From years of customer feedback and first-hand experience we realized that many people are misguided in their switch to a standing desk. People will stand all day long for the first week and then give up because of the strain on their body. Or people are unhappy because they did not lose the weight that they thought they were going to lose via postural rotation. So, we put together a list of things to know and helpful tips that we include on a pamphlet with all of our desks. However there are many standing desk users or potential users that do not use our desks so I thought I would share our list of things to know and helpful tips for those of you who have not seen it:
Things to Know
“It’s not the furniture that makes the difference, it’s the behavior. The desk without the behavior doesn’t help you.” – James Levine, MD, PhD of the Mayo Clinic
The holiday season is in full swing again--which means it’s time for the blogosphere to come out in full force with an obligatory barrage of advice on how to keep those Santa pounds off this month! Standee Co. is jumping into the fray with our own list of helpful hints to keep you feeling slim and healthy during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Standing while working can have great impact on heart health, posture, and even help you shed some pounds-- and we’ve got a perfect last minute gift for that special someone in your life who needs a pick me up at work: a standing desk! But aside from standing desks here are 4 other helpful tips to stay healthy this holiday season.
1. Avoid the Sales guy’s box of See’s
Conventional wisdom pegs Halloween as the candy holiday, but in a close second place comes the month of December. It seems that practically everywhere you look during this month you can find a metallic foil-wrapped treat. Whether it’s mini peanut butter cups, kisses, chocolate mints or golden wrapped coins-- the opportunities to spoil your appetite and overdose on sugar are endless. There’s nothing wrong with a self-love and indulgence during this season, but the key is to not overdue it. Try to find moderate limits on your own consumption. Best place to start? With the holiday office candy from Steve, the random sales guy who drops in once every year in December with a box of chocolates to remind you that he’s still alive and waiting patiently for a call. Steve’s box of chocolates are less about you and more about him anyways. He doesn’t care in the slightest what you do with that box, he just hopes you think of him when you’re downing your fourth chocolate of the morning. So do Steve a favor and avoid those chocolates, just like you avoided him all year.
2. Opt to Shop in Person-- Not Online
I know what you’re thinking: what terrible advice! “Why would I choose to brave the wintry weather and unrelenting crowds, the timesuck traffic and self-absorbed shoppers to complete my gift shopping? I have an Amazon account, and a credit card, and a cozy spot right next to the fireplace--I have everything I need!” Sure, that’s one way to look at it. But there are hidden benefits in braving the brick and mortar shops in place of the online market. Did you know that if you shop for three hours walking at an average pace of 3.5 miles per hour you can burn up to 750 calories? Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park further from the door and you can be a calorie burning machine. Shopping out is a perfect excuse to work off all those chocolates Steve left for you if you had trouble avoiding them.
3. Use Smaller Plates at Dinner
The Holiday Season is a time for decadence and elegance. It’s a time to bust out the fancy china collecting dust all year and dish up some family favorites that pack a caloric punch. The best way to keep active while indulging yourself at the dinner table is to opt for a smaller plate. Instead of using the big dinner plate in the china set, grab the smaller salad plate. At the very least this will require you to get up and move between helpings. Moving while eating will help you determine just how full you are and if you really need that second-- or third!-- serving. And maybe, just maybe, the smaller plate will help you control your portions below button bursting levels.
4. Start Working Out Now
In a few short weeks, the throngs of overstuffed, ephemeral denizens of the fitness center will be back to make good on a half-hearted commitment to shedding their holiday regret. Don’t be one of them! Take advantage of the thin attendance at the gym, now. Be proactive about maintaining a routine now during the holiday hustle so you will have a leg up on all the sorry treadmill trotters come January 1st. And if you can’t find time to make it to the gym, find an at home workout program that doesn’t require weights, machines, or a whole lot of time for you to break a sweat and stay active. For the last three weeks, we’ve been competing against each other in the Freeletics Strength and Cardio Program, every day at lunch. While we definitely still have our pooches, our energy levels have shot up and our strength and agility have greatly improved in just a short amount of time.
Varidesk is one of the most well-known standing desk companies. Their mass marketing and huge advertising budget has enabled them to get their product in front of millions of eyes. Their most popular model, Varidesk Pro Plus 36, is an add-on height adjustable desk that is 36” wide. We recently came out with the Standee Boost, a comparable model to the Varidesk, however here are 3 reasons why our desk is better:
The Varidesk does not have much of a true work surface at all. If you view the Varidesk from an aerial angle, then you see that it consists of two parts: a monitor riser and a large keyboard tray. If you were going to open up and read through a sales binder where would you put it? How about if you wanted to take notes, where would you do so?
