How to Minimize the Threat of COVID-19 Spread in Your Workplace

How to Minimize the Threat of COVID-19 Spread in Your Workplace
healthy workplace

This month’s blog post comes to us from our friends at ECI. We found their suggestions for a safe and healthy workplace very helpful, and believe you will too.

As of September 14, 2020, there have been 6.7 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and nearly 200,000 deaths. A recent poll shows that 54% of U.S. employees say they are worried about exposure to the virus at their job. But, the good news is that 71% of employees have confidence their employers can manage workplace environments safely. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize the threat of spread in your workplace.

1. Keep employees, customers, and visitors informed

Stay in constant communication with your employees, customers, and visitors to inform them about your risk mitigation plans. Use snail mail, email, loudspeaker messaging, and signage to provide information about these measures and enforce mask-wearing, frequent hand washing, and proper 6-feet distancing. Ensure that employees understand the importance of mask-wearing; masks help to prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others by keeping respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Provide training for putting on and taking off masks properly, and even for fully washing hands, caution employees against touching their faces or their masks, and install hand sanitizer stations to further minimize the risk of spread through touching objects. You should also keep a supply of either surgical or N-95 masks if employees’ mask straps break.

Continually keep employees apprised of all new developments. Inform them that risk assessments are taking place, and instruct on what they should do if they are feeling symptoms or if they notice other employees that are exhibiting symptoms.

Disseminate your sick policy digitally and in paper form concerning a possible outbreak to your employees, along with resources from the CDC for learning more about what they can do to protect themselves (see step 3 below).

2. Have a work-from-home Plan B in case of a local outbreak

Hot spots continue to pop up all over the country, and your region may be affected sooner or later.

Should this occur in your area, you’ll need a contingency plan allowing as many workers as possible to work from home. Make sure there are enough laptops, VPN devices, printers, and any other role-specific technologies (such as phone systems for receptionists and customer support staff) to support work for all of your units that must remain operational. Account for your “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy and the handling of sensitive data, so that an outbreak doesn’t lead to a data security disaster.

3. Mandate that symptomatic employees stay home

Once employees show symptoms of fever or acute respiratory illness, the CDC recommends that they should know your company wants them to stay home until they are free of symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever and symptom-reducing medicines.

If an employee presents symptoms at work, such as shortness of breath, nasal drip, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, or coughing, they should be separated and sent home immediately.

If an employee is not sick or showing symptoms, but has a family member at home diagnosed with COVID-19, notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Finally, if an employee tests positive, employers should inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace while maintaining the confidentiality required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance on conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

4. Keep the facilities clean

The CDC recommends routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace. If your cleaning staff cleans bathrooms and common areas, but workers maintain their workstations, communicate that they should sanitize their areas (including doorknobs, keyboards, and desks) frequently, and provide disposable wipes for the purpose. The CDC offers a comprehensive set of instructions for cleaning and disinfecting your facility.

5. Avoid workers coming in for financial reasons

Given many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, a scenario to avoid is sick workers evading testing or coming in for fear of not getting paid. Just one employee making an ill-advised decision could be catastrophic for other employees and the organization. Employers are not legally obligated to pay self-isolating workers who may not be sick or, in some cases, sick. But it makes sense to reward conscientious hourly employees by offering to keep their paychecks coming if they need to take time off because of illness or exposure.

Places of employment, as well as schools, have a significant role to play in the prevention of COVID-19 spread. Following these measures is the social (and in some cases, legal) obligation of every employer until the end of the pandemic.

Penny Wise Office Products offers a large selection of PPE and cleaning products to keep your office safe and healthy.

Content comes from them: https://www.ecisolutions.com/blog/how-to-minimize-the-threat-of-covid-19-spread-in-your-workplace

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Organizing Everything With Lists

Organizing Everything With Lists

How lists make productivity skyrocket.

Why do lists seem to magically help get everything in order? According to The Guardian, people perform better when they have written down what they need to do.

