Ditch the yuppie office: it’s time to go green

Your workplace is sleeker than a yuppie’s New York condo, all plain white walls, angular aluminium tables and desktop computers that look like they were shipped in from an episode of Battlestar Galactica.

Buttressed by steel girders and floored with wooden panelling, this is the kind of sumptuous workplace that office employees dream of. But while it might look stylish, it’s about as eco-friendly as a Victorian chimneystack.

Those space-age desktops? They’re sending your electricity meter into overload. Those snazzy tables? They’re the product of a factory that’s sending mountains of smoke into the atmosphere. And those plain white walls? They’re about as well-insulated as a poorly-pitched tent in a windstorm.

From wasteful to waste-less

Back in the days when yuppies actually did rule the business world – when a mobile phone was heavy enough to give you a hernia and the Filofax was cutting-edge technology – a wasteful office was barely an issue. If anything, it was a sign of decadence, the Thatcherite dream of the free market in action. If you were wasteful, it was because you had money to burn.

Yet we’re in changed days. This is a time when a sustainable office isn’t frowned upon like a hippy commune in the 60s. Turning your office green could even have a positive impact on your pr.

Numerous high-profile businesses have salvaged their reputations as wasteful by making a concerted effort to implement eco-policies across the board. Brands as diverse as B&Q, Asda and Adobe have reduced their carbon emissions, improving their reputation and increasing their profits.

Profit plays a large in businesses’ reticence to engage in green issues. Environmental activist and writer Naomi Klein has claimed, in her book The Shock Doctrine, that the environment will remain under threat unless capitalism is controlled.

An office upgrade

All this brings us back to your slick, yuppie-dream of an office. Your gut reaction will be to maintain its current state for fear of the impact it’ll have on your bank balance. But a green workplace will have a qualitative impact on the productivity of your staff, increasing your profits and offsetting the cost of your overhaul.

And, for the most part, an eco-office makeover doesn’t have to drain your finances. Office plants, a low-cost investment when you purchase them from the right supplier, can help oxygenate your workplace, reducing your carbon emissions in a heartbeat. Similarly, energy saving lightbulbs can be purchased for a song. Some local councils will even provide them to businesses for free, so check with them before you make your purchase.

Other renovations can be costly, but an overhaul like wall insulation can also help you receive a grant from more ecologically-inclined councils.

Ultimately, the green office is the future and, despite the initial cost, will future-proof you for many years to come.