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Five Steps for Making the Office Cleaner and Healthier this Spring and After

by Marisa Briscoe McNatt (bio)

Published 5/11/12

 

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You’ve spruced up your yard and home this season, but how about the office? Green spring cleaning a workspace is about more than making sure the right office tools and documents are easily accessible.

The majority of Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors and many spend most of their working hours in an office environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.1

Freshening up the indoors, in addition to organizing, means increasing employees’ health, comfort, well being and productivity.

Below are tips for increasing organization and the environmental quality within the workspace.

Plan in advance.

Schedule a date for everyone in the office to pitch in with cleaning, systematizing and arranging. Make it casual and fun by providing coffee and breakfast, or lunch.

It may seem like disrupting an entire workday is too much to ask, but the effort will result in long-term benefits, such as speeding up workflow and decreasing fatigue.

Make sure you have all the provisions and information you need prior to the cleaning day, including green cleaning supplies and rags, trash bags made from post-consumer content, and large waste and recycling receptacles.

Choose eco-conscious cleaning supplies.

Environmentally Safe Cleaning Products
Using Green Cleaning Supplies...

...this spring to clean your office and help keep it green!

Using nontoxic cleaners provides multiple benefits for building occupants and the surrounding environment. Conventional cleaners — latent with chemicals and non-biodegradable substances — can cause eye, skin and respiratory irritations and increase the risk of other illnesses. When dumped in the trash or down the drain, harsh cleaning products pollute our natural and local surroundings.

Fortunately, earth friendly and biodegradable cleaning supplies are available on the market at competitive prices.

EcoGreenOffice supplies a variety of biodegradable and nontoxic cleaners, including all-purpose cleaners, carpet cleaners and liquid dish soaps. The green office supply company also offers the “Green Cleaning Starter Kit” that includes “Green Seal Certified” products and the “Mark 11 Disinfectant Cleaner” that's registered with U.S. EPA.

Freshen the office air.

The U.S. EPA estimates that poor indoor air quality may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.2

The good news is most indoor air problems can be prevented or corrected easily. For example, make sure furniture and other objects aren’t blocking air vents and grills. This could unbalance the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Regularly replace HVAC air filters. When contaminated with dirt, these filters can actually act as sources of pollutants. Purchasing a separate air purifier also helps to remove airborne particles, including mold, dust and pollen. EcoGreenOffice supplies air purifiers and replacement filters.

Placing plants around the office, and consistently using green office cleaning supplies, getting rid of dust that has collected in corners and disposing of waste promptly will also help to maintain high quality indoor air.

Donate and recycle no-longer used office supplies.

Research where items no longer being used — large and small alike — can be donated or recycled. This includes everything from furniture, to electronics, to staplers and notebooks.

Donate items to a local nonprofit or school, or recycle if possible. Earth911.com is a great place to start for finding information on where all kinds of items can be dropped off, including local recycling opportunities and disposal options for more than 240 materials.

Post clean up.

Now that the office is sparkling and unnecessary items have been cleared away, consider how to make the most of the extra space, as well as sustaining a healthy indoor environment.

If new furniture is on the agenda, purchase chairs, desks and other items made from ecofriendly materials. Even conventional furniture can be a source of chemical pollutants, according to the U.S. EPA.

Rearrange the current office setup so that it’s as comfortable and practical as possible. Feelings about the physical aspects of the workplace, including availability of natural light, or glare, temperature, the aesthetics of office design — even the height and location of a computer — can affect employees’ health.

Lastly, if your company has access to grounds outside of the office building, make plans to literally create a “green space,” or a natural space where employees can go to relax and restore the mind.

[1] http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/occupgd.html#why%20is%20indoor%20air%20quality%20important?
[2] http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/occupgd.html#why%20is%20indoor%20air%20quality%20important?

 

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