October is a fortnight away and with it Halloween! Did you know that even amidst the spooky cloud cover and vegetative decay, your office can happily help the environment? The cycle of the seasons is natural and worth celebrating, and the “decay” of the foliage is just another word for “compost.” The leaves may be turning red, orange, and yellow, but there’s no reason your office can’t turn green this fall. We continue our series on using the season as an excuse to focus on eco-friendly office practices.
Let us once again enter that magical place we like to call… an Environmentally Sustainable Office. Here are eight was your office can stay green this fall!
Forget Halloween Candy – Eat Your Vegetables
We usually associate spring and summer with their bountiful yield of crops, when coworkers bring in fresh fruit from their gardens. What about all of the squash, root veggies, and winter fruit that we can harvest in the fall? Why do you think pumpkins are such a big deal this time of year? This is also the best season for hunting for mushrooms and truffles which bear fruit or emerge under the bed of leaves and during rainfall. Check out your local federal parks for fungi, and ask your grocery stores if they stock their in-season produce from local farms. Or, the office could get started on its own garden early with some composting!
Recycling Through Composting
Green waste, some call it. Composting is a way to recycle food scraps and the non-edible byproducts of your culinary kick. Coffee grounds, vegetable and fruit skins, egg shells, and bones, are good starter items to toss in the bio-waste bin. You can then move them to a planter outside. Or give them to the municipal composting service if your city has one. If you’re going to keep it for your office garden, make sure to do your research. Composting is tricky, and the heat that decomposition gives off can be dangerous. You can keep your compost bin over the winter, or pour the waste into your building’s flower beds. Come spring, you will have nutrient-rich soil ready for planting!
SpOoOooky Fall Office Activities
The office can be a retreat of comfort and warmth in these increasingly colder months. But a bunch of coworkers cramped in their cubicles can lead to some serious cabin fever. It is fun and morale boosting to leave the office every so often and explore. Check with green spaces like farms, state parks, orchards, or arboretums. They may have cider pressings, corn mazes, or tours around this time of year. You can also use this opportunity to bring families together, with educational activities or autumnal crafts lessons. It gets the staff out of the office so that everyone can experience the magic of the season, but it’s also a good way to save the energy otherwise spent in a work day.
Ghosts, Ghouls, and Going Green!
Speaking of fun activities, everyone in the office should be dressing up for Halloween! Employees will enjoy the time to wear costumes, eat sweets, and let down their hair (or put it up, if they’re dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein). This is also an excellent opportunity to save power – turn off the lights and prepare a spoOOoOoky haunted house. Run some fabric and blankets across the workspace aisles, hang some streamers, and get ready jump out at coworkers from the shadows of their cubicles! You can also pick some work appropriate scary movies to watch in the dark. Or use this as a teaching moment to inform your coworkers about the horrors of major ecological issues. Muwahahaha…
Save That Paper for the Papier Maché
While you’re at it, you can cut back on paper use and waste. Instead of paper cups for parties, buy reusable plastic or glass ware to store in your office’s break room. Recycled paper is excellent for use as streamers. Employees can use old clothes and tattered blankets to create crafts or costumes. And you can digitize physical documents into an Enterprise Content Management system to increase open space and reduce reliance on outdated filing practices. Contentverse is one such ECM with capabilities to keep your digital content secure without sacrificing accessibility to the right people.
Feasts can be Eco-friendly and SHOCKINGLY Delicious
Thanksgiving may be the granddaddy of all pot lucks, but you don’t have to stop there. Check out our article about healthy alternative dishes for a diverse office. And add some root veggies to the mix? Those winter vegetables and autumnal fruits we were talking about are perfect to bring even without an occasion. Whether heating up last night’s acorn squash or making an apple pie to share with the class. Crockpot cooking, consuming leftovers, choosing in-season foods, and sharing meals are all sustainable practices you and your employees can adopt without much change to your current diets or habits.
Let Autumn’s Colors Keep You Warm
Not every office environment has a loose enough dress code to keep your fur coat on while you call prospective clients. Sweaters and turtlenecks on the other hand are usually fair game. Or stay professional on the outside and invest in some Under Armour to keep warm. You’ll be able to turn down the thermostat, switch off the heaters, and enjoy some natural warmth. Autumn is a season with colors that suit many fashion styles. Encourage your employees to wear scarves or tasteful gloves and boots to work and on any mini retreats you have planned. The lower temperature you and your staff can stand, the more gas and energy you’ll be saving in the long run.
Are Fall Hours For Your Office?
Autumn marks the advent of winter’s daylight saving time. We will all gain an hour on November 4th this year. Some companies and organizations have begun instituting seasonal hours for the darker months of the year, starting the day either earlier or later. This way, employees enjoy some sunshine off the clock. How they use that time is up to them. Some offices can also implement seasonal changes to only work during daylight hours (as DST was originally intended), saving on energy and heat. You can also consider altering start times in anticipation of winter roads – traffic has a tendency to pile up on icy roads, and plows won’t get to certain routes until the work day is already half over!
Hot Cider and Pumpkin Pie
Sustainability practices are good for the planet, and they help employees be more mindful of their bad habits. But they’re also a path towards a happier, calmer, healthier work environment. Who doesn’t love a mug of spiced cider and a slice of pie every once in a while?
A version of this article was published as Eight Ways Your Office Can Stay Green This Fall on October 19th, 2018.