It’s usually easier to remember what you need to get done at work when you write (or type) it out – even if you’re not actively looking at it. That concept can apply to nearly every facet of your life. Here are some tips to make the simple list, an effective professional productivity tool for you.

 

Organizing-Everything
Master List

Your master list should be a broad brain dump of short and long term goals you want to accomplish in your professional life. Don’t over-complicate this list. It can be messy and updated whenever you want.

Weekly List

This is where you start to break down your to-do’s into more manageable chunks. First, collect all the items you want to achieve this week. Include small and big accomplishments like “respond to emails” or “complete part 1 of X project.”

Daily List

Now you’re ready to make a daily list. This list should be very specific and can be broken down chronologically or you can assign priority to each item. Start with higher priority projects and leave the smaller stuff for later in the day. If you don’t get to the lower priority items, just be sure to add them to tomorrow’s daily list.

Go Digital

Going old school and writing down your lists on a piece of paper is effective (and feels great when you get to check them off). But papers often get lost in the busy shuffle. Consider using a digital tool to keep track of your short and long-term goals. Many phones already have a list app built–in – and you can refer to them any time!

Include Yourself

Lastly, make sure you schedule some time for YOU. Ideas include: coffee breaks, a 15-minute walk, or stretch, and video chats with your career mentor.

Penny Wise Office Products has a huge selection of List Trackers and Notebooks.
Visit us at www.penny-wise.com or call 1-800-942-3311. We’re happy to help!

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Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home

Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home
Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home

This month’s blog comes straight from the CDC, which we thought would be helpful during these uncertain times. Do you know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting? This is a good time to reevaluate the steps we take to stay safe and healthy.

CDC

How to clean and disinfect

Clean
Clean

  Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection.
  Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
  Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
  Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. High touch surfaces include:
      Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

Disinfect
Disinfect

  Recommend proper use of disinfectants, as listed below.

Many products recommend:

  Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
  Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product

Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

  Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
  Ensure adequate ventilation
  Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
  Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
  Avoid mixing chemical products
  Label diluted cleaning solutions
  Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets

You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.

Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.

      Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–6%. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening, may not be suitable for disinfection.

      Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.

  To make a bleach solution, mix:
      5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of room temperature water
OR
  4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water
  Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
  Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.

Soft surfaces

For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes.

  Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
OR
  Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. Use disinfectants that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
  Vacuum as usual.

Electronics

For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls.
 Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
 Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
      If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.

Laundry

For clothing, towels, linens and other items.

  Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
  Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  Do not shake dirty laundry.
  Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
  Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.

Clean hands often
Clean hands often

  Key times to clean hands
      Immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
      After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      After using the restroom
      Before eating or preparing food
      After contact with animals or pets
      Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

  Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.

  Keep hand sanitizers away from fire or flame
  For children under six years of age, hand sanitizer should be used with adult supervision
  Always store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and pets
  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

When someone is sick

Bedroom and bathroom
Bedroom and bathroom

Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick (if possible).

  The person who is sick should stay separated from other people in the home (as much as possible).

  If you have a separate bedroom and bathroom: Wear disposable gloves and only clean the area around the person who is sick when needed, such as when the area is soiled. This will help limit your contact with the person who is sick.

      Caregivers can provide personal cleaning supplies to the person who is sick (if appropriate). Supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and disinfectants. If they feel up to it, the person who is sick can clean their own space.

  If shared bathroom: The person who is sick should clean and disinfect after each use. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.

Food

  Stay separated: The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.

  Wash dishes and utensils using disposable gloves and hot water: Handle any used dishes, cups/glasses, or silverware with gloves. Wash them with soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.

  Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.

Trash
Trash

  Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the person who is sick. Use disposable gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.

Penny Wise is here to provide you with all the cleaning and disinfectant supplies you need to stay healthy. Call us today for fast, free delivery.

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5 Ways to Maintain Sustainability Indoors

5 Ways to Maintain Sustainability Indoors
5 Ways to Maintain Sustainability Indoors

The coronavirus epidemic has impacted the entire world, with many people working from home and being told to leave the house as little as possible. In times where we must stay at home as much as we can, it can be tough to remember that the world is also facing an environmental crisis. Fortunately, there are opportunities to help the environment, even while working from home and staying indoors. Here are five considerations from our friends at Double A Paper to be sustainable indoors.

