Businesses are under increasing pressure to “go green,” and the IT service desk is no exception. Some green practices are actually cheaper than the traditional ways of doing things, but others are quite costly. Where are some easy, affordable, practical areas where your service desk can be friendlier to the environment without sending the budget into a downward spiral? Here are eight great ways to do just that.
1. Go Paperless (or Learn to Reduce Paper and Ink Consumption)
With an inexpensive scanner, you can eliminate most of the paper documents around the workplace and establish a paperless policy banning printing except for certain circumstances (such as where legal requirements dictate a printed document). If paperless isn’t possible, you can instead begin printing double-sided documents, which cuts paper consumption in half. A font like Century Gothic uses 30 percent less ink than many other fonts, such as Times New Roman or Courier. Lowering the size of fonts and increasing the margins of documents also decreases paper consumption.
2. Switch to Cloud Services
All of the services you can move to the cloud eliminates the need for servers and hardware, as well as the power it takes to operate and cool that hardware. For instance, switching to a cloud-based IT help desk eliminates the need for servers, software, power, phone lines, and even employees, saving the IT department a ton.
3. Adjust the Settings on Computers and Hardware
Most modern IT equipment offers power-saving features like screen dimming, auto shutoff, and efficient power mode. Have your team adjust computers and other equipment to the most efficient settings. This will cut your power bill and cooling bill as well as make the office operations greener.
4. Consider Replacing Old Equipment
New equipment manufactured in the past couple of years is considerably more efficient than equipment that is a few years old. Replacing the old stuff might also give you access to later and more up-to-date power saving features, giving you a one-two punch of power savings and greenness.
5. Use Timers on Equipment and Lights
Consider installing inexpensive timers on equipment, lighting, coffee machines, and other electronics that aren’t needed around the clock. It’s easy for workers to forget to switch off printers, scanners, and even their computers, especially if they’re working late and are the last one to leave. Timers ensure that nothing is running when it isn’t necessary.
6. Rethink the Break Room
Replace the standard break room fare with healthier, more environmentally-friendly options. Look for certified organic coffee, fruits, and condiments instead of the regular stuff. This will make for a healthier world, but it will also help keep your employees healthy, which, over time, could actually drive down the rates you’re paying for employee health and life insurance.
7. Start a Recycling Program
You don’t have to begin a recycling program from scratch to benefit from it. Local schools and charities often already have an established program, and dedicating your office recyclables could help them get necessary credits for special funding. These programs often go to provide schools and charities with office supplies, gym equipment, and other things that benefit the organization. Team up with a local cause close to your organization so that you both get a benefit from the program — in addition to making the world a cleaner, safer, healthier place to live.
8. Furnish the Office Wisely
When it comes time to replace office furniture, desks, lighting, carpeting, etc., think green. For example, bamboo office furniture isn’t just eco-friendly, it’s also a beautiful option to expensive exotic woods. As light bulbs need replacing, switch to fluorescent or halogen, which aren’t just green alternatives, they also last longer and are cheaper to operate. Anytime you’re replacing things around the workplace, look for green alternatives to the traditional standards. Ask your cleaning crew to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products, as well.
A few small changes can make a difference, both in the health and operational costs of your workplace and the entire world.