This is a guest post by Felicia Baratz-Savage who is a freelance writer and graphic designer living in Indianapolis, IN. As a frequent contributor to Eat Breathe Blog, she discusses eco-friendly innovations, green long distance moving, and overall health and wellness. If you would like to write an article, please read How to Become an Author.
Over the last few years, businesses across the country have been embracing green policies in their daily practices. It saves money, looks great as part of a marketing campaign, and for such a good deed it’s remarkably simple. An increasingly digital world has made the elimination of the paper trail a real possibility.
Below are six of the tools everyone should be using to reduce their company’s carbon footprint and raise their eco-friendly quotient:
1. Share files. There’s simply no reason to print out a draft or memo and walk it over to a coworker. Email communication makes it easy to share files, either a Word document or a budget spreadsheet. Popular websites like Slideshare allow users to upload presentations to be viewed by your coworkers and the world. You can even browse by topic for inspiration for your own future meetings, all without ever hitting print.
2. Telecommuting. More and more Americans are choosing to work from home. It eliminates a gas-guzzling commute, it lends itself to a flexible schedule, and who doesn’t love working without pants? Some offices even institute a stay-at-home Friday policy, in which everyone works from home. It makes it easier to incorporate travel plans, and cutting out 20 percent of the time spent in the office will save on energy consumption and gas costs all around.
3. Cloud computing. Of course, anyone who works from home (either part time or full time) needs to access their files. Similarly, salespeople on the road will want to get to their client list and product descriptions. Cloud computing puts all that information in the same place, making it easily accessible with the click of a button. No matter where you are, an Internet connection puts you within reach of all of your data. Apple products even sync automatically, making it as natural as can be.
4. Online applications. Anyone who has run résumés through a shredder understands how hard it can be on the heartstrings. Not only do you feel for the potential employees, you marvel at the paper waste involved in the job hunt process. With job hunting sites like Monster at an all-time high, consider switching to paperless applications for new employees. Résumés, cover letters, even portfolios can be submitted online as documents or PDFs. The data can be stored indefinitely, and it’s even searchable.
5. Power strips. This simple addition can save on energy consumption, which means great news for the planet and the bottom line. Simply plug in all lamps, computers, and printers into a few strips, and designate employees to flick them off at the end of their work day. It reduces phantom pull and eliminates the temptation to leave the computer on 24/7, a habit that is devastating for the environment and the machine. Like us, your electronic devices need a chance to recharge and reboot after a long day of use. Don’t deny it to them.
6. Re-use. You’ll probably need to print something at some point in your workday. Whenever possible, hang on to that printout and use the paper to jot down a quick note, or print a memo on the back. Just finding one other use for a printed document can cut paper consumption in half immediately.
Ninety-five percent of corporations looking for a new office stress that being green is a priority. It’s great that most business are putting the planet first, but those that aren’t should prioritize putting that action into place. It can attract new employees and make a business more attractive to customers. As an added bonus, many of these steps are easy and free. A small change can make a huge difference.