Sustainable office world: optimizing business processes and thereby saving time and money

Sustainable office world: optimizing business processes and thereby saving time and money

The topic of sustainability has meanwhile reached the broad masses. People sort their garbage, only buy products that are relevant to them and opt for green electricity - for the sake of the environment. What has become normal in private life has not yet arrived in many offices. Sluggish business processes burden not only the environment, but also the time and financial plan.

The following article explains how companies and freelancers contribute to environmental protection with simple measures while saving time and money.

Basic rule: Small cattle are also crap

Many companies underestimate small or small-scale measures that can help ease the burden on the environment, reduce effort, and reduce costs. The guiding principle of any company should be:

Small cattle are also crap

By this it is meant that every measure - independent of its size and its result - is of importance. In sum, all of the measures result in an improvement of the company.

Sustainable Designing and Leading a Business

Every action and process consumes resources. Most people are not aware of it, but their behavior either contributes to environmental protection or not. Every company should define business processes that lead to

  • fast
  • low-cost
  • and efficient

. Each additional step, effort, and hurdle consumes resources and costs the company time and money.

Companies can begin optimizing their workforce design. Here are simple measures to achieve great success:

  • Material efficiency : There are projects that are presented on paper or with brochures. Businesses should consider every time it makes no sense to run such a presentation digitally.
  • Longevity : In the field of office equipment, you can buy products that are durable and perform for many years.
  • Functionality : The purchase of a new device is intended to optimize the business process. Impractical are devices whose operation is complicated and difficult to learn. More worthwhile is the purchase of functional devices that do not require much explanation and are ready for immediate use.
  • Knowledge base : Many companies do without a central documentation base for all internal processes. Providing documentation facilitates problem resolution without the need for dedicated staff. Instead, employees inform themselves independently and solve the problems themselves (see Knowledge Management).

The implementation of the above (and subsequent) measures is only possible if there is sustainable corporate governance. The career portal academics.de has compiled a list of companies that have been under sustainable management for many years. They make it clear that companies can make big profits and work with a clear conscience at the same time.

Knowledge management as the central pillar of a company

The goal of every company is to work efficiently. All employees are colleagues, regardless of their rank. They should communicate, cooperate, and solve problems together.

Traditionally, a company's expertise is passed on by experienced people to the younger generation. This learning process is not efficient, since there is no knowledge base and the transfer of expertise is changed over the years (similar to the silent post office).

The use of knowledge management creates a system that collects all information centrally and makes it publicly accessible to every employee of the company. The properties of Knowledge Management are:

  • pooling the knowledge of all employees (regardless of age)
  • updating existing knowledge capacities with innovations
  • creating a database of entrepreneurial knowledge that is freely accessible

Many companies already use systems in which they gather knowledge. Noteworthy are customer relationship management systems (CRM systems). They contain all the data about a customer that the company owns. These systems help people make decisions more easily and advise customers more efficiently.

CRM systems only help with the relationship between the business and the customer. In many companies there are often internal problems. If an employee can not solve this alone, he or she must ask the appropriate personnel for help. In this case, both sides lose valuable working time. A central knowledge base could have helped to solve the problem within minutes.

The type of implementation of knowledge management that a business uses depends on several factors. Among the established measures are:

  • the Japanese SECI model
  • the 8 knowledge building blocks of Probst, Rauch and Romhardt

Simpler and more modern are software solutions whose implementation is relatively easy and can be done in any company.

Energy efficient work in the office

Many companies underestimate the potential of a low electricity tariff and low energy consumption. According to the EnergieAgentur.NRW [1] , office equipment in Germany consumes three percent of the total electricity.

The energy balance did not play a major role a few years ago. Times change, today ecological aspects count. Rising electricity costs and an increasing number of electrical appliances have increased costs in recent years.

The introduction of sustainable information and communication technologies fails [2] :

cause share for the following reasons in%
Uncertainty about capital expenditure 36
Lack of know-how 29
Uncertainty about ecological benefits 20
Uncertainty about economic consequences 20
Uncertainty about Acceptance of measures 13
Other 8
None 8

The lack of know-how seems surprising. After all, there are measures that do not require much knowledge, such as the purchase of new PC systems. Even the uncertainty about the associated investment costs is unfounded. According to BITKOM, an average office PC consumes 201 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. A mini PC, which is sufficient for office work in many cases, has a consumption of only 74 kWh. In the IT market, there is no general claim that using old hardware is more environmentally friendly. Devices have been energy efficient for years. Employees can also work faster and more efficiently through this performance increase.

Aside from purchasing energy-efficient computers (and other devices), take a look at the following two points:

  • Electricity Tariff : Companies should regularly sign up for their contract Check electricity suppliers and negotiate better prices.
  • Behavior : All devices connected to the power supply should be used sparingly and only when needed. This is only possible if the employees are made aware of it. Shutting down PC systems after hours of work and putting them into energy-saving mode when not in use can save a lot of money during the year.

Reduce print volume and digitize documents

There is great potential for savings when it comes to printing. Printers are available in virtually every office. Unfortunately, they are rarely used efficiently and meaningfully.

  • Companies can save money by buying a printer that matches their print volume. For example, it prints quickly and inexpensively in black and white, but not in color because color prints are not needed.
  • Already at the purchase is to look for a printer whose power and ink consumption is low. There is a great deal of savings potential if entrepreneurs purchase printer cartridges from third-party manufacturers.
  • Employees should be trained to print only the bare essentials. When printing, for example, you can copy the desired text passage into a word processing program and print it sparingly. Setting economical fonts also reduces ink consumption.

Tip : Recycled toners are not only cheap, they also protect the environment.

Excessive amounts of paper are printed in many companies. The problem is that this creates a lot of work. Employees have to stow and sort internal documents. The recovery is associated with a great deal of time. It would be simpler to save the data digitally and to digitize existing documents. As a result, the documents in a database are available to every employee and can be accessed using keywords if required. The result: less effort, shorter access times and less paper consumption.

Mail and parcels sent environmentally friendly

Not every document can be digitized. Anyone who ships a document to another company must take into account the recipient's rules. If he needs the document in writing, there is no way around an expression. What you can do in this situation is to ensure that the document arrives as environmentally friendly as possible.

For example, companies can use the GoGreen service from Deutsche Post DHL. Shipments within Germany are sent climate-neutral at no extra cost. Savings are also possible in packaging: when sending mail and parcels, companies can recycle packaging they have already received. Cartons can usually be used several times if opened with care.

Artikelbild: © Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock


  1. The energy-efficient office. Trends in saving energy at work.
  2. Source: Grenn Office Survey 2009; Office 21, Frauenhofer IAO

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