Limiting Purchases

Learning to live a more minimalist lifestyle can help you save money and aid the environment. Shopping online and placing orders for new products may be fun, and at times it can even be necessary, but limiting your purchases will cut down on the amount of money you spend while also cutting down on the amount of fuel used for shipping and the amount of materials used for production. It can help you learn to better appreciate things you have at home as well. Take time to consider what you truly need. If you do require something, there may be ways to make it or obtain it sustainably. Be mindful of the buyerarchy of needs before you place an order.

Limiting Energy Usage

You’re at home, so of course you’ll need to use your computer to work. But how much energy do you require on any given day? Make sure the lights around your house are off unless they’re needed, and as tempting as it may be, don’t use things like a TV for background noise while you work. The amount of energy you conserve will be noticeable, and you’ll appreciate it when your next utility bill comes in. The extra time you save without having a commute could also be dedicated to conserving energy. It can be tough, but with the right effort, you can make hand washing your dishes more efficient than running your dishwasher.

Consolidate Errands to Minimize Need to Leave Your House

There are times where you’ll have to leave your house – such as obtaining groceries. If this is the case, keep a list of things you need to leave the house for (medicine, food, other necessities, etc.). Make a plan to buy only essential items and minimize the amount of time you spend at each location and travelling between them. This will help to keep you safe and reduce the amount of fuel consumed for travel.

Regulate Your Home Temperature Conservatively

As the temperatures outside increase and summer approaches, you may be tempted to stay cool by using air conditioning to a high degree. Consider the alternative ways to keep your home cool, such as sunlight-blocking curtains, in order to save energy while keeping your home cool. Remember, you can also open your window to let in some fresh air and listen to the sounds of the outside world.

Stay Informed and Do Research

New methods of being environmentally conscious are being discovered all the time, and every day, people are coming up with inventive and unique ways to be sustainable and protect the environment. In your downtime, do research into new ideas and developments around sustainability, and what you can do from home. For more ideas on practicing sustainability, by yourself, in your home office, or with your family, subscribe to our blog and get more updates and fresh content!

 

Stay Informed and Do Research

 

People all across the world need to work together to make a major difference, both for our own health and for the Earth. There are times where that can be a challenge, but we must remember that our planet should always be a priority.

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Increase Company Mindfulness in 5 Steps

Increase Company Mindfulness in 5 Steps

This month’s blog comes to us from our friends at Double A Paper

How we see the world around us impacts our lives and how we relate to others. Understanding your own emotions can be a powerful tool when interacting with the world, both personally and professionally. By learning how to cultivate company mindfulness, you can increase team interaction, employee productivity, and the bottom line.

What is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a concept centered around self-awareness. Mindfulness is about being in the moment and experiencing your environment with no distractions. While being mindful, you pay close attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Mindfulness cultivates emotional intelligence and provides the skills needed to ignore impulsive, emotional reactions. Teaching your office how to be more mindful has the potential to increase the happiness of your work environment.

Why Company Mindfulness is Important

More companies are focusing on the wellbeing of their staff due to the increasing cost of an unhealthy workforce. Employees who are dissatisfied with their workplace tend to call out, resist work, and look for other opportunities. This could potentially leave companies with high turnover and a toxic culture.

The number of sick days used for mental health has increased exponentially over the past five years, causing mental health to be the number one reason for employees to call in sick.

Mindfulness can lower blood pressure, increase focus, and reduce anxiety and depression in employees. In fact, when employees practice mindfulness, they are more likely to be resilient in the face of stressful situations. Resilience and adaptability to stress play a key role in wellbeing.

When employees feel confident in handling stress, they are more likely to make good decisions for the business. A mindful employee is more likely to focus on productivity, reduce waste, and be conscientious. This will support the planet and your bottom line!

