As a company that optimizes energy efficiency in buildings with its software solution, KUGU is committed to greater sustainability in the real estate industry. But even beyond the product and the industry, the topic of sustainability is a matter of the heart for KUGU and its employees. To ensure that we also live this idea in our everyday work, an internal team of colleagues has come together and designed a plan for more sustainability in the office.
With a view to the current situation in the office and the vision of a sustainable working environment, KUGU employees have drawn up measures for environmental protection and divided them into six categories. All ideas are individually tailored to KUGU, but can serve as inspiration for your own office and can be expanded and adapted accordingly.
1 - Waste & Consumption
Recycling and the correct separation of waste is a challenge in many offices. Since waste separation is a (federal) state matter, international colleagues often have insufficient knowledge and are not infrequently out of their depth when it comes to choosing the right waste container. To this end, KUGU is installing information boards above the trash cans to explain the Berlin trash separation system and thus make it easier to allocate the trash.
When it comes to lunch, the environment often suffers as a result of our fast-paced workday. We reach for ready-made, packaged food on hand and are annoyed afterwards at having caused unnecessary waste and harmed ourselves. But where near the office can you find restaurants with local produce and eco-friendly packaging? A list of sustainable, walkable lunch options, stored digitally and posted in the office kitchen, should help. More and more restaurants are giving discounts for bringing your own dishes or cutlery, or are relying on recycled materials for their to-go packaging. KUGU's employees also like to use their lunch break to eat together in the sun. A popular address is a Korean food truck around the corner from the office; not only because the bibimbap is really tasty, but also because the fried egg comes free when you bring a bowl.
Beyond the workplace and the kitchen, the restroom is another place we're making more sustainable. Who needs pristine white, five-ply or even scented toilet paper? KUGU has been using recycled toilet paper for a while now, and we'd like to say that it hasn't hurt our creativity and concentration so far.
2 - Mobility
Even if the company car is already an electric car, as it is the case at KUGU, bicycles and trains are preferable as a means of transport. In order for employees to get to work by bicycle, however, there should be an appropriate infrastructure. Bike theft is not only a Berlin problem and a secure bike rack in front of the office entrance is therefore an absolute must. On the other hand, the purchase of a jointly usable season ticket (in Berlin the "Umweltkarte" of the BVG) is suitable for longer distances within the city. And as in private, for national travel we avoid domestic flights as much as possible and use trains and buses instead.
3 - Heat & Electricity
True to the motto "Practice what we preach", an internal monitoring system gives all KUGU employees insight into the heating and hot water consumption of the office. According to the results, we look at where heating behavior can be optimized and resources can be conserved. Additional energy savings can also be achieved through the use of timers, energy-saving lamps and motion detectors.
4 - Sharing & Giving away
So-called sharing models have been booming for a while now. So why not share office supplies and private household items with colleagues? A digital project tool like GitLab, Asana or Slack can help to offer things for sharing, swapping or giving away. For smaller items like books or decorative items, KUGU has also revived the good old swap shelf. Making your colleague happy while saving the environment can bring so much joy.
5 - Repair
Far too often we replace broken things by buying something new instead of fixing them. We blame a lack of time or our poor, manual skills. At a once-a-month KUGU Repair Workshop, employees can bring their broken items and learn from others how to make them work again. As soon as meetings in larger groups are possible again without hesitation, KUGU wants to make the workshop accessible to the neighborhood and other offices, and expand the scope of the action beyond our own desks.
6 - Green office
In the literal spirit of a green office, KUGU is doubling its number of green plants. New potted plants not only make the air fresher, they also improve the feel-good atmosphere and provide color accents at the desk. Employees can bring plant cuttings from home and let them grow in the office or swap them with each other.
As with energy consumption in the building, the same applies to the sustainable office: monitoring is everything! Here at KUGU, we speak from experience. Only by measuring progress and regularly reviewing our results, we can continuously optimize processes and achieve our set goals. We use a collaborative document to jointly record the progress of our project. Since KUGU is already working successfully with the OKR method, metrics will be developed for the coming quarter that make waste separation, mobility and consumption measurable and enable a specific sustainability OKR.
To ensure that all efforts for a sustainable office ultimately do not remain to the responsibility of individual employees, there is the KUGU Sustainability Steward, who is responsible for compliance and tracking of the measures for a certain period of time. Speaking of responsibility: We are all responsible for the preservation of our planet and should therefore put climate and environmental protection at the top of our agenda, both professionally and privately. Every action counts.
Do you have any comments or further ideas for more sustainability in the office? We look forward to hearing from you!
Theres Büttner, Freelance Marketing Manager