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Upskilled goes paperless! 5 ways to build an eco-friendly workplace

By Jana Angeles

Building an eco-friendly workplace is encouraged, especially considering the major environmental issues affecting our planet. From pollution to the rapid destruction of major ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest, it’s important that we do our bit by reducing the use of plastic and find ways to decrease our carbon footprint as much as possible. 

Not only will this improve our mindset about the environment but it will help us be conscious when it comes to running a business that promotes sustainability. By going green, not only will the planet benefit from it but the impact you make in an organisation, big or small could bring a lot of upsides such as improving brand credibility and gaining more trust from prospective customers.

Upskilled goes paperless!

It is exciting to share that Upskilled has officially turned paperless. This means textbooks and other additional learning materials will be in an ebook format starting from September 2019

With students already experiencing the flexible delivery of online learning, it made sense to go digital, saving costs and resources in the long run. Going paperless also means there will be no more waiting around when it comes to textbook deliveries and ebooks can be accessed online from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re currently running a business and want to learn how you can promote an eco-friendly workplace, here are some worthwhile tips that can help you go green and reduce your carbon footprint, according to TechRepublic:

5 ways to build an eco-friendly workplace

  1. Start a sustainability committee.
  2. Make “switching off” a rule in the workplace.
  3. Ditch paper and go online.
  4. Carpool or take public transport.
  5. Buy desk plants for staff (or encourage them to bring their own).

1. Start a sustainability committee.

Having a sustainability committee is a great idea to implement since you will have people encouraging sustainability around the office, as well as promoting fun programs that could motivate employees to take part in recycling, purchasing supplies and appliances that have a “green tick”. 

This could also mean having the committee audit office supplies, electricity and gas to see if it is still worth switching to a greener alternative that won’t break the bank.

2.  Make “switching off” a rule in the workplace.

If your company works standard office hours with some occasionally staying back to tie up loose ends, it’s important that you encourage staff to “switch off” when they are finished work for the day. 

This means turning off computers, lights, air conditioners, heaters and other things that may consume a lot of electricity. If it’s within your budget, you can even install lights that switch off/dims automatically when someone leaves the room, which could help cut electricity costs. 

3. Ditch paper and go online.

going digital concept

Going digital is easy with the norm of technology. From smartphones to tablets, it’s amazing to see how devices have evolved over time. If you want to save resources and money, the best way to go “green” is to ditch paper completely. 

If you think about how often you print and use ink, going digital saves you time and valuable resources. It is also much easier to review documents digitally rather than printing them out. 

You can also save them on a cloud-based system and refer back to them at a later date, as opposed to a paper copy where it can get lost and be accidentally thrown out.

4. Carpool or take public transport.

If you love driving and have the patience and time to deal with congested traffic (looking at you, Sydney), then you may be aware of how much you spend on petrol and parking. However, driving on your own increases the carbon emissions polluting our planet as petrol burns each time you use your car. 

In order to promote a “greener” alternative, encourage your workplace to carpool instead, especially if everyone is within vicinity of each other. This in return could have a significant impact in terms of saving commuter costs. 

Another option to consider is taking public transport. Not only does this encourage staff to take advantage of the savings but it also has definite upsides such as encouraging physical movement and connecting with nature instead of being stuck in the bubble of a car. 

It’s also a better option in terms of productivity as you have the ability to catch up on your emails, listen to podcasts, browse social media and read a book while you’re on the bus, ferry, tram or train.

5. Buy desk plants for staff (or encourage them to bring their own).

Did you know that having a desk plant can help increase productivity, which could make your staff happier and refreshed? Not only does having one promote the office to take a “greener” approach, it can also improve the indoor air quality and promote a natural feel to the office. Having plants around can also make things feel a bit more upbeat and casual, as opposed to having a corporate feel that offices normally promote to their staff.

4 fun office activities promoting sustainability

  1. Have a meatless team lunch.
  2. Do a “leave your car” at home day.
  3. Run an upcycle competition.
  4. Go on coffee runs using keep cups.
While building an eco-friendly workplace is great, it’s important to continue bringing the message to staff when it comes to sustainability and going green. An effective way is to get them involved in fun activities that promote this. Here are some fun activity ideas that may be worth exploring:

1. Have a meatless team lunch.

Want to know the best way to reduce your carbon footprint? Eat less meat. By cutting back on your meat intake, you are making a difference by reducing the carbon emissions coming from meat production. 

You may not have officially tried vegetarian or vegan food before but it’s good to keep an open mind when it comes to trying out plant-based alternatives as they can taste just as good as real meat. 

Going meatless once a week is equivalent to leaving the car home for three months, so definitely consider making a fun team lunch where you all go meatless. Not only can it help boost employee morale but it’s a chance to discover a favourite local lunch spot nearby.

2. Do a “leave your car” at home day.

public transport

With the assumption that most of your staff members have access to public transport with reasonable commuting times, it’s a great idea to have a day during the week where you encourage staff to leave their car and catch public transport instead. 

Not only will this help reduce carbon emissions but it gives staff a chance to be out and about while commuting on various modes of transport such as the train, bus, ferry or tram. Of course, this may not be feasible for all staff so a good alternative would be to make a day where they get to carpool with other staff. 

3. Run an upcycle competition.

Are there items that are seen as “disposable” but you have chosen to re-use and use it for something else? For example, you may have re-used a bottle that stored soft drink but are now using it as a placeholder for fresh flowers. 

Running an upcycle competition can be a great way to get your staff to be creative and help them understand the value of a particular item they never thought they could re-use for a different purpose. 

4. Go on coffee runs using keep cups. 

Coffee is a staple beverage in the office. As most 9-5 workers understand, having a coffee run is almost a necessity to kick off the day on a positive note.

If you love your cup of joe but also want to reduce the waste that is associated with disposable coffee cups and lids, get yourself a keep cup, or better yet, gift a customised keep cup to your employees.

One of the big upsides of having one is you’ll be saving money in the long run since cafes generally charge less provided that you’ve brought in your own mug. 

Want to create positive change in the workplace?

If you want to be an inspiring leader and encourage a positive working environment that promotes sustainability, consider studying a management course with Upskilled. Most courses are delivered online and designed to be completed within 12 months or less depending on your progress. 

With the flexible delivery of online learning, you can juggle work and other personal commitments while keeping track of your studies. If you’re interested in taking up further study in management, get in touch by calling one of Upskilled’s education consultants on 1300 009 924 and take the opportunity to upskill today. 
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