Many businesses set goals about making their operations “greener” so that they’re more eco-friendly as time passes. However, that can seem like a massive, non-specific goal that companies may not know how to get started.
Fortunately, they can make positive impacts by turning to technology. Here are four ways technology is helping more and more companies go green.
1. Technology Cuts Energy Usage Costs Business leaders often try to make Earth-conscious changes that are noticeable but don’t cause discomfort or significant changes for employees. Fortunately, product manufacturers cater to that need by making progressively high-tech products with energy-saving advantages.
Recently, LG released the first variable output room air conditioner for the U.S. market. It continually adjusts its speed to match temperature preferences, resulting in minimal frustration.
Also, depending on the chosen model, it could bring about energy savings of up to 40 percent. That kind of window unit air conditioner could be ideal for cooling down a conference room, cafeteria or another highly trafficked area.
However, there are also complete climate control systems that link to sensors and smartphone apps. They keep rooms at pleasant temperatures and provide data-filled interfaces that tell administrators how their energy consumption changes over time.
Outside of heating and cooling, motion detectors near doorways sense when people come in the room and turn the lights off when they leave. Such technology eliminates the possibility that an employee might forget to darken the room when being the last one to go, potentially wasting electricity for hours.
2. Cloud Storage and Document Management Services Reduce Dependence on Paper
Statistics indicate offices in the United States use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper annually. Although businesses may not be able to do away with paper altogether, technology gives them other options aside from encouraging employees to jot down notes on pieces of paper or print out forms and documents.
Workers can use applications like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote to store notes in the cloud and never write them on paper at all. Then, when it’s time to refer to documents or even collaborate with others to work on them, Google Drive and accompanying products like Google Docs and Google Sheets are excellent for those purposes.
Even better, cloud storage options let people access their data from anywhere in the world, whether they’re on mobile devices or computers.
To meet a growing market need, many document management services let people legally sign documents electronically, too. Human resources professionals can send hiring and tax documents to people who recently joined the company, then direct them to cloud-based sites to sign the forms without printing them out. After they do so, the services typically send signed copies to both parties, ensuring these documents reside in their inboxes. If a hiring manager gets into the habit of using electronic services whenever possible, they also don’t need to reserve so much space in their office for bulky file cabinets.
3. Online Auction Sites Encourage Businesses to Recycle
Businesses frequently go through a variety of design revamps for a variety of reasons. They might decide that the furniture they have doesn’t fit the desired impression they want to give customers or choose to implement an open office plan that requires a furniture reduction.
In either case, online auction sites let corporate leaders display what they have to sell and wait for the bids to begin. Because auctions have set ending times, they allow for sellers to plan how and when to get rid of the items they want to recycle through auctioning. They might also set bidding minimums to ensure certain expensive pieces don’t only receive bids that are too low.
Advantages exist for buyers, too. For example, they can look at the listings and only bid on items that are within their price ranges. Plus, the goods up for auction are often competitively priced and in excellent condition.
Because there are professional companies that handle every aspect of placing items up for auction, busy company representatives don’t have to worry about taking excessive time out of their schedule to deal with the logistics. Moreover, sellers receive notifications about when they’ll receive payment, which gives peace of mind to companies that expect their recycled products to boost their cash flows.
Before online auction sites, many companies just took their unwanted furniture to landfills and dumpsters. Now, they can recycle them.
4. Telecommuting Tech Is Good for the Planet
To continually attract and retain workers, companies often improve their benefits packages, so they go far beyond casual Fridays and comprehensive health insurance packages. If company leaders want to appeal to employees while saving the planet, they should consider investing in technology that lets people get work done at home as seamlessly as they would while sitting at their office desks.
Telecommuting helps the environment through gallons of gas saved, reduced kilowatt-hours of electricity used and resulted in less air pollution in communities among other advantages.
Companies that are serious about offering that work option for employees — at least on some days of the week — should investigate what kind of technology they need to allow workers to securely and remotely access their networks, communicate with team members and, if applicable, receive external calls from customers and colleagues at off-site locations.
Numerous studies suggest remote work boosts productivity. However, the research on that subject is still limited, and some of the findings are self-reported from employees, meaning they may not be accurate. It’s also not always clear what constitutes productivity, and the definition isn’t constant among all workplaces.
Still, if employers want to give employees the option on some days of the week, that decision could help the planet. Plus, the technology exists to make working at home possible for employees and economical for the workplaces offering it.
Technology Promotes Eco-Friendliness
Regardless of a company’s level of involvement in planet-saving practices, technology offers tools, products and, resources that can help businesses become even more committed to the Earth’s future.