Instead of solely having a monitor riser in addition to a keyboard tray, the Standee Boost has a 35” x 23.5” desktop that doubles as a work surface and a monitor riser. It actually provides a place for you to put your laptop, note pad, papers, etc. giving you all the space you need to be productive at your workstation.
To adjust the height on the Varidesk, you must lean forward and then pull back in order to get the desk up. It moves horizontally and vertically simultaneously. This poses a much greater risk of injury due to the strain on your back from the pull back motion. Along with the injury risk, the top height of the Varidesk Pro Plus 36 is only 17 1/2".
The Boost has no diagonal movement. Its height adjusts only vertically on a gas-spring scissor lift. Therefore the only motion is the individual guiding the desk up with his or her arms instead of leaning over and pulling the desk up, using their back along with their arms. Also, the max height of the Standee Boost is 20".
The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 retails at $395. The Standee Boost retails at $349.95 for Black MDF and $389.95 for Amber or Natural Bamboo. Boom. Boosting the number of green bills in your wallet as well as your productivity is our MO. Why pay more for a desk that does not leave you any work space and could lead to injury?! Check out the Standee Boost today!
In November, we launched the Standee Boost. Our height adjustable desktop standing desk allows for a smooth transition between sitting and standing throughout the workday and can be seamlessly integrated into an existing workspace. Nicholai Hansen of Long Beach was one of the first customers to preorder the Boost. We interviewed him a month later to get his feedback on his new height-adjustable desk and his transition to standing while working.
Where do you work?
I work at Manson Construction Co. We are a general contractor that specializes in marine construction. We build bridges, wharves, and docks. I work as a field engineer. However, most of my time is spent working in the office. I provide technical assistance for our project managers, and coordinate suppliers, subcontractors and crews for whichever contract I am currently working on. So my job title is a bit of an oxymoron; I spend the majority of my time working behind a desk not out in the field.
I’ve been with Manson Construction for several months now, but my previous job was more veritable; I spent very little time at a desk. So moving into an office setting has been an adjustment.
What motivated you to make the switch to a height-adjustable desk?
I moved to a standing desk because my back was beginning to ache from slouching in a chair all day in the office. My back actually doesn’t ache anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not slouching, or because I’m able to stand up, but regardless it is helping.
I’m also aware of the data out there today that equates sitting all day with smoking. When I came back to work in an office setting I knew that I didn’t want to succumb to a completely sedentary work life. I spend the overwhelming majority of my days working at a desk now and so I want to make sure that my way of making a living isn’t also slowly destroying my livelihood.
Do others in your office also have height-adjustable desks?
Currently no one else uses standing desks in my office. But since I’ve switched, a few of my co-workers are looking to transition as well. It’s funny because the Standee Boost has actually made my workday more sociable. Since receiving the desk a month ago, I have met several people I didn’t even know yet just because they wanted to check out my new workstation.
What has been the hardest part about making the switch to a standing desk?
I haven’t found a downside to the desk yet. I would say that standing all day would be difficult for me. The Standee anti-fatigue mat is super helpful in keeping me standing at my desk, but I think I’m still not cut out to be an all-day stander. The great thing about the Boost is how easy it is to move from standing to sitting in one quick, fluid motion. The height-adjustable nature of the desk is really key for me.
Before you head to the coffee shop on the corner and plunk down 4 bucks for an overpriced latte, try these five tricks to burn off that afternoon fog and kick yourself into high gear for the last couple hours of the workday.
1) SMELL YOUR BEANS
You ever think that coffee has given you a burst of energy before you’ve even taken your first sip? You aren’t kidding yourself. The smell of coffee alone is enough to give people the jolt they need to get back into focus. Simply take a small bag of whole coffee beans or fresh grounds and take a whiff to perk up without even pouring a cup.
2) CHEW YOUR ICE
Chomping on frozen water isn’t just for the sexually frustrated. If you find yourself dozing off at your desk a mouthful of ice can give you the jolt you need because your brain isn’t used to such chilling temperatures and is forced to work harder. In fact, chewing anything—even your pen cap—tricks your brain into thinking that you’re about to ingest something, causing your body to release insulin, which stimulates your function and awareness.
