Sustainability In The Workplace 6 Rules: How To Office Footprint

The most crucial sustainability in the workplace etiquette rules. The proper practices to limit the usage of resources, waste, and footprint in our workplace.

What sustainability in the workplace etiquette is

Today, sustainability has a crucial role in our modern social etiquette. On many occasions, behaviors that can harm the environment are no longer accepted.

Sustainability in the workplace etiquette is the set of rules to manage and limit our individual footprint at work. Its key principle is to avoid any behavior that may have a negative environmental impact. Such rules include:

  • How to limit our individual footprint at work
  • The appropriate practices to reduce the consumption of resources.
  • The behaviors to avoid.

As an employee, follow sustainability in the workplace etiquette to limit your individual footprint and avoid behaviors that may upset your manager or coworkers.

As a manager or an employer, promote sustainability in the workplace etiquette to build a positive and sustainable work culture in your team.

sustainability in the workplace rules

Sustainability in the workplace etiquette rules

1) Electricity and natural gas

The best way to save electricity at work is to switch the lights off whenever possible. Use lights only in the room you are in. Limit the number of lights that are on at the same time. When you leave a room, such as after a meeting, switch the light off. 

Limit the use of electronic appliances. Such as the dishwasher or microwave oven. Run the dishwasher only when full. Avoid using it frequently with just half loads.

2) Heating and air-con usage in the workplace

Air conditioning and heating in the workplace can consume a large amount of electricity or natural gas. Thus, it is best to optimize their usage to limit the workplace’s footprint.

Avoid setting them to extreme temperatures. Air conditioning and heating are made to bring moderate, incremental improvements compared to the outside temperature. A too-warm or too-cold workplace can have health consequences and negatively affects productivity.

Air conditioning should be between 20°C (68°F) and 24°C (75°F). Cooler values consume more electricity. Thus, they are more expensive and worse for the environment. Further, a high difference between inside and outside temperatures may pose serious health risks for the employees.

Heating should be between 18°C (64°F) and 20°C (68°F). Warmer values consume more electricity or natural gas. Thus, they are more expensive and bad for the environment. Furthermore, warm temperatures can facilitate the spread of bacteria.

When the air conditioning or heating is on, keep the windows closed. Otherwise, air from the outside will come in and the workplace will disperse cool air or heat. It will be harder to control the inside temperature. Similarly, try to keep the doors closed. It is easier to cool down or warm up single rooms separately rather than a whole office.  

3) Water sustainability in the workplace

Employees should do their best to save water. Avoid keeping the water running unless you are using it. For example, do not keep the water running while you soap your hands. Instead, turn the water on only when you need to rinse.

4) Low consume appliances and lights

An employer should consider buying energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, such as Class A appliances. While they cost more than other models, their consumption is significantly lower, so they will save more money over time.

5) Waste etiquette in the workplace

The employer should set up everything necessary to respect the local rules about waste disposal and recycling. Every major room, such as the open-plan office, workplace bathroom, or shared kitchen, should have all the necessary bins for recycling. The kitchen must have at least one bin for organic waste, one for glass, and one for plastic.

Employees should limit the amount of non-food waste. Such as paper, plastic, or cardboard boxes. It is best to reuse them if possible. For example, in the bathroom and kitchen, they can limit their use of paper towels to one at a time.

6) Remote working and sustainable mobility

Remote working can prevent the need for commuting and using unsustainable modes of transport. Thus, by allowing employees to work remotely for even just one day per week, an employer can significantly lower its ecological footprint.

Plants in the workplace

Most sustainability etiquette rules limit our production of new pollution. However, they do not help decrease the pollution that we already created. Our best chance to revert global warming is to decrease the carbon dioxide that is already in our atmosphere. Luckily, plants and trees eat carbon dioxide.

Thus, employers can lower their company’s footprint by buying some plants for their workplace. Furthermore, multiple studies have proven that plants improve employees’ productivity and physical and mental health.

sustainability in the office mistakes

Sustainability in the workplace etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst sustainability in the workplace etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Being careless about sustainability issues.
  • 9/10. Wasting water.
  • 8/10. Setting heating or AC at the wrong temperatures.
  • 8/10. Not following the local waste recycling rules.


  • Interior Plants May Improve Worker Productivity and Reduce Stress: