6 Eco-friendly Decorating Ideas to Modernize Your Work Space
A clean, organized office can not only change the way people see you, it can also help the environment. These tips will cut your stress, reduce your ecological footprint, and make your office a better place to work.
1. Use a laptop, not a desktop
Size and battery constraints have forced designers to make laptops much leaner and more efficient than traditional desktop computers. A desktop uses eight times the power of an equivalent laptop, and consumes more power when it’s idle than a laptop does when working at full capacity. A laptop saves space and makes your office easier to clean—we’ve all seen dinosaur desktops caked with dust because they never move—which means they’re probably guzzling power all night as well as during the workday. Laptops are easier to disconnect when they’re not in use.
2. Natural potpourri
Chemical air freshener sprays and plug-ins can be as bad for you as they are for the environment. They’re expensive, they can give your co-workers headaches, and you really don’t want to give your office that pungent, odor-drowning, bathroom-air-freshener smell. To keep your office smelling nice, use cinnamon sticks, citrus fruit peels, homemade potpourri, or organic candles with mellow scents. They’re cheaper, better for you, and classier all-around. Migraine-prone colleagues will thank you.
3. Use a flat-screen LCD monitor
An old CRT monitor is the easiest way to make your office look dull and dated. They crowd your desk space, draw grime with static electricity, and can even cause eyestrain because of the flickering display. Go for a sleek LCD screen—they’re lighter, easier to adjust and clean, and they give your office a much tidier, open feel. Most importantly, they use less than half the energy of a big tube monitor. If you can handle it, also consider switching to a smaller display—it will be easier on your eyes, and a 14-inch display can use up to 50% more power than a 10-inch one.
4. Avoid vampire drain and tangled cords with a single power strip
A hallmark of older computers is the rat’s nest of wires that used to come out the back. Modern machines have only a few, but you can still end up with a tangled sprawl of cables across your desk or underfoot if you’re not careful. They’re unsightly, untidy, and every one of them drains power when it’s plugged in. Organize your cables in a single, organized path to one power strip. That way, when youíre ready to clock out, you can simply shut down the machines and unplug the strip.
5. Go paperless wherever possible
One of the easiest ways to look like you’re on top of things is to avoid a cluttered desk. You can have a labyrinth of folders and sub-folders on your laptop, but keep stray papers off your desk. Communicate by email instead of inter-office memo. Make notes on your word-processor instead of a post-it. Encouraging co-workers to use a file-sharing system like Dropbox can make your operation more responsive and efficient as well as saving paper. When you have to use paper, never throw it in the garbage; get a recycle bin.
6. Buy eco-friendly furnishings
This one will depend a great deal on your taste. If you like a retro look, consider shopping for your office furnishings at a secondhand store (this falls under the “reuse” category of the hallowed “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra). It’s expensive and wasteful to manufacture something new when the furnishings you need are already waiting for you at the thrift store.
If you want a more modern look, there are plenty of eco-friendly options: instead of plastic, buy a glass whiteboard; instead of exotic woods that require rainforest destruction, opt for a desk made of a more common hardwood. Purchase from suppliers who certify their eco-friendly content, and pay attention to the labels.
About The Author
Angela is a staff writer, loving wife, and mother of beautiful twin girls and a standard poodle named Morty. She graduated with her Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of North Carolina. During her time in university, she wrote a number of children’s short stories that focus on a set of curious twin sisters and their dog (go figure).
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