September 2019

Month Archives
Workplace

Green office ideas: How to make your workplace more eco-friendly

The typical office isn’t always the most eco-friendly of environments. Fluctuating temperatures as people fight over the thermostat, computers being left on standby all night, and blazing fluorescent lights between the hours of 8am and 5pm. But it doesn’t have to be that way; there are plenty of changes you can make to bring a touch of green to your desk.

So if you’re an eco warrior at heart, here are a few ways you can set your sights on making a difference in your workplace.

Super quick tips that you can implement today

  • Place recycling containers throughout the office – When you’re working all day it’s easy to get complacent. By having recycling containers placed at strategic locations – a paper box near the printer and a plastic and cans box in the kitchen – you’ll help make it easier to recycle. Also make sure you make an effort to recycle your used batteries as these shouldn’t be thrown in the standard waste bin
  • BYOM (bring your own mug) – Rather than getting takeout coffees and teas, which can’t be recycled and have to be sent to landfill, encourage your staff to use real mugs, glasses, cutlery and dishes
  • Bring plants into your office – Not only do they look great and help to brighten up the place, plants are responsible for the oxygen we breathe; incredibly useful!
  • Green cleaning – Whether you clean your office yourself or employ a company, make sure you use green cleaning products that aren’t doing any damage to the environment
  • Go paperless – Wherever possible, communicate electronically. Only print documents if you absolutely have to
  • Use tech where you can – If you have client meetings, use projectors and laptops to show your work rather than printing off agendas and presentations. Your clients will appreciate this as they won’t have to carry bundles of paper back too
  • Switch off – This should go without saying but switching off your laptops, computers and lights at the end of the day can make a huge difference. It may not feel like much, but if everyone in the office does it, it all adds up

Tips for the long run

  1. Start a sustainability team

Chances are there’s more than one person in your office who’s passionate about green living, so harness that enthusiasm and give them a place to go wild. A team that is totally dedicated to sustainability in your office can both raise awareness and accomplish more. Some projects they could get started with include expanding your recycling program and helping to inform purchasing decisions. Weekly or monthly inspections can help make sure your efforts are continuing.

  1. Look at your suppliers

Whether you’re a business owner or work from home as a freelancer, it’s always a good time to look at who is supplying your power. Green sources of energy such as wind and solar energy are more accessible than ever before, and now it’s possible to switch to a supplier who guarantees their energy is coming from renewable sources. And don’t worry about price either; green plans are actually very competitively priced even compared to more traditional sources.

  1. Think about your lighting

The only light that isn’t going to have some kind of impact on the environment – and cost you nothing – is natural light. So wherever possible try and have large windows and natural light streaming in to illuminate your office.

If all natural isn’t possible, there are other options for you. Make sure all the bulbs in the office are LEDs. You could install smart power strips at each desk, and considering adding sensors and timers onto your main lights so they work automatically.

  1. Start cycling

Commuting to and from work isn’t the most sustainable of practices. And in reality a fair few of your employees will live close enough to get into the office by cycling, but more often than not it’s the cost of a bike that can put people off making the effort. Thankfully, as their employer, there are a few things you can do to help.

Start by signing up to Cyclescheme; a government-subsidised scheme that helps people buy their new bike tax-free. Another big help is to buy the bike for them and allow them to pay it off over time by taking small regular payments out of their monthly salary.

  1. Green machines

Did you know that computers and other related pieces of tech account for 3 – 4% of the world’s carbon emissions? What’s even more shocking is that’s more than the aviation industry which often gets a lot of negative attention. So if you’re looking to reduce your business’ carbon footprint, changing the computers you use can really make a world of difference.

Before you buy, make sure you head to Gooshing UK. It’s a website run by the Ethical Company Organisation and it shows you the ethical and environmental record of various computer manufacturers. The Greenpeace website will also be able to help you find out which manufacturers use the least amount of toxic chemicals during the hardware manufacturing process.

