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How to make your office more eco-friendly

Photo by: kevin

There are many environmentally friendly practices that business owners and their employees can adopt around the office.

• Turn computers off at quitting time. When going home for the day or leaving your desk for more than 20 minutes, whether it's during lunch hour or to attend a meeting, turn your monitor off. If you expect to be away from your computer for more than two hours, turn both the computer and the monitor off.

• Recycle old equipment. Advancements in technology now occur at a breakneck pace, so the equipment businesses use today may very well be obsolete tomorrow. Businesses that want to be more eco-friendly should recycle and not simply throw equipment away, which might even be illegal depending on where an office is located. Some electronics contain hazardous materials that can do damage to the environment when not properly disposed of.

• Cut back on printing. Printing documents used to be the most effective way to share them with coworkers and clients. But nowadays printing is one of the least efficient and least eco-friendly ways to share documents. Instead of printing documents to show coworkers, create PDFs and email the PDFs instead. And rather than mailing contracts to prospective clients, email contracts that accept e-signatures, ultimately storing the contracts on your file server rather than in a dusty old filing cabinet.

• Develop telecommuting policies. In analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005-2014 American Community Survey, found the population of regular work-at-home non-self-employed persons grew by 103 percent between 2005 and 2014. When employees work from home, their employers need not purchase or lease as much office space, saving them substantial amounts of money. Employers who cannot allow employees to work from home full-time can still help by allowing workers to work from home one or two days a week.

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