Environmental protection and sustainability are playing an increasingly important role in our society. In order to preserve the future, we must find ways and means of saving resources and energy. The market for products and services that are environmentally friendly and sustainable is growing. The consumer behavior of customers is also based on this. Companies – from start-ups to corporations – are therefore more than ever called upon to pay attention to sustainable production and to find solutions for more sustainable business practices.
We want to enable a more modern economy and make our contribution to a sustainable future for all. As a company, we bear responsibility for the sustainable thinking and actions of our employees and the use of environmentally friendly resources. Even small changes in our day-to-day work have a big impact on more environmentally conscious behavior and contribute to a better and more sustainable future, which also offers future generations a chance for a healthier life.
For this reason, we have already introduced quick and easy-to-implement measures. In our new series, we show you tips that we have used to make our nexnet office more sustainable and that you can apply to your office.
Sustainable thinking starts in the office. Many people work in office-based service professions and want ideas and concepts that are progressive and promote recognizable positive change and mental health.
Tip 1: Separating waste in the office is environmentally friendly and sustainable
Every office produces waste every day, whether it’s paper or printer cartridges at work or leftover food and packaging during the lunch break. But waste separation makes your office more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Therefore, inform your team about waste separation in the office. After all, correct waste disposal can only be achieved if everyone works together. In this way, important raw materials can be better recycled by the waste management industry. You and your team are thus actively contributing to more environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices.
We have also come up with a color system for waste separation in our office (at nexnet) and introduced additional labels. Since then, waste separation has become a matter of course for colleagues. Without much effort, we are making a further contribution to a more sustainable future.
Minimize the generation of waste
It is almost impossible to avoid producing waste in everyday office life. But employees and employers can work together to reduce daily waste production to a minimum.
A lot of packaging waste is generated, especially through the consumption of food. As in many other companies, coffee is a particularly popular beverage at nexnet, which uses a lot of packaging and ends up in the environment. We therefore pay particular attention to this and use a fully automatic coffee machine. If you also want to save on coffee waste, you should avoid using capsule machines in your office wherever possible. This is because they produce many tons of waste every year, which is a heavy burden on our environment. At nexnet, employees can drink their beverages, such as coffee and tea, from glasses and cups. We do not use plastic cups, which pollute the environment.
In this way, waste generation in the office can be reduced and everyday office life becomes more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Summary of tip 1:
- Different garbage cans for waste separation
- Label waste garbage cans, or use different colored ones
- Inform team about waste separation
- Minimizing waste generation together
- Drinks from glasses and cups instead of plastic cups
- Do without capsule machines for coffee
- Using fully automatic coffee machines
Changes towards sustainability are easier to make if you start in small steps. Waste separation in the office is one such step that can be introduced in any company. Our tip 2 shows you how this can be achieved.
Tip 2: Office plants improve the working atmosphere and productivity
nexnet relies on plants in the office. Many of us like to put a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant on our desk. But how does this contribute to sustainability? Nature has a positive effect on people. The sight of plants reduces stress and improves people’s mental health. Not only do we find plants pretty, but we also feel better and happier when we have nature around us.
This factor is also very important for office design. Because plants create a more pleasant atmosphere in the office. In addition, various plant species can contribute to air purification and thus sustainably improve the office climate. When designing the office, we at nexnet also rely on various plants. This creates a pleasant workplace and improves our indoor climate.
In a study by a British research team from Cardiff University, employees who had plants in their office reported that they were more mentally satisfied. The results of the study confirmed this assessment and the research team was able to prove that productivity increased by an average of 15 percent. It can be deduced from this that the plants made the employees physically, mentally and emotionally better prepared for work.
Other studies have also shown that a green office increases employee concentration and productivity. In the long term, office plants don’t cost much, look good and have a positive impact on employees and the indoor climate. Companies should therefore invest in an office design with plants.
Summary of tip 2:
- Nature has a positive effect on people
- Plants in the office improve productivity
- Plants create a pleasant atmosphere
- Plants help to purify the air
Paper consumption in the office is also an important issue. We explain why in our tip 3.
A lot of paper is often used in everyday office life. This is neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly. That is why there should be a rethink here too. But how can paper be saved? In our third tip, we show how paper consumption in the office can be reduced.
Tip 3: Save paper in the office
Office work also includes processing e-mails. Hundreds of emails can accumulate in your digital inbox every day. Some of them contain important information, which is why they are printed out, filed and archived in many companies. At the request of the Green Party, the German Bundestag stated that per capita consumption in the area of “printing, press and office paper” was between 90 and 120 kilograms between 1990 and 2018. A high number in relation to the planet’s dwindling resources. Is that necessary?
