For many, the office is often seen as a place where productivity needs to be prioritized above absolutely everything else. It may be easy to fall into the trap of believing that what’s efficient for productivity cannot also be easier on the planet. It’s always possible to make small but lasting changes in the work environment to press towards a more sustainable future.

These changes can start off small but they will undoubtedly have knock-on effects on your workplace’s overall impact on the environment. Here are five simple things you can do to begin its sustainability journey.

1. Swap out for more efficient printers

Moving away from more commonplace cartridge printers and towards ink tank printers is a perfect fit for offices where the printer is seeing consistent use. Rather than churning through ink cartridges like there’s no tomorrow, an ink tank printer will allow you to fill and forget. The ink bottles that these machines use are comparable in cost to ink cartridges, however, the difference lies in the number of pages that are able to be printed per refill – thousands compared to the paltry few hundred of the cartridge printer. One disadvantage is that these ink bottles may dry out if not used for an extended period of time, although this shouldn’t be an issue in any high print volume office.

Naturally, this shift also means that less waste is being produced. With the ink bottles being so much more efficient, there is a benefit to your pocket as well as less plastic going to the landfill at the end of the day.

2. Rewire thinking around energy consumption

There are likely many ways that your office is invisibly burning through electricity at a rate at which it doesn’t need to be. Ensure that lights are only turned on when in use and consider installing automatic lighting and energy-efficient (LED) globes. Considering how the space is being heated and cooled is also a valuable step towards reducing energy consumption – heating and cooling systems which are much older may be worth replacing with much more efficient newer models.

Depending on the scale of your sustainability renovation, you could maybe even splurge to have the entire building clad in solar panels and have your office become completely carbon neutral in a few short years!

3. Switch to a hybrid work model

One of the best things an office can do to reduce its environmental impact is to switch to a hybrid working structure. Reducing the number of bodies in the office reduces the need for larger office spaces, in turn reducing the amount of land that it requires. Having fewer employees commuting to and from the workplace every day will also in turn reduce the number of emissions from those vehicles being on the road.

The recent increase in hybrid working setups has spurred the conversion on what the most environmentally sustainable work structure is, as companies experiment and continue to discover the best practices for their employees around sustainability.

4. Get your employees involved

Ensure that sustainability is a practiced part of the work culture, from top to bottom. Getting your employees involved with your sustainability goals can be as simple as encouraging the use of their own mugs, or reusable coffee cups, for all the hot drinks in the workplace.

Encouraging your staff to act with sustainability in mind is done best through leading by example. Giving them an easy lead to follow is the first step in allowing them to contribute in their own ways. Having simple, clearly defined sustainability goals is always advantageous. Try also creating small sustainability goals for staff in order to encourage some friendly competition – setting targets around reducing waste for example can help staff get into the spirit, making environment-first thinking far more tangible.

5. Support local, support sustainable

Looking at the company’s supply chain and ensuring that the distances that required goods are traveling are kept to a minimum is a great way to reduce its negative impact on the environment. Supporting local isn’t only better for the environment, it also helps to support the economy and helps to lift other businesses like your own. Take it a step further and ensure that you’re only supporting other businesses who themselves have comprehensive commitments to sustainability and reducing environmental impact.

Partnering with not-for-profits such as GreenChair, which diverts office furniture from landfills, is a simple way to reduce your impact. Often, there are other companies with more expertise on certain matters when it comes to sustainability – allowing them to take the reins on particular issues can often be the best action.

Promoting sustainability in the workplace may not seem like the easiest task – however, it is one that is made up of many, much smaller steps. Although you may not be able to create that dream solar-powered building just yet, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t a slew of other avenues you may take towards reducing waste and saving the planet.