We talk a lot about how to reduce needless consumerism and waste in your homes over the holiday, but there are a number of ways that the same goals can be applied in an office or work environment as well. Bringing the holiday spirit into the workplace is (we think) important. It can raise morale, help people reduce their stress level and generally create goodwill among employees. However, it’s always nice to think about the ways in which consumerism plays into all facets of our life, including the workplace. Here are five easy ways to reduce consumerism and waste this holiday season at work.
Reuse Last Year’s Decorations: Perhaps your office isn’t one of them, but we know plenty of offices where each year the holiday decorations are thrown out and then new ones are purchased. Make sure that you’re saving the holiday decorations in the storage closet from year to year just like you would at home!

Company Holiday Cards: Most businesses send out holiday cards to their best clients or customer list. Consider doing this in a more eco friendly way. Sending an electronic holiday card may not be in line with your brand philosophy, but if that’s the case, please use cards made out of recycled paper. As an added benefit, your customers will appreciate your concern for the planet.
Plan Office Snacks and Parties Appropriately: We get it! You don’t want your employees feeling badly if there isn’t enough food and beverage at the office holiday party. However, be aware of how much food typically gets wasted at these events and consider reducing how much you order by ten percent or so. Honestly, how many trays of appetizers got displaced last year?
No Secret Santa! Despite what Julie the overly energetic office manager will tell you, if you ask around you will find that the actual number of employees who love Secret Santa exchanges versus the number of employees who participate in them because they feel they have to is actually quite a small number versus quite a large number. Drop the Secret Santa program, or limit it to environmentally conscious items. Most Secret Santa gift exchanges end up getting regifted or thrown out anyway!
Don’t Burn Holiday Lights All Day Long: Yes, a holiday tree or other light-up feature in the office is very festive, we agree. The question is, is it really necessary to burn those lights all day long? Consider leaving them on during high traffic times through the common areas such as the start and end of the work day and lunch hour. If you do leave them on all day, please remember to fully unplug them when they get turned off rather than just flip a switch to turn them off.
See, it’s not that hard! Even if you only enacted one of these pieces of advice, you’d be making a big difference in your office’s environmental impact this holiday season. Have another idea? Like us on Facebook and tell us about it!
Looking for ways to spend less and celebrate more this holiday season? Download our free holiday guide, A Very Postconsumer Holiday, for a complimentary how-to on doing just that!