Sustainability in the office environment

A growing number of companies across all kinds of industries are committing to reducing their impact on the environment. From a business standpoint, it has become a necessity, because consumers are not just willing to pay more for products and services from companies, with a proven record of social responsibility, they are insisting on it.

Sustainability means different things to different people, but what does it mean to businesses? How does it affect them? What do companies need to change to become more sustainable, and how do they capture the value of sustainability? 

Creating a sustainable workplace doesn’t have to become a huge and cumbersome task, as there are countless ways companies can make a difference without spending a lot of time or money.

Firstly it starts with a shift of mindset. Information and training can help employees understand the term in context of their own business, and why their company should work towards going green and how to achieve it. When awareness is heightened, most companies welcome the challenge of rolling out great initiatives. 

Often it starts with small steps like getting into the habit of reviewing documents digitally, rather than printing them out. Many will even try to go completely paperless and request their vendors to offer e-statements or invoices by email instead of on paper.

Did you know that one ton of paper kills 17 trees?

Another easy way to become more sustainable is to replace all fluorescent lights with energy efficient bulbs, especially LEDs. Switching to LEDs will use 90% less energy and last significantly longer than the fluorescent lights that most companies still use in their offices. This will help to not only save energy, but also cost.

If all businesses worldwide switched to energy-efficient light bulbs, the world could save $115 billion annually. 

Improving the utilization of natural light also has health benefits for employees. The World Green Building Council reports that employees, working near sunlit windows, are happier and have a 15% higher production rate.

To go truly green in the office, one would need to recycle everything possible. Companies often begin in the kitchen by ditching the plastic cups and single-use utensils as well as using a water filtration system, rather than purchasing bottled water. Using green cleaning products, instead of chemical ones, is more gentle on the furniture and better for air quality. Adding real plants will also help air quality and make the office more attractive and can boost employee morale.

Office furniture is something that is very often inefficiently managed and frequently wasted. Most companies buy cheap furniture that they end up throwing out, either because it breaks prematurely and is not worth fixing, or it is simply no longer wanted or needed, as the company scales and has different needs and preferences.

Recycling used office furniture and keeping it out of landfills, reduces enormous amounts of solid waste and helps to reduce the extraction of raw materials, but even though office furniture can be re-sold, restored, or donated, most companies are not willing to sacrifice the time and energy required to manage these efforts.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of furniture and furnishings taken to a landfill rose from 7.6 million tons in 2005 to 9.69 million tons in 2015, and the rate of increase is accelerating.

At OMNI, we believe companies deserve both smarter and more accessible ways to acquire top-quality office furniture, even with a limited budget, and with a clean conscience and a green approach. By transforming furniture and products into a service, rather than an acquisition, we believe we can effectively address many of the barriers for why companies are not more creative with their office environment or better able to help reduce unnecessary waste. 

Getting office furniture on a subscription removes the prerequisites of needing to have furniture or interior design know-how, vast amounts of time and energy to spend on practicalities and logistics, and large amounts of money to be locked in inventory.

Our vision is to make beautiful, top-quality furniture accessible to companies and employees, who care about sustainability as well as quality of life at work. By offering great furniture on a flexible subscription, we aim to encourage companies to not just reduce waste, save money, and be more sustainable, but also increase the appreciation of the products that surround them, as they spend some of the best hours of their lives at work.

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