If you’re the owner or manager of an SME, the environmental impact of the day-to-day running of your business might not cross your mind. Especially when competing with firms of a much larger scale, you might think what your company puts out is inconsequential; however, this is not the mindset to adopt in our more sustainability-focused business world.
Equipped with a more in-depth knowledge of the current issues gripping our planet, more and more consumers and other businesspeople are changing their buying/working habits to adopt a kinder approach to the earth. And in turn, cancelling brands that refuse to or don’t make enough effort to change how they operate for the better, as evidenced by the two-thirds of customers who state they would be happy to pay a premium for sustainable products.
No business wants to get left behind, so companies must rethink how they operate and implement eco-friendlier choices. From encouraging employees to work remotely and using digital communication tools to opting for second-office furnishings and collaborating with other green companies, we outline some of the best ways businesses can become more sustainable below:
Encourage Employees To Work Remotely
As more and more telecommuting tools are being developed, the need for working from a physical premise decreases – another benefit arising out of the nightmarish past couple of years. Since its implementation in 2019, remote/hybrid working has taken off, granting employees better work/life flexibility and eliminating the need to commute to and from the physical premise.
As you can imagine, this is excellent for the environment because it minimises the number of cars on the road, reducing the number of greenhouse gasses released into the air. Not only can putting slight pressure on employees to work remotely benefit the environment, but it can also be beneficial in other ways – mainly to your company’s bank account!
By reducing the need for physical premises, your company could do away with the office and switch to being completely remote. Doing so means you won’t have to worry about getting tied into long-term leasing contracts, paying a monthly fee, or paying for utilities like heating, lighting, stocking etc., meaning that you have more money to put into more important business aspects.
Use Digital Communication Tools
If there’s one thing the business world should be thanking the pandemic for – very ironic, we know! – it’s the wide selection of digital communication tools that have become popular for liaising with colleagues/clients from anywhere in the world.
With these tools, your entire organisation can efficiently communicate and be assured that an extra layer of security protects any sensitive information they share. But how does this make your organisation more sustainable, you ask?
By making all communication digital, businesses can work towards fostering a paperless community. Whether you’re communicating with clients or colleagues using digital communication tools, you’ll never have to worry about leaving a post-it note on someone’s desk or racing to catch the next morning’s mail to send a letter – as tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams eliminate the need.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry about wasting paper using digital communication tools since just about every file format can be converted into a PDF using online PDF tools. PDF tools are just as quick as printing (if not quicker!) using an online PDF converter like the ones from PDF Tools and their range of other tools.
Whether you’re looking to reduce the size of a PDF or convert it into a different format, consider visiting their website for more information. Or contact them directly to see how their solutions could help you reduce paper usage in your business and, in turn, help you become more eco-friendly today.
Use Second-Hand Furnishings
No matter how hard you push employees to work remotely, you will always have a handful that prefers to work in-house or hybrid. If this is the case, consider downsizing your physical premises to accommodate your reduced number of in-house staff. Moving into a swanky new office can be exciting but costly, so why not reduce your expenses (and your carbon footprint!) by kitting it out with second-hand items?
As lovely as it feels to have brand-new furnishings in equally as new premises, think about how much time and materials it takes to manufacture all those new desks, office chairs, etc. All of which can be saved by giving second-hand furniture a new lease on life from your local antique stores, online marketplaces, and charity shops.
Some second-hand furnishings are as good as new or have been restored to be enjoyed for many more years. With so many years of life left in some charity shop finds, it would be a shame for them to be sent prematurely to landfill and even more of a pity for some beautiful mid-century finds not to be featured in your office – who knows it could make for a great conversation starter?
Create A Green Space
One of the easiest ways to make your company more sustainable is by turning your office into a green space by introducing various plants, succulents, and other greenery. Now, you might be wondering how buying a couple of plants could help your company in its mission to become more sustainable. And the answer might surprise you!
Nothing is worse than being stuck in an office full of people with little to no air circulation and having to breathe in everyones recycled air. Well, this can be a thing of the past, as according to studies, the common houseplant is one of the best ways to enhance the air quality of a room and remove harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene etc.
Since plants absorb the air, we exhale and turn it into fresh carbon dioxide, effectively churning fresh air out all day long – turning your office into a green space is an excellent way to improve air quality (and make it aesthetically pleasing simultaneously!). Some of the best office plants include Bamboo, Peace Lillie’s, Monstera, etc., as they don’t require much sunlight and are very low maintenance.
On the other hand, if you want to reduce cleaning, watering etc., you could dot a few real plants throughout the office and then use realistic faux plants to make it look more populated with greenery. This way, you still get the prettiness of the plants and the improved air quality with much less maintenance!
Collaborate With Other Eco-Friendly Businesses
Another way to make your company more sustainable is by collaborating with other eco-friendly businesses, preferably ones renowned for their dedication to the environment. Whether you’re looking to find a new supplier or you’d like to collaborate on a project, you can find greener vendors across just any industry.
From food/beverage brands and shipping carriers to cleaning brands and clothing labels, you can find many carbon-neutral corporations to affiliate with. Even better, if they’ve established a brand built around sustainability like KeepCup, Clean Living, and The Beeswax Wrap Co. just by affiliating yourself with them, your company looks more eco-friendly since they wouldn’t partner with collaborators who don’t share the same values.
Not only does working alongside them do wonders for your brand’s image, but they can also give you insights into how to succeed better in your sustainability journey, which can help you progress in leaps and bounds and consider environmental practices that might not have otherwise entered your head.
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