The e-mails and the documents they contain are already digital. It is therefore much better to create a digital folder structure and thus archive digitally. This saves a large amount of paper and is more environmentally friendly. Digital document storage is becoming more important, especially when working from home. This means that documents can also be commented on and collaboratively edited by team members.
If documents do need to be printed, they should be printed on recycled paper. Nowadays, there are various types of paper available, such as grass or seed paper. These are good alternatives to conventional wood fiber paper. They are more sustainable and environmentally friendly to produce. And in many cases, several pages can be printed on one. This saves additional paper. The front and back of the paper can also be printed.
We at nexnet rely on the digital alternative. We store documents in digital archives and make them accessible to employees via a clear folder structure. This means that important information can also be accessed from the home office and processed with the teams. We also process, sign and archive contracts digitally. This saves paper, mailing costs and time. In this way, we can make our day-to-day work more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Summary of tip 3:
- Consider beforehand whether the document really needs to be in paper form
- Use a digital folder structure for editing and archiving documents
- Use recycled paper for printing important documents
- Print on both sides of paper
To create an office that radiates sustainability and environmental awareness and where your employees feel comfortable, you can do even more! In our tip 4, we show you how you can achieve this with the right office equipment.
Tip 4: Design sustainable office equipment
If you are planning to renew the furnishings in your office, you should not take the old furniture to the waste compactor straight away. Much of the office furniture is still in good condition and can be donated. Viele Büromöbel sind noch in gutem Zustand und können gespendet werden. Reusing furniture also conserves our planet’s important resources.
Use sustainable and recyclable furniture
When refurnishing your office, you can then consider whether you want to use recyclable options such as pallet furniture or cardboard furniture. There is now a large market for ecologically produced office equipment. Whether office chair, desk or shelving systems – you will find a sustainable alternative for the design of your office. Office equipment also includes kitchen and bathroom utensils. You can also find organically produced products here.
When we moved into the new office, we took over a large part of our previous office equipment, as it was still in good condition. And we deliberately chose sustainable furniture for our new purchases.
Use light and ecological paints and varnishes
You can also get an edge for your office with the color of the office furniture. This is because bright colors maximize the natural effect of the light. In this way, you can save electricity for lighting.
You should look for natural varnishes and paints for your office furnishings. You can even find ecological offers for furniture upholstery. In this way you protect the environment. The natural furnishings also have a positive effect on the well-being and health of employees, as they do not have to breathe in any unpleasant chemical substances, as is often the case with painting work and new furniture in the office.
Summary of tip 4:
- Donate old office furniture instead of throwing it away
- Light furniture for a brighter office
- Modern, recyclable furniture made from pallets or cardboard furniture
- Use natural varnishes and paints
You and your team can already contribute to sustainability on the way to the office. We show you how to do this in our tip 5.
A major sustainability goal of the United Nations is to reduce CO2 emissions to the environment. However, the high number of car and motorcycle drivers is an increasing problem, especially in large cities, as the high volume of traffic means that traffic jams are unavoidable and numerous exhaust fumes pollute the air. In addition to a 45% high accident rate among drivers in Berlin in 2020, people also suffer from the noise caused by cars and the daily struggle to find a parking space.
A better way to get around in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way is by bike, for example.” A bike or e-bike is a more sustainable way to get to the office and is also good for your health.
Tip 5: Cycle to work
Cycling is a good and sustainable alternative to driving a car. Especially if you live in a city and your office is close by. A bicycle is cheaper than a car and cycling is good for your health.
Companies should encourage their employees to cycle. This is because employees who cycle to work save a considerable amount of CO2 emissions. Cyclists are also more energetic, which has a positive effect on the job. A company bike is therefore a good investment in sustainable and more efficient working. Nexnet employees can also purchase a company bike through the company. And we support colleagues in this healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting around with a monthly employer subsidy of €7.50 per bike for a period of 36 months.
You can read what our bike enthusiasts experienced at VeloCity here.
Public transportation is well developed in most major cities and offers many options for getting from A to B quickly. A monthly pass is cheaper than gasoline, car insurance and taxes. And traveling by public transport is more environmentally friendly. nexnet supports employees by subsidizing tickets for public transport in Berlin and for the Deutschlandticket.
Another idea for a more sustainable commute is to form a car pool. If your colleagues live nearby, then traveling together is better in many ways. For example, the cost of fuel can be shared and you can also have a good conversation on the journey.
Summary for tip 5:
Cycling in the city is a good alternative to driving and there are many advantages:
- It saves money
- You are doing something for your health
- You contribute to environmental protection
- Riding a bike is fun