Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Paperless Office is a Healthy Office

Much has been written about the benefits of reducing paper in the office. It saves trees as well as the resources required to create it (paper mill energy use, transportation, etc.) Less paper in the office also reduces the amount of real estate required to store it. For those of you with offices in New York, London or Singapore, dedicating space for large file rooms is not a practical business choice - the rent is just too expensive for storage.

The other major benefit to reducing paper? Less dust! Paper lying around the office is a perfect home for dust and dust mites. Those little crevacies can collect many years-worth of particulates. This problem is exacerbated with recycled (versus fresh) air in the office. Dust, and dust created by paper, is a major source of respiratory issues and sickness in the white collar workplace.

So how do you remove dust from your office environment (or your home for that matter)?
  • Lose the paper. Immediately recyle when you can and archive what you need access to occassionally. Be heavy handed - the clean desk policy is a win for everyone! Most IT departments are rigorous about backing up files today. Learn to save files better electronically and loose the paper baggage.
  • Filter the air. Mechanical filters that use standard disposal fiberglass filters should be changed monthly. Permanent filters with baffles should be cleaned periodically. The most effective mechanical filter is a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter.
  • Minimize carpet use. When possible, remove carpeting where dust mites, mold spores, animal dander and other particulates accumulate. Carpeting laid over concrete floors tends to have more dust mites because of increased humidity. Replace carpeted floors with hardwood or linoleum. Wash scatter rugs and furniture covers regularly.
  • Clean regularly and well. Vacuuming can stir dust into the air. Use high-quality vacuum bags and change them frequently. Wet mop or wet-wipe hard surfaces such as floors, walls and ceilings.

1 comment:

Jodi "Millennial 4 Earth" Williams said...

Our office recently had a major clean up. While the participation level was great and we recycled more paper than I could imagine (and probably evicted innumerable mites), I was disappointed that the management rewarded those people who discarded the most....what about rewarding those who keep their desks paper free on a day-to-day basis?

Or, what about providing fewer opportunities for individual storage of paper and more group/team storage. More group storage might lead to more consistent archiving/recycling of unnecessary bulk.

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