3) GET OUT AND MOVE
Nothing stimulates your body and mind better than some good ole fashion exercise. Just as you feel those mid afternoon yawns creeping on step away from your desk, head outside and take a ten-minute walk. The sunshine and fresh air combined with increased blood flow to your entire body will help invigorate you to charge through the rest of your day. Research actually suggests that periodically taking short breaks will help increase your productivity, so don’t fret about reneging on your responsibilities. Stepping away from your desk, and stretching your legs will actually help you in producing quality, timely work.
4) TURN UP THE VOLUME
Listening to music not only helps you relax, it can give you the added energy boost you desperately need when your eyelids begin to droop. When you listen to your favorite tunes you are more likely to be grooving along to it. Even the slightest movement keeps your body stimulated and your brain engaged.
5) TAKE A STAND
Long hours sitting behind a desk and completing repetitive tasks can be monotonous and surprisingly tiring. If you can’t escape your desk for a mid afternoon stroll, mix up your routine by standing for an hour or two in the afternoon. Standing while working can boost your productivity and cognitive function; some studies have suggested that productivity increases upwards of 50 percent for people who use standing workstations. Consider investing in an electronic height-adjustable desk like the Standee Flex to fend off those afternoon blues.
In our last blog we discussed the importance of a good anti fatigue mat as a key to having a great standing experience. We discussed how an anti-fatigue mat can improve your standing compliance, enable you to stand comfortably for longer periods of time so that you can realize the benefits of standing, and how it can reduce stress on your musculoskeletal system, thereby extending the life of your joints, ligaments, back and soft tissue. Today, we’ll offer some pointers on what to look for in an anti fatigue mat and how to choose a mat that is right for you.
Choosing a high quality mat is really important to ensure that you will have a good standing experience. As with most other products, there is a wide range of quality and price points from which to choose. Our suggestions are based on our personal experience as committed standers for more than 5 years. We use standing desks and stand for 10-12 hours a day so we’ve logged a lot of standing hours and therefore have developed some strong opinions on what to look for in a standing mat. We have also purchased and tested many brands of mats so we believe we have a broad perspective of the choices that are available in the market.
A lot of mats are purchased online which makes it particularly difficult to ensure you are picking the right mat. Most mats look pretty similar online. Most are black and rectangular in shape. The descriptions often have a lot of common language so many people make a decision based on the picture, the price and customer reviews. Some of that information can be helpful, but remember that reviews can often come from people who received free product in exchange for a positive review.
So let’s look at some of the key factors to consider in selecting the right mat for you:
This is a blog about the importance of an anti fatigue mat in ensuring a great standing experience. With all the media attention on the dangers of sitting and the benefits of standing, there should be no question in your mind about how standing can help you live a longer, healthier life while being more productive at work. Many people who have examined the data are so convinced that they take the plunge and buy a standing desk with great expectations and determination to change their ways by adopting a standing lifestyle at work.
In recent years Ergonomists have urged people to get sit-stand desks so they can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Their rationale for this recommendation is that the most important thing is movement so changing back and forth between sitting and standing at least helps people to get moving. However, the real reason behind this recommendation probably has more to do with compliance than movement. That is, they know that the majority of people won’t be able to stand for the entire day, so they set the bar lower by recommending a mix of sitting and standing. It’s a little bit like the government coming out with dietary recommendations that are not designed for optimal health because they don’t believe the majority of Americans can adhere to the stricter guidelines that they should be recommending. The truth is that we have occasion to sit during so many other times during the day that even if you stood all day during work, it’s likely that you may still find yourself sitting for the majority of your day.
Sadly, the vast majority of people who invest in getting a sit-stand desk end up leaving the desk in the seated position after the first few weeks of experimentation. Why is this? There are likely to be a number of explanations, but one reason might be that people underestimate the difficulty of the transition from sitting to standing. As a society we are so used to sitting. We sit in school for many years, sit during meals, sit in our cars, and sit while we watch T.V. With our bodies so used to sitting, it’s no wonder that many people find the transition to standing more difficult than they originally anticipated.
“…the vast majority of people who invest in getting a sit-stand desk end up leaving the desk in the seated position…”
Most people who try standing but give up are the ones who go cold turkey from sitting to standing. It’s a little bit like deciding to run a marathon with no training. You need to allow your body some time to get use to standing so it is best to start out with short periods of standing and gradually over a period of weeks lengthen the time during the day that you find you can stand comfortably. If you have back issues or other physical limitations, you might want to make the transition very gradually. The most important thing is to listen to your body, but it may help to keep a standing log and set goals. The main point here is that standing is both a behavioral and a physical change so being smart about the transition is something that requires a conscious effort.
