for the harmful chemicals that they contain. Nick adds: “When they are used in conjunction with disposable wipes, these chemicals will enter the environment. Natural ingredients are always best where possible.” 

Asking your office cleaning company to swap their products for eco-conscious alternatives will “make for a quick win when it comes to the ecological impact of your office’s waste, and the wider environment with their regular use.”

 

  1. Introduce a car share system to your team

Car shares are a great way of reducing carbon emissions as well as saving money. When it is safe to do so, car shares can be encouraged to your team to reduce the carbon emissions of their commutes. 

Nick adds: “This is likely to work better in some scenarios than in others, depending on where everyone lives in relation to each other. However, if it means one person taking an extra 10 minutes to drive out of their way to pick a colleague up, that could almost halve transport carbon emissions for the day by travelling in two separate vehicles. If you and a colleague drove each other to work on alternate days, this could be effectively halving your driving emissions all year round, and will also save on both spending on fuel too, which in turn cuts back on human consumptions of fossil fuels.”

For more information and advice on eco-friendly work swaps, or for sustainable workwear inspiration too, please visit: https://www.absolutelybear.com/blog/eco-friendly-workplace-tips 

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.