Teach Your Employees to be More Mindful

Educating your employees is the first step to increasing company mindfulness. It begins with establishing an open dialogue. Be open to discussing your employees’ emotional stance with the company and allow everyone to share what they love about their job and which areas need improvement.

Make sure you let them know that this conversation is a safe place designed to enhance their work experience. Teach them about mindfulness and why it is important. Some of your employees may be practicing mindfulness on their own. Encourage them to share their strategies.

Allow everyone to discuss any concerns and tackle their anxieties head-on. Allow an open flow of conversation and practice empathy and understanding.

Brainstorm ways to incorporate mindfulness into the workweek. Let your employees be a part of this shift in the company culture. This will allow them to feel valued and heard.

Incorporate Mindfulness into Remote Work

Many employees are now working from home to stay healthy and safe. It is more important than ever to incorporate mindfulness into your company’s work-from-home culture.

Stay accountable by touching base with your team. Make sure they are taking the time to be mindful while away from the office. Remind them to get fresh air, clear their mind, and make time for short movement breaks during the day.

During this uncertain time, it is essential that your employees feel as if they are part of the team. Take time at the end of video meetings to have everyone discuss their mindfulness practice. Prompt them to explain how mindfulness has impacted their new work environment.

Lead by Example

It is essential to lead by example when implementing mindfulness at your company. The first step is to make mindful decisions for the company.

For example, you could start a mindfulness accountability group. Gathering a team of dedicated, mindful employees could create a domino effect for the rest of the company. Before you know it, mindfulness will be ingrained in your work culture.

Manage with Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand, perceive, and manage your own emotions. When you manage with emotional intelligence, you use empathy, understanding, and self-awareness to communicate with your team.

Mindfulness is a powerful component of emotional intelligence. Managers with high EI communicate their message better because they understand who their audience is. Managers with high emotional intelligence are more persuasive and inspiring to their employees.

Practicing EI will allow you to gauge and control your employees’ reactions to difficult situations. With this in mind, you will see the efficiency of your team increase.

Allow Mindfulness Breaks During the Day

Creating space in the day for your employees to practice mindfulness is essential to increasing company mindfulness. Allowing time between meetings for self-awareness is a great solution.

By the end of a meeting, most employees have checked out. They are already mentally preparing for their next meeting. This train of thought can continue all day, leaving your employees feeling burned out.

Providing time between appointments will allow them to decompress and focus on themselves for a moment before focusing on their next obligation. Let your employees know this time is for mindfulness.

Encourage them to step outside, do some deep breathing, or reflect on how they are feeling. You will have more focused, productive meetings when you allow your team opportunities to be mindful.

Schedule Movement Breaks

Most office workers have minimal amounts of movement during the workday. This time can increase if employees are working from home. Sitting for long amounts of time has been reported to be as unhealthy as smoking. Schedule a five-minute movement break for your team.

During this time, they can get up, stretch, and walk around. Remind them that this is a part of their mindfulness practice. Encourage them to focus on the sensation of moving after sitting for so long. This will allow your employees to energize themselves by breaking away from their responsibilities and moving their bodies.

Mindfulness comes in many shapes and sizes. Regardless of how you increase company mindfulness, you will be rewarded with a happier, more effective workforce. For more tips on building a healthy work environment and personal fulfillment, subscribe to our blog.

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Earth Day is finally here! Learn 5 Ways You Can Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is finally here! Learn 5 Ways You Can Celebrate Earth Day!

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 2020

 

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 2020

 

Earth Day 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Our friends at DoubleA Paper have provided several great ways for you to celebrate Earth Day this year.

Earth Day represents our responsibility to the planet and the importance of conserving nature. Since Earth Day began in 1970, we have seen increased concern for our planet and a rise in conservation efforts.

The years preceding the introduction of Earth Day were riddled with air pollution from inefficient vehicles and booming industrial trade. It was common for companies to expel large amounts of fossil fuels with no concern for the environment.

In 1969, a US senator named Gaylor Nelson witnessed a major oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. After experiencing the devastation of such an act, Nelson decided to fuse the energy of activism with conservation efforts. This pushed the importance of the environment into the national agenda. April 22, 1970, was declared the first official Earth Day. People from all walks of life joined in on the festivities and organized programs to support and promote environmentally friendly actions.