In addition to being intentional about the transition from sitting to standing, it’s absolutely essential in our opinion to invest in a good anti fatigue mat, also known as a “standing mat.” Our strong hypothesis is that the majority of people who intend to stand but revert to sitting never bothered to get an anti-fatigue mat or at least a good anti-fatigue mat. Standing for any period of time without a good anti-fatigue mat is like walking a mile with no shoes on. Sure, you can do it, but the experience is not very pleasant and after a few times you’ll end up concluding that it’s not worth it.
“Standing for any period of time without a good anti-fatigue mat is like walking a mile with just one shoe on. Sure, you can do it, but the experience is not very pleasant…”
Most office buildings are carpeted, but there’s generally no padding or very little padding under the carpet. It may not seem like a big deal when you are used to sitting, but when you are standing for the majority of the day without a mat you will begin to feel the cumulative impact of the lack of padding on your legs, joints and back. It’s similar to walking around a trade show at a convention center. They roll out carpeting on concrete floors, but there is no padding. You really don’t notice it for the first few hours, but by the afternoon you start really feeling it. If you are lucky enough to find a tradeshow booth with thick carpeting and padding underneath, it’s like heaven compared to the hard floor of the aisles.
Similarly, if you are a runner and you run on roads, your body can take the impact for a number of years. But after a while, and it might be decades, the cumulative impact of all the pounding takes a toll on your body, and that’s when you’ll do anything to find a nice trail to run on. Tennis players who have played on clay or grass courts after playing on hard courts know what we are talking about.
Obviously, when you are standing at a desk you don’t have the same pounding and impact on your joints as if you are in motion, but just your own body weight standing on a hard surface is enough to place your joints, ligaments, and muscles under stress. A good anti fatigue mat will absorb your body weight and take an enormous amount of pressure off your musculoskeletal system. So standing on a high quality mat will not only benefit your body over the long haul, but it makes it much more comfortable to stand for longer periods of time so your standing compliance will increase and you will be much more likely to stick with it. A good standing mat is literally like heaven, particularly if you are in bare feet or just have your shoes off.
“A good anti fatigue mat will absorb your body weight and take an enormous amount of pressure off your musculoskeletal system.”
But, don’t just listen to us. Try it. If you invest in a good quality anti-fatigue mat, you will feel the night and day difference we are talking about. Many ergonomists are remiss in not recommending that people get a standing mat. Some of them might not think it is necessary if people are alternating between sitting and standing since they are only standing for part of the day. Others are concerned that if your chair doesn’t easily roll over the mat, then the mat would need to be moved out of the way when people want to sit. That may require bending over for 2-3 seconds to move the mat. It’s impractical for most chairs to be able to roll over an anti-fatigue mat, and unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from bending over or puts you at risk, it is absurd to think it is too difficult or inconvenient to bend over to slide the mat out of the way a few times a day. So if you have a sit-stand desk or any kind of standing desk, perhaps the most important thing you can do is to get a good anti-fatigue mat. You won’t believe the difference it will make. In our next blog we’ll discuss what to look for in selecting an anti-fatigue mat.
I’ve been using a standing desk for nearly 5 years now. I love it and can’t ever imagine going back to being a sitter. I stand virtually all day, with a few breaks here and there for meetings and occasionally when I just feel like “cheating.” Based on my time as a stander, I have found a number of things to be helpful in creating a better standing experience.
1) A Good Anti-Fatigue Mat- This is my #1 tip for anyone who plans to do a lot of standing. Get a good anti-fatigue mat. There are lots of mats out there. I think the Standee Mat is the best mat on the market for the money. Most mats on the market are ¾” thick, but the Standee Mat is 7/8” in thick. It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but you would be surprised at the increase in comfort that the extra 1/8” makes, particularly when you consider the cumulative impact over the course of the day. For the last couple of years, I have been using the Standee MAT-XL which is 70” long. What I like about it is that it encourages movement since I can walk around when I am on the phone or talking to someone in my office. I feel like it gives me more freedom and feel less confined that when I use a smaller mat.
I’ve heard some people say that they don’t use an anti-fatigue mat because they alternate between sitting and standing all day, and they don’t want to have to bend over and move the mat out of the way. Even if you only plan to stand for half the day, I think you will find that an anti-fatigue mat can make an enormous difference in your standing experience. For people who are concerned about having to bend over and move the mat out of the way a few times a day, keep in mind that unless you have a medical condition, bending over is actually good for you, and it’s not a very big deal.
