The age of austerity is making us more environmentally conscious at work. A YouGov survey in the UK, commissioned by office products manufacturer Avery, found that nearly half of office workers (47%) said their offices have actively become greener as a result of the economic downturn as staff put more effort into recycling, turning off unused lights and saving on the heating bill.
Fifty per cent of office workers say they have personally become more green and 24% say they could be even greener at work with more encouragement from managers. Nearly six out of ten (57%) believe a greener workplace has more chance to save money.
The survey found the most common practical ways that office workers were personally greener in the last year included recycling paper (69%), turning off computer equipment and machinery when not in use (67%), switching off unnecessary lighting (61%) and choosing double-sided printing (48%).
Other green actions included re-using cardboard boxes (42%), choosing more environmentally friendly office products such as recycled stationery (20%), turning down the heating or air conditioning (22%) and finding uses for shredded paper (14%). However, despite this, only 17% of respondents said their office was ‘very or completely green’. Only two per cent said their office was ‘as green as possible’ and more than a quarter, 28%, said their office was ‘not very green’ or not at all green.
A number of factors prevent people being greener in the office. A quarter of office workers (24%) highlighted a lack of encouragement as a reason why themselves and colleagues were not greener in the office, 19% said there was too much effort involved, 18% referred to cost and 16% blamed a lack of information on how to go about it.