I have worked in an office environment my entire career, far more years than I care to add up and for the last five and a half of those years, I have worked with Phil at Allcontrols as the Office Manager in Cambridge.
As you would expect Allcontrols breaths, eats and sleeps recycling!
So, it made perfect sense for me to share my thoughts by combining those two topics from an office management perspective. However, please note I cannot claim to be an expert, but I do have a few hints and tips up my sleeve that you may want to adopt for your workplace.
So, here goes…
Office Supplies – think again
- It’s always good to shop around and compare the competition. We often do it in our personal lives such as home, car, personal insurance so why not with our office suppliers. Finding a new, more ethical and environmentally friendly office equipment supplier via a quick Google search can reap great rewards.
- The cost of recycled/recyclable supplies may be higher but take this as an opportunity rather than a problem. Evaluate what supplies your workforce actually need versus what is currently being used and that could really balance the stationery budget.
- Just making small, simple changes can make a big difference, especially for our planet. For example, swapping Bics for refillable fountain pens, or pens for unpainted pencils which are far more environmental.
Team Members – send a clear message
- Create a set of values and state everyone in your company must follow it. Make this available to everyone on the staff intranet or staff briefings.
- Challenge any behaviour that goes against the recycling ethos of your business. For example, speak up if you witness someone putting rubbish in the wrong bin or suggest people proofread documents on their computers rather than printing them out.
- If your organisational departments love to pitch against each other, then why not start incentivising great working practices. Set targets for each department and disseminate the results. Not to name and shame, but to encourage everyone coming on board. If the highest achievers are applauded with a reward like a free lunch voucher or going home early one day, that will surely encourage a collaborative approach.
- Appoint departmental recycling champions throughout the business. These members of the team will be on hand to answer recycling related questions and encourage best practice.
Whose responsibility is it?
- The UK government says that every business has a responsibility to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste – in that order! To make this possible, both the corporation and the individuals within it need to take ownership of recycling in their workplace.
- Encourage team members to view the office as an extension of their own homes in terms of their attitudes and behaviour. This spreads a global mentality towards recycling and reducing waste.
- Most of us have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. If the recycling efforts within the office begin to feel like hard work, then try to focus on doing the right thing now to ensure a better future for them.
5 questions to ask yourself as an office manager when thinking about what stationery your office needs:
- Do I really need it?
- Is there something else which can do the job just as well that we already have here?
- Is what I’m purchasing recyclable or, does it have a good carbon footprint e.g. has it been made from recyclables?
- Can what I am looking to replace be repaired instead?
- What is going to happen to it when it doesn’t work anymore?
So hopefully you are all reading this on your devices rather than from the hardcopy you’ve printed off? If not, this may encourage you to do so going forward and to think about your day-to-day activities in a more sustainable way.