Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, so it makes sense that we should make our office spaces places we actually want to spend time (or at least don’t dread going to every morning). For many, that means making cultural changes that increase wellness and sustainability. It might seem like an overwhelming, unachievable task to change the culture of your office, but you can start with a few small, easy steps, like these.
Start a recycling program
While “going paperless” is a true eco-friendly dream, starting smaller with a recycling program is a much more achievable short-term goal. Place recycling bins near each printer or copier; simply seeing the reminder not to throw away that botched copy or extra printout will encourage you and your co-workers to recycle more. If you have a kitchen area, think about creating a recycling station. A labeled bin for paper, plastics, and glass with pictures of what goes in each (and what does not) will make recycling a breeze.
Well-labeled recycling bins are a great way to start a recycling program in your office
Bring in a few personal items
To some, dressing up your desk with family photos and knick-knacks can seem silly. While a cluttered desk can increase stress, having a few select personal items can decrease stress and increase workplace satisfaction.
Add a plant or two
Plants do double duty when it comes to wellness in the workplace. First, they have been shown to increase creativity and productivity, which everyone can get behind. Second, many varieties also clean the air of pollutants and VOCs- harmful compounds found in many cleaning products and office supplies like printer ink and toner.
"Plants are great from a psychological perspective," says Sally Augustin, PhD, an environmental psychologist and principal at Design With Science. "You don't want to pack too many into a small space, but it can be great to have a small plant on your desktop, or something a little larger in the corner of your office."1
But be careful- plants that give off heavy aromas can be irritating and distracting.
Bring a plant into your office space to improve creativity, productivity, and clean the air
Remind your colleagues to save electricity by shutting lights and other electronics when they’re not in use. Placing stickers near light switches can serve as a friendly reminder.
Use stickers to remind coworkers to turn off lights
Choose sustainable suppliers
It might take a little digging, but switching to vendors that use recycled products or have sustainable business practices will in turn make your office more sustainable. Look into your office’s suppliers of paper, cleaning products, even office supplies to see where you can make a green change.
While individually these might seem small, they can add up to big change in your office space. Why not start today?
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