Celebrating Earth Day is a great chance to consider how you can help the environment. This sustainable holiday serves as a reminder of how we influence the planet. It encourages us to implement conservation efforts in our everyday lives and support environmental sustainability.

In honor of Earth Day, we gathered five ways to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Take a look at the sustainable activities below!

1. Plant a Tree for Earth Day 2020

Trees are among the most important organisms on our planet. They provide clean air for us to breathe, and provide homes for a multitude of wildlife. Trees have the amazing ability to improve our atmosphere over time by absorbing CO2 and converting it into breathable oxygen.

Trees also cool our planet by reducing pollutants from fossil fuels and other harmful chemicals.

Without trees, those harmful substances would stay in our atmosphere, heating our planet. For Earth Day 2020, plant a tree in your yard or with a local organization!

2. Start a Garden

Starting a garden is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and celebrate Earth Day. They are transported from factory farms to grocery stores, polluting the planet. Not to mention, most of them are packaged in plastic!

Planting your own garden will reduce the amount of fossil fuels used in transportation and decrease the production of waste. Gardens are also a great way to support the ecosystem in your community – they will encourage birds, insects, and other wildlife to visit!

3. Use Green or Reusable Products

Take a look at your home and notice opportunities to use more sustainable products. Many companies have taken action to create green products, in everything from clothing to utensils.

Consider switching out household goods with their more sustainable counterparts, and notice how easy it is to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and support environmentally friendly companies.

4. Fundraise for a Sustainable Cause

Fundraising is a great way to give back to our planet, and there are so many amazing organizations working to better our environment. Some of these include the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and The Natural Resource Defense Council.

Fundraising can be daunting, but there are plenty of sustainable products and services to sell for a good cause. You could sell reusable shopping bags to promote waste reduction. You could sell items such as organic seeds, fair trade coffee, or household conservation products like LED lights and reusable water bottles.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to fundraising. Make sure to let everyone know the proceeds are going to a good cause, and make sure to use sustainable paper for any fliers.

5. Join a Roots and Shoots Campaign

The Roots and Shoots program was created by Jane Goodall to bring generations together for conservation efforts. The organization has local chapters in over 140 countries with 8,000 groups globally. Members of the groups work on environmental issues within their community.
There is an entire curriculum that teaches you how to start a Roots and Shoots campaign for
free online.

Earth Day 2020 is the perfect opportunity to serve the environment. Many organizations and
communities come together to celebrate on April 22nd, but your efforts shouldn’t stop there.
Implementing sustainable action into your life is the best way to honor the Earth all year!

Environmentally friendly Double a Paper is available here Penny Wise

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Printable Checklist for Simplifying Your Life

Printable Checklist for Simplifying Your Life

While we are all staying at home and slowing down, this may be a good time for you to plan future ways to simplify your normally busy, chaotic life.

Please use this Printable Checklist as a helpful guide, from your friends at Penny Wise Office Products.

PrintableTips_to_Simplify_YourLife_PennyWiseOfficeProducts

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7 Environmentally Friendly Office Products To Help Your Office Go Green

7 Environmentally Friendly Office Products To Help Your Office Go Green

Today’s businesses understand that eco-friendly offices are a trend that bears paying attention to, and our friends at Clover Technology have provided you with 7 of the very best ideas for creating an environmentally conscious businesses.

7 Environmentally Friendly Office Products

Making an effort toward sustainability within your organization can increase your competitive edge and boost revenue — as well as productivity and company morale.

In fact, it’s been proven that workers perform better in offices that emphasize environmentally friendly upgrades. And that can do more than ramp up productivity — it can also help your organization attract the kind of workers that make a real difference to the level at which your enterprise operates.

Let’s look at some simple, but powerful, ways you can boost your office’s eco-friendly quotient.