If you’re a large company, then chances are you’re going to be using a data centre which houses your servers. Unfortunately this is likely to be one of the worst environmental offenders due to the huge racks of machines that need to be powered and cooled simultaneously.

Now this isn’t something you’re going to be able to give up, but you can ask some questions to your data centre to find out whether they use some kind of eco cooling system or an energy efficient hardware. If they don’t, you could always shop around for a new place or suggest they make some changes.

Workplace

How to love Mondays

Let’s face it. Sometimes Mondays ask a little too much of us. Back to work anxiety on a Sunday evening is a feeling that we’re all familiar with, even if you love your job, and it’s totally normal. Counting down the hours on Sunday, wishing the weekend wasn’t over…

There must be a better way, and there is! With just a little bit of preparation and mental fortitude, you can break the ‘I hate Mondays’ cycle and give every day that Friday feeling. Let us help you love Mondays again.

It starts with the weekend

  1. Don’t work

Easier said than done? With the majority now having our work emails pinging directly to our phones, the temptation to be on the clock when you’re out of the office is greater than ever. Unless you absolutely have to, we’d recommend disconnecting your work account from Friday night to Monday morning. Or, if you just can’t stay away, allow yourself to check at set times of the day only – for example when the kids have gone to bed.

  1. Disconnect to reconnect

Time flies when you’re on your phone. It’s easy to get lost in the virtual world; sucked in by texts, emails, calls and social media. Even if we’re not endlessly scrolling, notifications can be pinging left, right and centre causing us to pick them up multiple times an hour. Disconnecting from your device is the best way to reconnect with those around you, so try setting your phone so that only urgent notifications are allowed to make a noise. That way if you’re interrupted, you’ll know it’s important.

And with all that free time you’ll have, use it to be with your loved ones as much as possible. During the week, our time is taken up by work, the school run, cooking and errands, so why not set aside weekend time to be with those who really matter?

  1. Prep for Monday

No doubt one of the things that makes Mondays seem more painful is how much we have to do. Do your future-self a favour and do as much as possible the night before. Avoid the temptation to head out for lunch and spending more than you need to by preparing a healthy meal the night before – it also gives you something to look forward to!

Choose your outfit the night before and hang it up outside your wardrobe. That way you only decision you need to make is which shower gel to use.

  1. Get the rest you need

Sometimes you just need some down time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Today’s “hustle” society makes us feel like we have to be on the go all the time; if we’re not being productive then it’s a waste of energy. And that’s just not true. Relaxing and looking after ourselves is just as important as being on the move.

Give yourself permission to switch off a little bit. It could be watching a film on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or going for a walk in the sunshine with your family. Forget about the demands of your job, and truly relax. You’ll feel better for it come Monday.

And there’s nothing wrong with an early night on a Sunday!

On the big day

  1. Start as you mean to go on

We’ve already talked about temptation, but this time in comes in the form of the glorious snooze button. While it may feel good to get that extra five minutes of rest, how much rest are you actually getting? Set your alarm to go off at a reasonable time that means you’ve gotten plenty of sleep overnight but also have enough time to get everything done in the morning. Maybe even put your alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to switch it off.

  1. Enjoy your commute

Whether you drive or take public transport, your commute to and from work is valuable time that you won’t get back. So instead of getting angry at the traffic or shouting in your head at the leaves on the track, why not use your time productively? Call your parents – you know it’s been a while – or listen to an audiobook or podcast. Plug in your headphones on the bus or set it up in your car before you start driving, and actually enjoy your commute rather than hating it. It’ll help you arrive at the office in a better mood too.

  1. Prioritise your day

After a couple of days off, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you sit down at your desk on Mondays and look at your email inbox or to do list. Instead of feeling anxious or panicking, take a deep breath and prioritise what absolutely has to get done – what’s your biggest and most important task of the day? Instead of avoiding it, rip the plaster off and get it over and done with. Work through your list one at a time and get through what you can in the hours that you have.