2) Get a Lacrosse Ball to Work the Bottom of Your Feet- I like to stand on my mat either in bare feet or in socks. I have a lacrosse ball that I use on my mat. Throughout the day I simply step on the ball and move it around, focusing on different parts of my foot. You don’t have to be an expert in foot reflexology to know that various parts of your foot are connected to different parts of your body. Rolling your foot over the lacrosse ball is relaxing and is helpful in releasing tight spots. Lacrosse balls are pretty hard so you can control the amount of pressure you place on the bottom of your foot, depending on how deep you want to go.
3) Use a Lacrosse Ball to Work Hip Flexors- I have particularly tight hip flexors so I like to use the same lacrosse to help loosen my hip flexors. I generally do this in two ways. I either place the ball between the edge of my desk and my hip flexor and then lean in with my weight and move the ball back and forth across the hip flexor tendon. I can do this when I am just reading emails of talking on the phone. This works if you are using a desktop standing desk like the Standee Classic or Standee Classic-XL. If you have a freestanding height-adjustable desk like the Standee Flex or another similar style desk, you can use the lacrosse ball against a wall, working the hip flexor tendon in the same manner.
4) Use a Lacrosse Ball on Upper Back and Shoulders- I also like to use the lacrosse ball on my upper back to relieve stress and get at any tight spots. Unless you want to get on the floor in your office, you need a wall to work your upper back with a lacrosse ball. It is similar to trigger point massage. You can apply pressure with your weight by leaning into the wall. You can keep the ball in one place once you have isolated a tight spot or move the ball back and forth with small movements to try to unstick the tight tissue.
5) Use a TheraCane on Tight Spots in Your Back, Neck and Shoulders- I learned about TheraCanes from my physical therapist when I was rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery. A TheraCane is a cane-shaped plastic device that is designed to allow you to apply pressure to various parts of your body to release tight spots. It can be used as a substitute for a lacrosse ball or in conjunction with it. I like to keep one by my desk so I can work the tight spots in my upper back while I am reading emails or doing a conference call via speaker phone. Sometimes I also use it on my hip flexors or other body parts depending on what feels tight.
6) Stretch Your Calves with a Standing Calf Stretch- Sometimes my calves get tight after standing for a while. One stretch is like is a standing calf stretch. I do this stretch by leaning against my desk and with my front leg bent and my back leg straight with my heel on the ground. I generally hold the stretch for just 15 seconds or so and then switch legs.
7) Use a Large Exercise Ball- I keep a large exercise ball in my office. Some people like to use them for sitting, but I like to use mine for stretching and changing up my standing position. You can make up your own positions, but the way I use it most frequently is by placing the ball to one side of me and resting one knee with a bent leg on top of the ball. This helps me stretch my quads and also keeps me active and allows me to change things up throughout the day.
If you are feeling adventuresome, you can use the exercise ball for a lot of other things throughout the day. I like rolling around on my stomach or back to keep loose.
8) Use Your Anti-Fatigue Mat to Stretch Your Quads- If there are any parts of my legs that get tight from standing, it’s my quads. Once or twice a day, I like to kneel on my cushy Standee Mat and then sit back on my heels. It’s very simple, but it gives my quads a great stretch.
9) Use a Squeeze Ball- I keep a squeeze ball on my desk. I haven’t found huge benefits in using a squeeze ball, but I like to use it periodically throughout the day just to relieve tension and stay relaxed. It probably helps to build grip strength as well. I wouldn’t call it an essential piece of equipment, but I like it as part of my overall bag of tricks that I keep in my office.
10) Sit On a Rolled Towel in Your Car- This is a trick I learned from my physical therapist. The idea is basically to raise your hips so your hips are tilted forward when you are sitting. I have tried a number of tilted seats and various cushion products. A lot of them can probably help, but I find that a rolled up towel gets the job done and is a cheap solution. Elevating your hips when you are sitting is a good thing to do anytime, but it is most convenient for me to do while driving, particularly if I have a long drive. It even helps just on my commute to work. If I get to work with loose hips, I have an easier time standing all day.
Have you heard the latest trend in office furniture? It’s the standing desk. Whether you work in a traditional office setting or work at home, it’s beneficial to have a work set-up that provides an alternative to sitting. Of course, it takes a little bit of discipline to get used to standing and working, but if you care about your health you should look into doing it on a regular basis. According to US News and World Reports, it's estimated that 86 percent of American workers sit all day long.
Many say that sitting all day is the new health hazard that may end your life sooner. Experts say that it might even be worse than smoking. It’s that serious. Maybe down the road traditional desks will be required to come with warning labels, just like cigarettes. So if you are unfamiliar with the standing desk phenomenon, stand up and take note of these 16 benefits of standing desks that you might not know.