7 Environmentally Friendly Office Products to Help Your Office Go Green

With more than 8.5 million tons of office furniture making its way to our overburdened landfills each year, it’s no wonder that the best, easiest, and most cost-effective way you can green up your office is to look closely at reuse and recycling.

Our selection of environmentally friendly office products centers on items that will help your office not only reduce or eliminate waste and reduce your carbon footprint, but help you reuse where it’s appropriate.

1. Eliminate Single-Use Water Bottles with a Water Delivery Service

With plastic debris accounting for anywhere from 60% to 80% of all marine pollution, it’s no wonder that single-use plastics are under fire. Four states – California, New York, Maine, and Vermont – have passed bans on them and cruise lines, hotels, and other businesses are following suit.

You can green up your office and make a difference by swapping out single-use water bottles with a water delivery service and encouraging your employees to bring in their own refillable bottles for use in the office.

Water services range from hot/cold fountains that are super-filtered at the source to water that’s delivered in reusable BPA-free bottles to be chilled on an as-needed basis — it’s up to your team to decide which better serves your office environment.

2. Reduce Environmental Impact with Remanufactured Printer Cartridges

According to statistics, more than 375 million OEM cartridges thrown away each year, further clogging already overburdened landfills. And, when you recognize that it takes a single one of these cartridges nearly a thousand years to completely decompose, you can understand what an enormous environmental burden they are to the health of our planet.

Additionally, these cartridges have been tagged as “potentially carcinogenic” and in landfills they have been found to leach toxic chemicals into the soil that can reach all the way to underground aquifers, polluting our precious water resources.

Each remanufactured cartridge that you buy can contribute to your overall level of corporate responsibility and commitment to sustainable practices. With each purchase, you’re keeping another cartridge out of our landfills and averting a significant chain of impacts to the environment.

3. Replace Light Fixtures with LED Bulbs

A quick fix for a greener workspace involves converting your incandescent lighting to LEDs to maximize your energy efficiency. Because LEDs are so small, they put off less heat into the environment, which can, in turn, help you keep your thermostat stable and in energy conservation mode.

The energy efficiency of these bulbs means they don’t have to be changed as frequently and, since they last five to ten years, they aren’t being thrown into landfills and adding to our solid waste problems.

And, today’s wide array of LED designs means you can find practically any type of bulb you need, even in specialty sizes.

4. Consider Document Management Software to Cut Down on Paper

The average office worker uses up to 10,000 sheets of paper every year, but 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up in the trash by day’s end. That’s what makes investing in document management software important in curtailing excessive use of paper.

Document management software can help reduce the amount of time employees spend looking for hard-copy documents, which can increase productivity and it can help prevent the catastrophic loss that sometimes occurs when paper-based records are damaged.

However, remember that some important documents will need to be printed in hard copy form, which brings us to our next product — refurbished printers.

5. Choose Refurbished Printers to Manage Your Carbon Footprint

Even if you choose document management software, you will always need to print certain critical documents, so to keep it green, consider pairing your remanufactured print cartridge with a refurbished printer for maximum impact.

Not only will you be conserving energy and resources by buying a refurbished unit, but you can realize savings of 10-25% over a new unit. And, high-quality refurbished printers will perform as well — or better — than new versions and come with a warranty to protect against premature failure.

6. Buy Recycled Paper, Tissues, Paper Towels

Since we’re talking about greener printing, don’t forget to source your copy and printer paper from companies that offer recycled papers.

Recycled paper produces 39% less solid waste using 31% of the energy it takes to create virgin fiber paper. In addition, it takes 53% less water to produce and uses no trees.

In fact, it’s estimated that if the magazine industry switched to using 100% recycled paper, it would be like removing 248,000 cars from the road – for a whole year!

7. Use Refillable Whiteboard Markers

Dry erase markers are a staple in most conference rooms, allowing staff to brainstorm, organize, and make assignments during meetings and events. However, it’s often hard to find one that works when you need it, as they tend to dry out quickly.
A great way to keep them out of the trash — and avoiding frequent spending on new ones – is to purchase a refillable set. They come in all colors and can be refilled easily, at a fraction of the price of new markers.

