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Are employees the key to unlocking a green office?

Green Office Week highlights the role everyone can play in saving energy

As the price of energy rises and new ways of cutting back on expenditure in any way possible become increasingly sought after, green practices are often touted as a good way to help companies reduce their bills.

And with yesterday (May 14th) marking the start of Green Office Week, it seems that educating employees about environmentally friendly working procedures could be the key to lowering carbon output and saving money on unnecessary energy use.

"The equipment and suppliers used [by businesses] are all major contributing factors in reducing energy usage – but it’s staff who have the power to really make a big difference," said Gregg Corbett, marketing director at Avery – the founder of Green Office Week.

With improving awareness among workers considered one of the best means to instil energy saving values in the office, setting up a digital mailroom that all employees can access – rather than having them print off endless emails – could be an ideal way to make staff a part of the process that aims to reduce the impact businesses have on the environment.

Similarly, encouraging document scanning and backing up files online, rather than photocopying, are all good strategies that can play a role in creating an office that is as paperless and carbon friendly as possible.

What’s more, with Green Office Week reporting that UK offices waste £160 million a year because they leave the lights on unnecessarily, it appears that involving workers in energy efficient initiatives doesn’t have to be a particularly testing task – significant savings can be made just by remembering to flick the switch.

"The truth is, in a business with poor environmental practices, staff often leave personal computer monitors on, open windows when the heating is on and leave printers on overnight," Mr Corbett added.

By using storage and scanning facilities that have a limited impact on the environment and educating staff about such practices, it seems there are impressive financial benefits to be had.