Mental Health Benefits
A few tips:
Creating a more eco-friendly office might not immediately seem like a business-friendly choice, but former U.S. Representative Claudine Schneider feels the two are irrevocably linked: “A healthy ecology is the basis for a healthy economy.” Save the environment and save money at the same time – what could be better than that?
Switch to Bamboo Furniture
While hardwood is beautiful and certainly durable, cutting down trees to create furniture leads to widespread deforestation that affects everything from global greenhouse emissions to soil erosion and our water cycle. Bamboo, on the other hand, reaches maturity in just 3-5 years (hardwood takes ten times as long) and requires less chemical intervention and water along the way, making it the perfect choice for eco-friendly furniture.
Embrace Digital Communication
Approximately 75 percent of the world’s phones are now text-enabled, which makes it even more surprising that so many companies are still relying on old-school communications like paper memos and snail mail. Use texts to notify employees when meetings are scheduled, remind them about the upcoming blood drive, or craft a text-based marketing campaign that’ll reach current or potential customers where they are – on the phone.
Implement a Recycling Program
Establishing a recycling program reinforces your company’s commitment to eco-friendly policies. Not convinced? Consider this: every ton of paper recycled saves 17 mature trees – it really is that simple.
Upgrade the Lunchroom
At some point in time, probably spurred on by sanitation concerns, cafeterias everywhere switched from real cutlery to plastic facsimiles that are as inefficient as they are wasteful. Whether you have a giant lunchroom replete with a hot line and salad bar or a simple break room with mini fridge and microwave, you can cut waste simply by stocking sturdy stainless steel silverware that will be used thousands of times before seeing the inside of a waste bin.
Buy in Bulk
Speaking of the lunchroom… those little individually portioned ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise packets epitomize waste, and paper salt and pepper or sugar packets aren’t any better. Buy condiments and spices in bulk and refill washable pump or shaker containers. Not only will less plastic and foil hit the garbage can, you’ll likely conserve supplies, too – after all, it’s a lot harder to grab a squirt or two of mustard to take home than it is to snag a handful of packets.
Say No to Bottled Water
Despite recycling efforts, an estimated 85 million plastic water bottles are thrown away in the United States every day, all of which end up either in a landfill or an incinerator. Install a drinking fountain or contract with a water cooler and then encourage your employees to bring their own reusable water bottles or mugs.
Let Employees Telecommute
Allowing employees to work from home, even if it’s just a few days per month, greatly reduces the time your staff will spend on the road. In turn, that means less car-based emissions and less wear and tear on roads, shaving off costly and not so environmentally friendly repairs for a little bit longer.
Power Down the Office
Did you know that so long as appliances are plugged in, they continue to use energy even if they’re not actively being used? Institute a policy that requires employees to shut down their workstations at night, and make unplugging energy-gobbling gadgets such as copiers and fax machines a regular part of your staff’s end-of-day routine.
Install Motion Sensors
No matter how committed people are to turning off lights when they leave a room, flipping that on/off switch can be a hard habit to make stick. By installing motion-activated light switches, you’re taking the onus off employees and putting it on the automatic mechanisms that sense when a person enters a bathroom or back office and illuminate the room accordingly – no switch necessary!
Buy Second-hand Appliances
It can be hard to resist the allure of the latest, greatest multipurpose copy machine or accept an office chair covered in fabric that’s a little less than perfect, but buying used office furniture is an environmentally friendly choice that also saves money. Watch the newspaper and industry publications for office sales or buy off the store floor for stock samples that are dinged but definitely still usable.
Stock Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
There are a number of things you can do around the office that can positively impact your health, but the most important chance you can make may well be swapping out toxic cleaners for greener alternatives. To paraphrase one expert, you don’t need weapons of mass disinfection to keep your office clean. Studies have repeatedly disproven the supposedly magical powers of antibacterial soap and products containing chlorine bleach are unnecessarily harsh. Solutions containing hydrogen peroxide or vinegar will kill mold just as easily and without the nasty side effects should you accidently breathe them in or splatter a bit on your skin. DIY cleansers are easy to make with ingredients you likely already have at home, and the peace of mind that results will be well worth the elbow grease.
Noted anthropologist and activist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Choosing a text message over a paper memo might not overhaul how society approaches conservation overnight, but by doing your part you’re making waves that might affect things for years to come. What changes are you willing to make in order to be a better global citizen?