Other Ways to Go Green for Maximum Benefit

Offices looking to become more sustainable might consider some of the following options to increase their commitment to developing an environmentally friendly work space:

Use renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power

Lower energy usage by using natural light to illuminate office spaces

Reduce commuting impact by hiring remote workers or promoting walking, biking, or public transportation

Turn off the lights, heat or air conditioning, and electronics on weekends, during holidays, and every evening after work

Remember, making a transition to a more environmentally friendly office not only helps heal our planet, it provides concrete benefits for businesses in the form of cost savings, productivity, and competitiveness.

And, while we can’t guide you on implementing all of these changes, if you’re ready to discover how remanufactured cartridges from Clover can maximize your sustainability while saving you money, contact your

Penny Wise representative at 1-800-942-3311 or email: customercare@penny-wise.com

www.penny-wise.com

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Desperately Seeking Biodegradable

Desperately Seeking Biodegradable

This month’s blog post comes to us from Double A Paper, the best choice for our environment. Their commitment to the environment is impressive and humbling, and their mission is to create “a better paper for a better world”.

Desperately Seeking Biodegradable

 

You’ve heard about biodegradable materials since grade school. But times have changed, and with all of the new synthetic materials available, it’s hard to know what’s biodegradable and what doesn’t fit the bill.

The true definition of biodegradable, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “capable of being broken down, especially into innocuous products, by the action of living things (such as microorganisms).”

Are Plastics Biodegradable?

Believe it or not, some are. Those made with renewable raw materials, microorganisms, petrochemicals, or mixes of all three will break down. For example, polylactic acid (PLA) plastics are made from fermented plant starch and can be composted. In the right scenario, they will dissolve into the earth without a trace within three months; but could take as long as 100 – 1,000 years, depending on how much circulation they receive while composting or sitting in a landfill.

How About Styrofoam?

Amazingly, this material is still as non-biodegradable as it was when it was first produced. It can break down between a few years and a million years, but is more likely to be on the longer end of that estimate. Made with petroleum, this product has been banned by places like Orange County, California and Portland, Oregon.

If you’re looking for a biodegradable alternative, there are many options.

What Materials Are Definitively, Without a Doubt Biodegradable?

o Paper, including waxed paper
o Fruits and Vegetables
o Flowers
o Wood
o Some Plastics that Include Corn Oil, Orange Peel, Starch, and Plants

However, these materials must have the right conditions, such as a compost bin that will help break down the materials with heat, water, and microorganisms. Composting works by accelerating the natural decay process through offering microorganisms an optimal environment: nutrients, warm temperatures, oxygen, and moisture. They consume the composted materials and their waste products are nutrient rich soil, which can then be used for your garden or other growing area.

Many biodegradable materials make great composting. For example, any foods that are not meat, like vegetable peelings and ends, coffee grinds, egg shells, and even non-food items like paper towels and napkins. But don’t include any meat, animal waste, animal bones, or anything that would foster harmful bacteria and microorganisms.

What’s Not Biodegradable?

o Most Plastics
o Styrofoam
o Metals
o Chemicals
o Paint
o Rubber
o Glass

Some Biodegradable Alternatives to Try

o Instead of plastic, try biodegradable plastics
o Instead of Styrofoam, see if you can bring your own biodegradable container to a restaurant
o Instead of plastic bags, use your own reusable cloth tote or satchel
o Instead of foil, use wax paper
o Instead of plastic straws, use paper ones

Double A Paper is 100% biodegradable. We’re proud to offer a product that won’t harm the Earth, but we’re even more focused on the process of producing it, from seed to sapling to the letter you place on someone’s desk. One of our most important guiding tenets is sustainability.

Order your Double A Paper from www.penny-wise.com and feel the difference.

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4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Home Office

4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Home Office

In these uncertain times, many of you are now finding yourself working from home. Our friends at Smead Manufacturing have shared these helpful tips on how you can create an enjoyable workspace at home.

