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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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environment

Recycling is good for business

What does your business do with the waste materials it produces? Have you even thought about it?

There are a surprising number of recycling options available – and many are listed by the business recycling website. This includes means of using those wastes to produce new products (the obvious recycling aspect) and ideas such as giving unused food to charity groups for direct reuse.

Personally, I believe in recycling as I hate seeing waste and hate perfectly good things filling up our tips. On top of that, there is the environmental aspect and a feel-good factor. However, for those who need a commercial justification for recycling business waste, here are a couple of points to consider:

  • if your local council restricts your bin size, you have to pay to remove your waste materials so recycling may save you money directly
  • more and more people care about the environment and ‘green’ practices so start recycling and tell people (potential customers) about it – it won’t generate sales in itself but may be the deciding factor between you and a competitor one day
  • your team will appreciate being able to ‘do their bit’ for the environment so they’ll be happier and have one less reason to leave
  • you may find recycling materials in-house gives you new product leads or saves you money, too. For example, making notepads for staff from old letterheads saves paper and the expense of buying notepads
  • it can give you a conversation starter or topics for blogging about – and sometimes new ideas are hard to come by!

Can you think of things to recycle? I’d love to hear of your ideas and successes – I may even copy some if applicable!

Climate Change is a business concern too

Today is Blog Action Day, with over 6,000 bloggers writing about  climate change and its impact on our world, and on us.

Maybe climate change, and protecting our environment, is something you think of at home or when choosing to buy local or low packaging options. Many people act as if environmental concerns don’t apply at work or in business, but we all need to think and act sustainably all the time and in all sorts of situations.

As a small business owner, here are some of the things I take into account:

  • amongst other reasons, I work from home because it saves any energy or pollution from commuting to an office somewhere else AND I only have one set of base consumption (e.g. I don’t heat an office and somewhere for my baby; I only need one computer for business and personal use)
  • I choose to reuse paper by using the back of documents and envelopes instead of notepads
  • I buy recycled paper products for printing
  • I email invoices and statements to save paper and printing – the computer is already on so sending an email is close to environmentally neutral
  • I read news items and articles online rather than buying paper versions – and rarely print copies of them
  • I use email and phone calls as much as possible for communicating with clients – again, this saves using a car or plane for meeting face to face
  • I turn off my computer, printer, etc when I finish for the day, and turn off my screen whenever I leave my desk for a while
  • I close the curtains as soon as it starts getting dark and cold – keeping the heat inside saves heating
  • I choose practical promotional items rather than gimmicky things that use resources to make but provide no real value. So I would prefer a pen, notepad, water bottle or bookmark to a plastic bracelet, inflatable toy, flag or fan

I’m sure there’s more as I care about my environmental impact, but the list shows how easy it can be to include environmental ideas into everyday business. While we may not be able to reverse climate change, I think we can slow it down considerably by taking individual responsibility in the little things as well as the big things.

In Copenhagen next month, world leaders will be making some decisions and agreements about topics around climate change. I just hope that everyone starts working on those targets straight away rather than waiting until the deadlines.

What have you done/are you doing in your business to help our planet? What suggestions do you have for other businesses?

Our new office

Over the weekend, we moved into our new office. It has been a long time coming, but it is wonderful to be here.

We’re still in the same building but the office itself has moved so we’re now on the north side of the house which means lots of natural light and winter sunshine. It is about double the size of our old office so we won’t be cramped any more, can fit in a third desk and even have floor space for the baby to play and crawl.

I am also looking forward to the luxury of adding a futon shortly so that I have somewhere to sit for proof reading and reading rather than staying at my desk (changing location does help when proof reading!)

You can see from the photo that we have a blue office (of course – it is the Word Constructions colour as well as being a peaceful colour to look at all day) and that not everything is unpacked yet. And look at all that spare shelving, too!

It was an interesting exercise preparing for this move. When planning rooms in our home, we take time to choose colours and surfaces, adding furniture and decorations to make it a nice environment. Yet so many home offices are based on putting a desk into any spare space.

Planning our new office gave me the chance to really think about what I wanted – I realised  that I spend more waking time in the office than any other room so surely it should be the room I put the most thought and effort into setting up. So we modelled different layouts, spent time agonising over paint colours, contemplated various floor coverings and I am getting new desk organisers.

Now we’re here, I will also choose some nice art to go on the wall instead of just business registrations and useful information – of course we don’t have a lot of wall with so much shelving and window, but there’s enough to add touches that make it a nice place to be.

As a writer, I am excited about a large window and nice art to stare at when thinking or looking for inspiration!

I’m also going to get myself a white board so I can write reminders and ideas on it. I prefer that to bits of paper because it is environmentally friendlier, will be highly visible and can’t get lost under other papers/books/baby toys/etc.

If you have a home office, when is the last time you put effort into how it looks and functions? Have you considered the importance of making your work area pleasant and welcoming for you? You’ll probably find that many expenses associated with improving your work area are tax deductible, too – I know my new desk area will improve my productivity (in fact it already has!)

Choosing your environment

One of the factors influencing your happiness and success is the environment you find yourself in – and you do have control over it.

I recently read a blog post by Donna-Marie which reminded me of the impact people have on your life. I honestly believe that if you surround yourself with positive people, you will have a more positive attitude and are likely to find solutions and opportunities. Which of course means that if you spend lots of time with negative, no-hope people, it is much harder to reach your potential and feel happy.

This can impact many of your choices, such as:

  • make sure you employ staff who are positive and creative rather than complainers
  • only attend seminars and networking events where you feel a positive environment – if group members are not supportive or encouraging, you probably won’t benefit much from spending time with them
  • if choosing between two suppliers, pick the one who has a can-do attitude or enthusiasm over the one who makes the project sound like hard work or an interruption to their schedule
  • only use a coach or mentor who believes in success and finding solutions

Who you associate with can even impact on your writing style – positive people use words like “can”, “will”, “value” and “ideas” which inspire you and make your writing positive, too.

Have you ever experienced an obvious change by changing who is around you?

I once knew some people who couldn’t  help themselves from lying and adjusting perceptions to maintain their view of reality. Their behaviour made me uncomfortable and I didn’t like being unable to trust them, so I made a conscious decision to not associate with them. There was actually a great sense of relief when they were no longer part of my life, and I have taken care since to choose who I spend time with whenever possible.