Being a water conservationist can prove to be a challenge, and when it comes to reducing water usage at work “challenge” becomes an understatement. Office politics notwithstanding, it can be difficult to make even a personal difference in a work environment.
The simple truth is that some people have only the vaguest outline of the importance of water conservationism, and when it comes to being at work many people just don’t care. Work is a hard place to start a movement about anything else besides work.
That doesn’t meant it can’t be done, though. Movements start with people communicating and setting the example, and fortunately there are some good ideas floating around about how to encourage reducing water usage at the office.
1. Water PR
It’s not uncommon these days for offices of all sizes to have a newsletter or email bulletin. Managers have found these to be an easy way to get the word out on company news: birthdays, babies and board meetings are typically all fair game.
This is a prime forum for turning people on to water conservation in the office. It can be used to post reminders about avoiding water waste. Coupled with information that encourages people to develop simple at-work habits, like not leaving the faucets running in the washrooms, it can be an effective tool.
Get creative by reporting the water usage of the office in every bulletin with a call to action to lower usage.
2. Create Water Awareness
Hallmark does not have a monopoly on creating holidays; anyone who wants to draw attention to an issue can develop an intra-office awareness day/week that is unique to that workplace. Many states have a “Water Awareness Month” (usually April or May) and offices can coordinate with that date or choose their own.
This can be a time when everyone in the office gets onboard to conserve water use in the office by committing to activities that otherwise may cause inconvenience or discomfort, like cutting back on watering the office grounds or shutting off water to an area of the building that is underused.
Get creative by making a splash with a pamphlet, cards or other tangible “swag” that can serve as promotional materials.
3. Report Leaks!
This is easy to do and should be done, although everyone knows how easy it is to not do it. Most people have had an experience where they have noticed a leak and been in too much of a hurry to tell someone, or just let it slip their minds as they walked out the door.
These leaks can add up to hundreds or thousands of gallons of water lost, especially when it is something as innocuous as a drippy faucet or running toilet in the washroom. Reporting these problems to the manager or building supervisor can save the company money and help conserve water.
Get creative by posting a hotline in the washroom so people can more easily report leaks.
4. Product Pitch
Investing in office maintenance and equipment is a task for upper management and the budget department, but most offices encourage people to use suggestion boxes or speak up when they have good ideas – and saving water is always a good idea.
There is an entire industry that specializes in efficiency upgrades and water-saving devices for office buildings, including icemakers, toilets, pipes, faucets and dishwashers, and even a single investment can help make a difference. The important thing may be to emphasize that it doesn’t take a wholesale company overhaul to improve water use; it just takes one act.
Get creative by making this a goal that can bring office employees together for a shared purpose.
5. Show and Tell
People who lead by example know that it works. There are several things an individual can do to show others how easy it is to save water, even if it’s one drop at a time. Creative tips for taking personal action at the office include:
• Plugging the drain to do dishes instead of letting the faucet run
• Decorating your cubicle with succulents instead of using “thirstier” plants
• Using the same glass/cup to avoid making dirty dishes
• Posting water conservation tips in your cubicle; get the conversation started
• Dumping the leftover ice from your drink in the nearest plant
• Lathering your hands before you run the faucet
These personal examples and the rest of the tips offered can help set a true water conservation effort in motion in any office.
This article was written by James Madeiros who writes for Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meters that help conserve water.
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