Sustainability in the workplace — 8 tips to become a more sustainable office

Gina Schumacher

Young employees in particular are increasingly focusing on sustainability in the workplace. Companies that integrate environmental friendliness into their working practices not only strengthen their employer brand but also make a positive contribution to our planet. Find out in this article how you can make your company more sustainable to retain younger generations in particular.

Three women are sitting in a modern office with a lot plants.

Why should companies introduce sustainability practices in the workplace?

More and more people prefer a sustainable life with electric cars, bicycles, and local organic food. A job in a company that is not environmentally friendly does not fit in with this lifestyle. Millennials and Generation Z therefore prefer an employer that is committed to sustainability. Companies should take a pioneering role in sustainability and develop innovative approaches to minimize or at best reverse the damage caused by human activity.

Sustainability in the workplace ideas

The switch to sustainable business practices should be well thought out in advance. Let your employees know that you want to switch to sustainable business practices and introduce changes gradually. Communication is key to discussing ideas, actions, and strategies. Small efforts can make a big difference, so combine them. Below we present 8 proven measures for more sustainability in the workplace:

A woman is working from an office with a lot of plants, showing sustainability in the workplace.

1. Implement the 3Rs of waste management

The 3R concept (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) helps to reduce waste and preserve valuable materials. Plastic pollution is a big problem, but there are many ways you can help by reducing single-use materials, reusing paper, and recycling organic waste or technical equipment.

2. Become Digital

Digitalization reduces paper waste and enables mobile working, which leads to less travel and CO2 emissions. Desk-sharing apps such as Flexopus offer employees flexibility between remote working and office presence to reduce the environmental impact of commuting.

3. Switch to deforestation-free paper 

Reduce your paper consumption as much as possible and use 100% recycled or FSC-certified paper to protect forests worldwide. When buying office paper, towels or furniture, look out for the FSC® logo, which stands for responsible forest management.

4. Eco-friendly ideas for the kitchen and bathroom

In your cafeteria or kitchen, you can avoid waste by using reusable cups, cutlery, and towels and avoiding disposable coffee capsules. Use a compostable drip coffee maker or a French press/mocha pot. Water-saving taps and energy-saving light sensors are other green options for the bathroom.

5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products

Use environmentally friendly cleaning agents and reusable cloths to save water. Avoid chemical-based air fresheners as they cause headaches and respiratory problems and pollute the environment.

6. Choose a more environmentally friendly means of transportation

Reduce CO2 emissions during business trips by using more environmentally friendly means of transportation such as trains or carpools instead of planes. Choose public transportation, bicycles, or carpools instead of your own car for your daily commute to the office.

7. Partners and suppliers should meet your sustainability standards

Choose sustainable suppliers and clarify your sustainability requirements. Your partners and suppliers should share the same visions and values as your company.

8. Inspire other companies to introduce a sustainable business model

Motivate other companies to implement ideas for a sustainable workplace, as the accumulation of measures leads to a more sustainable business world.

More sustainability in the workplace with Flexopus - the desk-sharing solution

As the leading desk-sharing software in the DACH region, Flexopus is helping to make companies more sustainable. A flex office is good for the environment for several reasons:

  • Space optimization: Desk-sharing enables more efficient use of office space, as not every employee needs a fixed desk. This reduces the amount of office space required and saves energy needed for lighting, heating, and cooling these areas.

  • Reduction in resource consumption: Fewer permanent workstations mean less need for office furniture and equipment. This saves resources during production, reduces the need for new materials, and minimizes waste.

  • Reduced commuting times: Desk-sharing enables employees to work more flexibly, including from home. This reduces the need for long commuting times and thus minimizes CO2 emissions from the daily commute.

  • Digital solutions: Many desk-sharing solutions, such as Flexopus, integrate digital tools to manage the use of workstations. This reduces the need for paper and other physical resources.

  • Energy efficiency: By bringing employees together in a shared space, energy efficiency measures such as optimized lighting, heating, and cooling can be better implemented, which reduces overall energy consumption.

Conclusion: Is a sustainable office easy to achieve?

The increasing preference of young employees for sustainable working practices underlines the importance of environmental friendliness in the workplace. Shifting to sustainable business practices requires gradual changes and can be supported by measures such as implementing the 3R concept, digitalization, the use of environmentally friendly products, and the integration of Flexopus desk sharing.

These small steps are not only beneficial for the environment, but also demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustainable business management. Take small steps towards a greener workplace, because every action for the environment has a positive impact, no matter how small.

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Markus Merkle
Sales manager