Green initiatives are being taught across schools worldwide from a young age; yet, many do not recycle or take effective eco-friendly measures. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings accounted for 40% of global emissions in 2016, as cited by the World Economic Forum.
What if all companies dedicated their offices to becoming greener and more sustainable? Would that encourage their employees to take these green practices back to their homes, thus creating an eco-friendly revolution?
From going paperless to automatic light systems, there are several ways in which technology is renovating the traditional office and helping us work more sustainably.
Reducing your carbon footprint as a company reflects your company’s culture and social responsibility, which can be rewarding for employees, the community, and your company’s reputation. Here is how technology can help you build a smart office.
Embrace smart lighting and temperature systems
Switch to green lights. Replacing the company light bulbs into energy-efficient bulbs helps decrease the electricity bill and reduce energy consumption significantly if applied to a large scale across a company’s offices.
Automate. Investing in smart lights and temperature systems can be proven beneficial, as lights can be switched off easily and automatically when not in use or at certain periods of the day, when employees leave the office. As for those who are staying for a long night, they won’t need to worry as sensors would be able to tell that they are there, so the lights would not switch off.
Petal design ceiling panels. Some have already begun incorporating petal design ceilings in their buildings and offices, which are aluminum “petals” that are energy efficient and enhance heating, cooling and lighting functions, significantly decreasing the amount of energy used compared to traditional office lighting systems.
Government initiatives to go paperless have been spreading across the world and in the UAE.
Share a drive. In the office, employees can share files on a shared drive and edit the files simultaneously while ‘chatting’ with coworkers. Files are automatically saved so there is no worry for loss, and they can be shared with specific people for viewing or editing.
Store online. File transferring systems are safe and keep records confidential. Companies can invest in a system to share and store large files, keeping the office paperless and all documents organized across all parties working on the same project.
Scan through apps. Many companies still rely on scanning and faxing, despite the presence of emails and online solutions. Instead of scanning physical copies through a scanner, employees can download an app that scans documents through a mobile camera. Many are available on the play store and iOS store.
Cut down with sensors
Maintain early. Installing sensors in machines can help the IT department detect the health of equipment and whether they will need any maintenance before it’s too late to fix the product. Sensors can detect any fault prior and be alerted on the need for maintenance, which assists the company in saving costs and significantly reduces the need to buy new equipment.
Avoid the common pitfalls
According to Deloitte, there are common pitfalls when making the switch to going smart, which include:
- Spending money on solutions before setting a clear strategy
- Not assessing savings
- Postponing or not creating an encompassing cyber-physical security system
- Focusing only on energy conservation instead of space conservation
- Being too rigid in design that it fails to be flexible for future tech innovations
All in all, switching to a sustainable office can be a little challenging at first, so it is always recommended to ease into it slowly by increasing awareness at first amongst employees. Reducing the carbon footprint per company can create significant impact, and with these tips, it is possible!
 World Economic Forum, The innovations making our cities smarter and greener, 06 April 2016
 Deloitte Insights, Smart buildings, Four considerations for creating people-centered smart, digital workplaces, 13 December 2018