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Back to work: 5 sustainable office resolutions

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

Post-covid, the office was a bit empty. Now that we're going back, it's a chance for us to make some green changes and start fresh.

Whether you work-from-home or returning to the office, we share 5 new sustainable tips to go back-to-work with a spring in your step - because yes, walking is still the most sustainable way to travel in 2021!

Top 5 Resolutions to go back to work the greener way

1. Skip the drive: walk or ride!

Do you drive to work or take a Grab? Ditching the car lowers your carbon footprint and is better for your health. It's also less stressful as you don't have to keep your focus on the road. Start small: how about committing to going at least once a week using public transport, or if you can cycle or walk? Where to start:

  1. Find a work buddy who can join you, all or part of the way to work. You'll be chatting away and will forget about the journey. Really can't use public transport? Then carpool - find a colleague with whom you can take turns.

  2. Unlike driving, you have your hands and attention free if you're taking public transport. Turn on plane mode to avoid using your phone and spend this time to do something you say you don't have time for: learn a language (Duolinguo is free to use!), read a book, or watch those tutorials you saved.

  3. Talking of which, do you have a YouTube "watch later" list of TedTalks? Make a playlist, and listen to them as you walk or cycle to the office. Sign up to podcast on a topic you love and get smarter before your day has even begun!

  4. If you want to walk, do it on the way to the office rather than to get home, when you are more likely to be too tired and feel like grabbing a ride. Beyond having more energy and motivation, morning exercise is proven to boost your brain!

  5. Finally, if you work from home, the above applies to you regardless of where you want to go!

2. Get a green buddy - the leafy kind

We mean it, getting a plant for your workspace, whether you are at home or at the office, plants do wonders for the office air, which is even more important these days when chemicals are being used to keep Covid-19 at bay.

  1. Breathe better! Plants naturally filter toxins from the environment that they grow in and help freshen up the place - which is even more important if you have one of those shared office spaces with no fresh air coming from the outside, only aircon. If you suffer from “sick building syndrome” and get headaches, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and even flu-like symptoms, natural air purifiers like Peace Lilies, Devil’s Ivy, and Spider Plants can help!

  2. Working in the creative field? Studies have shown that stimulating our senses activates our creativity, so pick some colourful and fragrant plants to join you as you brainstorm for next month's marketing plan.

  3. A 10 year-long study in the UK that employees perform better when household plants are added to their work environment - 15% more productive in fact than when they are in an empty, minimalist space.

Video source: Hoppier

3. Try Switching to Eco-Friendly Office Snacks

We all know bubble tea does nothing for us beyond giving us a sugar rush and accumulate a lot of disposable plastic waste, but it can be hard to crush the sweet habit. Give yourself a fighting chance at eating better mid-afternoon snacks by keeping airtight canisters filled up at the closest bulk store with natural dried fruits and nuts, or organic biscuits. Support locally grown (and where possible organic) fruits to keep in the fridge and companies that are producing certified ethical and pesticide-free snacks. Better for the planet and your body.

If you are sharing, keep it hygienic by using prongs or spoons from a glass next to them. You can have a used spoons glass and a clean spoons glass.

And when you're heading out for lunch, or if you really need that bubble tea, grab a barePack from one of our many partners. We hear Woobbee have the healthiest teas around... good thing you can forget to bring-your-own cup and use barePack!

4. feng shui your computer

Whether you are working from home, are a freelancer, a writer, or a corporate, chances are that your computer is a mess. Not green, not friendly to log into. Here's how to feng-shui your computer for a more sustainable desk.

  • The longer outdated files sit and accumulate on your computer or cloud, the harder it will be to sort, so take small steps to remove what can be efficiently taken out to alleviate the storage, keeping only what work requires you to.

  • Minimize energy settings for computers and other devices

  • Reduce monitor brightness to reduce energy use (and protect your eyes!)

  • Power-down at night, on weekends, or if you're on the WFH team next week instead of using standby mode

  • Use power strips and power chords to cut energy with a flip of a switch (without having to unplug all the time)

On your personal computer, sort and download a backup on an external drive of files you need to keep but barely use. And as for those files you never use but are holding onto? You know it.. delete them. On top of being greener, having space on your computer can symbolically create space for good things to come into your life! And we could all do with some of that after a year of Covid-bearing news.

5. Refresh the office with eco-furniture

No, not the designer kind! If you are doing a Spring clean in the office, or if any office modification is on the docket, take this opportunity to source more ecological and human-friendly form and function. Create a habit of always looking at the best solution, and working your way through what is available rather than buying new.

  1. Repair, reupholster, upcycle what you already have!

  2. Choose second-hand office furniture

  3. Rent from Flexisnug if you want some flexibility

  4. Buy ecologically mindful products, for example, ones that have Cradle-to-Cradle certification (i.e. brands like Herman Miller and Steelcase both do).

Implementing a few of these small changes in your work environment is beneficial for your health, work productivity and the planet so pick one to start and share with us what you have decided to commit to this month! And if you can make it last 21 days... you're in a year of success! We even shared with you last week on how to create a habit for good.