October 31, 2014

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

For the past two months our weekly tips have included features on coffee, lighting, junk mail, kitchenware, green meetings, and more.  The goal of this series is to educate employees about ways to improve sustainability in the workplace.  But this week we’re asking YOU to do something to educate other employees.  If you’re reading this article and consider yourself a conscientious individual who is concerned about having a greener office, we’re challenging you to step up to the plate and form a Green Team in your office!

What is a Green Team you ask?  Well, since you asked, a Green Team is a groups of staff members from an office/department that meet regularly to educate themselves and their coworkers about sustainability.  The goal of a Green Team is to ultimately come up with ways to improve office practices when it comes to sustainability. You’re not being asked to recreate the wheel;  although the more ambitious, the better! Simply organizing a small group of 2-3 people to meet every month and discuss sustainability in your office would be a great start.  So after you’ve drafted some like-minded individuals to put together a Green Team for your office, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Meet every month to discuss observations you have made about office behaviors (items not being recycled, lights being left on, excessive paper towels being used in the kitchen, etc.)
  • Take the time during full staff meetings to bring up your observations to other co-workers and get them to make a commitment to change harmful/wasteful behaviors
  • Establish goals for your office; start with small goals to build momentum (e.g. getting everyone on board with shutting off their computer monitors when leaving their offices for lunch or especially for the day)
  • Use signs to educate colleagues about sustainability issues (“Don’t forget to turn off the lights!” posted near the light switch in the kitchen or in the copy room)
  • Post articles about sustainability in a general area space in your office where co-workers can see it, or send emails containing links to articles on sustainability for your co-workers to read (remember to do this in moderation).  Who knows, maybe someone missed this week’s “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” in EagleEye.  As a member of your office’s Green Team, you can share it with your co-workers in case they may have missed it.
  • Form an informal “Green Orientation” program where you teach new employees about ways to go green in your office when they first start

Now that you have read this article and gotten some ideas, there is no time to waste (pun intended) — start a Green Team in your office now!  If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last week’s tip: Social Sustainability

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.

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