Top Ten: Ways to Green a Business
This one is a no-brainer. If your company isn’t already recycling, it’s way past time to make the leap. It’s easy, and most cities worldwide have recycling pick-up available, if not already mandatory. Just put out some color coded containers for plastics, paper and metal, and inform employees of the new recycling policy.
9. Electronic Documents
Now that you’re recycling your office paper, why not just get rid of it all together? Email is obviously far greener than “snail” mail, and faster too! Fax modems now allow you to fax documents directly from the computer, and electronic signature services like EchoSign.com can even facilitate the signing and storage of legal documents without paper!
8. Reduce Water Waste
Electronic faucets and low-water toilets can reduce water waste drastically, but can be an expensive upgrade. Consider instead a little common sense extended to your employees, such as notes saying, “turn the faucet completely off,” or “only run the dishwasher when full.” Add sealed plastic containers filled with rocks to toilet reservoirs to limit water waste per flush.
7. Heating and Cooling
Raising the thermostat just a few degrees in the summer and lowering it a few degrees in the winter can save 10 to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs annually. Sure, there are expensive upgrades to more efficient office and shop cooling systems, but adding an extra layer in the winter and allowing short sleeve shirts and khaki shorts during the summer can be just as effective!
6. Used or Refurbished Office Furniture and Décor
Buying second-hand office furniture and decorations can save tons of cash while creating a funky, unique workspace. Several warehouse distributors specialize in used office furniture—like ‘Office Furniture Now!’ In Austin, Texas—and eco-friendly design and build firms are popping up all over the world, which specifically utilize refurbished and renewable materials.
Incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past, and embracing LED and CFL lighting will not only save you money in the long run, but conserve massive amounts of energy as well. Also be sure to take advantage of natural sunlight, dimming lights or turning them off when window light is abundant. Plus, don’t forget to turn the lights off before heading home at night!
4. Shut Off Equipment
Leaving office equipment running when no one’s in the office is a huge drain on energy, and could cost you thousands every year in electricity bills. Simply delegate to employees to turn off or unplug equipment before leaving for the night. There are even “smart” power strips that can automatically shut down equipment.
Think about how much money, time and fuel is wasted traveling via plane, train and automobile just to hold a meeting in another city. These days, thanks to services like “GoToMeeting” and Cisco’s “TelePresence,” there’s no need to travel. You can hold online meetings with various people from various locations thanks to video conferencing.
2. Green Sourcing
From paper to staples, writing utensils to printer ink, even vending machine snacks and beverages; all these items come from somewhere and are made of something. Is it recycled and/or recyclable? Is it organic and/or local? Is it natural or synthetic? These are all questions you should consider when sourcing office goods. With a little searching, you can likely find eco-conscious solutions to almost all of your supply needs.
Let’s face it, most jobs these days have employees staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Why not let them do it in the comfort of their own home? It frees up office space, and with tools like email, Skype, and web chat, you can still manage workflow. Studies reveal that telecommuting saves businesses immense amounts of money. Employee time and paychecks also go further, since gasoline purchases are reduced and employees don’t waste personal time preparing for and driving to work.
In fact, telecommuting may be the single greatest way to save businesses money while bolstering national economies and reducing energy consumption. The Telework Research Network claims that on average, half-time telecommuting saves companies over $10,000 per year per telecommuter! These studies also reveal a 25 to 40 percent increase in productivity, which could equate to a $200 billion yearly increase in productivity in the U.S. alone. Visit TeleworkResearchNetwork.com for more information.
Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.