Of course, it’s only standard that you should have a mug of your favourite tea or coffee cradled in your hands as you write your to do list. Trust us, it’ll help.

Workplace

How to settle in at a new job

There’s no rush quite like that of accepting a new job. The prospects and possibilities laid at your feet can be exciting and exhilarating. But it’s not uncommon for the thrill to wear off a little, and once it does, it’s entirely natural to be left feeling a little bit nervous and anxious about the prospect of settling in somewhere new. 

But don’t worry! We can help guide you through this rollercoaster of emotions that come hand-in-hand with starting at a different company. This is an inspiring time in your life, so embrace it and you’ll be making a name for yourself in no time. To that end, here are our seven top tips on how to settle in at a new job and ace your new role. 

1. Stay positive

It may sound like a tip you read after cracking open a fortune cookie, but we believe that cookie speaks words of wisdom in this situation. There’ll be a lot of info headed your way on your first few days and weeks, including a lot of new names and faces, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But remember that this is a good change in your life, so keep your chin up and it’ll help with every challenge you face!

2. Be yourself

Sound like you’ve opened a second fortune cookie? Maybe, but when you enter a new environment it’s incredibly tempting to try and act like someone you’re not in order to fit in with those around you. While it’s important to stay professional, try not to change who you are too much. After all, the company hired you to be you and because they thought you’d fit in with their culture. Being yourself makes it easier to build real and lasting relationships with your co-workers.

3. Be punctual

This one is extra important. One thing employers look for and value very highly is punctuality. It’s alright being on time for your interview, but you need to keep it up in the long run too. Of course, there are exceptions such as personal emergencies and unforeseen traffic accidents – make sure you call ahead to let them know – but why not do some test drives and figure out alternative routes just in case disaster strikes?

4. Build a rapport with colleagues and your boss

When you’re in a brand new environment surrounded by brand new people, it’s easy to retreat into your shell and become a bit introverted. But it’s important that you do the opposite, put yourself out there and network with your new colleagues as much as possible. Try going up to people and introducing yourself rather than waiting for them to open up the conversation. Ask them what their role is, what they do on a day-to-day basis and see where things go from there.

With your boss, you need to remember that good relationships and strong rapport doesn’t happen overnight. Your new manager may do things slightly different to what you’re used to. No two managers are the same and it’s going to take some time for you to get used to one another. 

Start by extending an invitation for coffee or lunch to ensure that you’re both on the same page and understand what is expected of you. Don’t be afraid to take charge and make suggestions on your work goals or objectives; they’ll be more impressed than anything!

5. Offer to help

Of course you’ll have your own workload to contend with, and you’ll want to focus on impressing those around you by nailing your daily tasks, but it never hurts to offer to do something outside of your own remit. Lending a helping hand to colleagues in your own and other departments is a fantastic way to brush up on old and new skills, get involved with different projects and, most importantly, it shows everyone around you that you are a team player.

6. Take notes

You know that brand new notepad you bought especially for your new job? Don’t be shy, we know you splurged. Well put it to good use from your very first day and take it with you everywhere you go. You’ll be bombarded with information and it’s understandable that you might forget a thing or two so don’t be afraid to jot things down. Everything from tidbits about the company’s history to names and job titles, it’ll all come in handy later down the line. 

7. Immerse yourself in culture

We don’t mean heading out to a museum, but rather take the time to immerse yourself in the company’s culture. This has become more important than ever in the modern workplace, and it’s important that you and the culture get along well. Use the first few days and weeks of your job to absorb everything about the company and your new environment. Look at the company’s website, check out their Glassdoor profile and social media, and speak to those who have been there longer to find out more. 

But remember, it’s ok for you to experience a bit of a culture shock. Everything will be different to you from the role and tasks, to your boss and the people around you. As we said earlier, you were hired because they thought you were a good fit, and that includes culture-wise. So stay positive, embrace the new challenges that face you and, most importantly, be patient. Settling in takes time!