With accessible office design, flexibility, health and wellness rising in popularity, it’s only natural that 2023 also means embracing sustainability in the office. From saving energy to incorporating natural materials in the office, there are many ways to create an eco-friendly workplace. So, if you want to be more sustainable in the office or are dying to know how to make your office design more eco-friendly in 2023 and beyong, keep reading for expert insight.
How to make your office design more eco-friendly
A sustainable office design is easier to achieve than you may think. By simply being thoughtful with the materials and suppliers you choose for your office, you can dramatically improve how eco-friendly your office is. Here are our tips for how you can make your office design more eco-friendly.
1. Choose the right materials
When it comes to office design, materials matter. Not only do they set the aesthetics in your office and affect the comfort of employees, but they also play a significant role in how eco-friendly your office is. Sustainable materials are of high quality and have a low environmental impact. Examples of these materials are wood, natural stone, wool and linen – all of which are also commonly used in a biophilic office design.
Investing in sustainable materials counts for all aspects of your office design. Whilst your first port of call may be to bag yourself a gorgeous natural wood desk or a sustainably made office sofa, don’t forget about your walls, ceilings and flooring too. Especially when undergoing an office refurbishment, you should pay attention to the materials used in the office’s more permanent features. For example, you’ll want to choose the best possible flooring for your office so that it is sustainable, long-lasting and suits your office’s overall look. For an eco-friendly office design, natural wood flooring is typically the best choice, however, you should consider working with an office fit out contractor to find the perfect materials for you.
2. Invest in durable furniture
Durable furniture means less waste produced by your office, saving you some cash and also helping the environment. No one wants a poorly made chair that needs to be replaced every two years – this is neither financially nor environmentally sustainable. Instead, invest in extremely good quality, durable furniture that will last for many years to come. You can also bring this furniture along with you during an office relocation as your business grows and evolves. We recommend working with qualified office fit out contractors who can advise on the best furniture choices to last you a lifetime.
When choosing your office furniture, be sure to also consider the ergonomics of its design. Sustainability and ergonomics work hand-in-hand to improve employee wellbeing and productivity, so this is definitely something to consider. Take a look at our guide to ergonomic office design if you would like to explore some more.
3. Pay attention to office lighting
Natural light is one of the best things you can include in your office design. If you’re lucky enough to have plenty of windows in the office, open those curtains wide! Not only does this save you money on running too many artificial lights, but also has a positive impact on your employees. A sustainable office design will make the most of any natural lighting available, creating a bright and energetic ambience for the office.
We know that it won’t always be possible to rely solely on natural lighting. Whether you don’t have many windows, or the sun simply isn’t shining, you can still incorporate sustainable lighting. The best way to do so is by utilising LEDs, which consume far less energy than other lighting and last much longer too. You could also install solar panels to generate your own electricity which can then be used to power your lighting, computers, and more. If office lighting is a concern, check out these 5 tips for better office lighting and upgrade your office lighting now.
4. Use local office furniture suppliers
Using local office furniture suppliers during an office fit out will make the process much more eco-friendly. Transporting furniture from across the world – or even the country – will produce lots of harmful emissions, as well as take up time and money. Why not support local businesses by keeping your office furniture search in close range? This will save you on transport costs and any import taxes and will reduce your impact on the planet.
How to be more sustainable in the office
If you have the sustainable office design down but want to encourage sustainability as part of your company culture, read these tips for how you can be more sustainable in the office.
1. Reduce paper usage
It’s 2023, and we think it’s time to go fully digital. Physical paper files can be disorganised, confusing, and take up lots of space in the office. If your office wants to be more sustainable, you should reduce paper usage and ideally cut it out altogether. The process of making paper can be harmful to the environment, not to mention the fossil fuel resources used when transporting it. Swapping out paper for digital organisation is a great way to maximise space in your office, whilst also benefiting the environment.
2. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Frequently cleaning your workspace is essential for improving and maintaining office hygiene. However, many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals which are damaging to the environment, and potentially to the health of your employees. Fortunately, there is a wide range of eco-friendly cleaning products available, meaning you can keep up office hygiene without sacrificing your sustainability principles.
3. Have a sustainability team
If you’re looking to improve company culture, then creating a team dedicated to sustainability can highlight your commitment to helping the planet. Teamwork makes the dream work, so why not encourage employees to collaborate on ways to improve the office’s sustainability practices? This can be anything from educating employees on sustainability practices to researching environmental charities for the business to support. A sustainability team is also a brilliant way for employees passionate about the environment to make a positive impact within the office and feel their voices being heard.
4. Encourage recycling
Recycling isn’t a particularly new idea, but offices should still take steps to encourage this. First and foremost, your office should have relevant recycling and waste bins in accessible and convenient locations. You can even go one step further and provide compost bins in the kitchen and break areas to help prevent food waste. Additionally, you should be actively encouraging employees to actually recycle. Why not reward employees who recycle correctly, or provide fun incentives that motivate each and every employee to do their part for the environment?
5. Unplug workstations
At the end of a work day, it’s easy for employees to quickly pack up and dash out of the doors in order to beat the traffic. However, when devices are left plugged in, they are still consuming power. Even when turned off, computers and other electronic devices drain energy resources, which also costs the business money. Try to encourage employees to completely unplug their devices before leaving the office – especially when they may be left running over the weekend.
6. Reduce single-use plastics
Single-use plastics are one of the most harmful forms of waste to the environment. Offices can cut down on these by providing mugs, cups, and utensils for employees to use throughout the day. Having a water fountain also means that employees can refill a bottle or cup rather than buy single-use plastic water bottles. However, be careful not to just provide single-use plastic cups for employees to use, as these are incredibly wasteful.
A first-rate office provides a sustainable, productive and pleasant space for employees to work from. If you want to create an office that takes accountability for its environmental impact, why not take on an office fit out? Suitable for all sectors, including healthcare, legal, corporate and public, Diamond Interiors is always on hand to help you design the best office environment. Get in touch with a member of the team today.