Make-the-Most-of-Your-Home-Office

A home office is meant to be a place to work, whether you’re managing the business of life for you and your family or are lucky enough to have an employer who allows you the privilege to work from home. Creating the proper environment and spending your time wisely in your home office will save you time and stress.

1. Make It a Space You Enjoy – You probably spend a lot of time in your home office and you’ll want to create an environment that attracts you, versus repels you. Your space should be inviting as well as functional. Things for you to consider:

o Proper Lighting – Take advantage of natural lighting if you can. However, if you’re someone who prefers to work late in the evening, you’ll need good task lighting in order to lessen eye strain.

o Comfortable Chair – When you work from home, much of your time is spent sitting. Invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair. You’ll feel better and your back will thank you in the long run.

o A Desk Tailored for You – What do you plan to do at your desk? If your work is primarily done on a computer and entails very little paper, a small desk will do you well. However, if you like to spread out with paper reports and reference material close by, you might choose a larger desk or an L-shaped one. If it’s more comfortable for you to stand and work, consider an adjustable desk.

2. Keep Clutter to a Minimum – It can be a challenge not to have piles on your desk. There’s always more work than you can keep up with, and mail and paperwork are part of that. To lessen the impact:

o Inbox – Ensure you have one place for paperwork and other items to land until you can deal with them, i.e. an inbox. Incoming items like meeting notes, business cards, and items to read should be placed in your inbox, rather than dumping them in a pile on your desk. Set a weekly appointment on your calendar to go through your inbox and process the items inside — add items to your to-do list or calendar, enter into your contacts, create a project file, put in a portable “to-read” folder, etc. Keep in mind your inbox is a holding spot that’s meant to be emptied. It’s not a file cabinet!

o The 2-Minute Pick Up – Before leaving your office, spend two minutes throwing away obvious trash (coffee cups, food containers, random sticky notes, etc.), putting supplies like pens and paper clips back in their drawer or container, and jot down notes about what you need to do the next day. Clearing your head is just as important as clearing your physical space.

o Schedule File Time – No one likes to file paper, but it won’t magically file itself either. Create a file system that is easy to use and easy to access so that you can find what you need when you need it. Then schedule regular intervals to file the paperwork you need to keep.

3. Have the Right Tools – Sometimes having the right tool is half the job. If your home office includes outdated technology that you constantly have to troubleshoot, you could be wasting a lot of time. Yes there is a monetary cost to keeping up with current devices, but you won’t have to deal with the time cost (in addition to the frustration from a slow computer or internet connection) when everything is working properly. Besides your basic computer and printer, other good tools to consider:

o Office Supplies – These should be within easy reach and you should have a supply on hand so you don’t have to head to the store or await a delivery when you run out of something. A well-supplied office contains: pens, pencils, sticky notes, paper clips, binder clips, a stapler, a tape dispenser, file folders, mailing supplies, etc.

o Label Maker – Keep it close by and as common place as your stapler. You can label files folders, containers, shelves, drawers and other areas for easy identification of where everything goes. Your 2-minute pick up will be a breeze!

o Scanner – If you’re aiming to have less paper in your office, a good quality scanner will help get you there.

4. Create Structure and Routine – There are so many distractions when working in a home office, it’s easy to lose focus. Set-up routines that work for you and your particular situation.

o Determine your office hours and stick to them.
o Process emails at scheduled times rather than letting them overtake your day.
o Allow for breaks in your day so you can refresh and recharge.
o Have a system for tracking tasks and projects. (Random notepads and sticky notes are not a system.)
o Know your priorities so you’re less overwhelmed and can put time and energy into what is important.

Follow these 4 simple steps and you will find your home office can be a productive and stress-free environment!
Lori Krolik


Lori Krolik is a professional organizer and productivity specialist and founder of More Time For You. For over 18 years she’s helped residential and small business clients create systems out of their most serious clutter challenges. Whether its piles that prevent a home from functioning the way it should or paper piles that impede office productivity, Lori brings the expertise and insight needed to create an organized system that is personalized to a client’s space and lifestyle. Lori became a Certified Productive Environment Specialist in 2010 and is a long time member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers).

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