Going Green Around the Office

by Shenron on December 27, 2009

The typical office conditions often seem like hell traps designed for our misery and torture as we endure our eight or nine hours of servitude. But, in recent trends throughout industries, government and private, many offices are now opting for a “greener” approach to the way they operate which in turn creates for a more sustainable work environment that results in fewer sick days and increased productivity.

Most offices consist of cubicles from wall to wall, with employees practically breathing down each other’s necks because of the cramped space they occupy. It doesn’t take a genius to look at a situation like that and see that if people are spending most of their time in such close quarters, the likelihood of infections and health problems are going to rise significantly. A recent trend has been shaping up that is letting employees go home early. “Go home early?,” you say. Yes, that’s right. Companies are trying out new programs that cut work weeks down to just six or seven hours a day, thereby cutting out “the fat.” Let’s be honest here. Most people don’t spend their entire eight hours a day working themselves to death. Most of us take breaks here and there to go and visit with our coworkers. By getting rid of that useless hour, employees are able to get more rest at home and feel more motivated at work.

Shorter work days aren’t the only trend. A new strategy in which work weeks, like those in Europe, are cut back to four, ten hour days, as opposed to five, eight hour days. All of these shortened work week plans are in an effort to reduce the amount of time employees are in the buildings. The less time that is spent in the office, the more money that can be saved on electricity powering all of the computers and lights. And, with less time in the office comes higher morale, resulting in more productivity. The whole thing seems counter intuitive, that is, making employees work less to do more. And if the recent study published by the University of San Diego is any indication of success, making employees work less results in better health for them as well as greatly reduced energy costs. In a time where money is tight, saving money in any sector is important. Companies have always struggled with energy waste in the past, but if they all start following the trend of shorter work weeks and greener offices, they could save a lot of money in the long run.

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