Often times, the Office Manager is on the front lines of a continuous battle between those employees who value convenience and those who prioritize environmental impact. From balancing the office’s budget to fielding all types of employee complaints, the Office Manager is almost always stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As with any daunting task, it’s best to start small.And implementing a Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle initiative is a great place to start.
Rather than stocking and restocking sky-scrapers of plastic cups in your kitchen, reduce your plastic waste exponentially by encouraging employees to take their favorite canteen into work with them. This BYOB approach will not only save the Office Manager time, but save money — money that can be reinvested in something everyone in the office will love, like fruit or snacks!
Don’t left the office kitchen battles continue: check out these 5 tactful ways to get everyone on board — and even excited about — the new BYOB initiative.
Green Strategy #1: Form an eco-minded task force
Remember: there’s strength in numbers.
Whether you’re an Office Manager or an environmentally-conscious employee, it’s best to have a team of people behind you when proposing a new and drastic change to life at the office.
Don’t face the rebuttals and complaints alone. Gather a squad, inform them of the change and its rationale, and let the company know that there’s a whole group of excited employees ready to answer any questions that may come up.
Especially at larger companies, where it’s unlikely everyone knows each other on a first name basis, try to involve a few people from each department in your sustainability task force. Employees are more likely to trust and support the people they work with everyday than a faceless email announcement from someone they’ve never met.
Before kicking-off your BYOB program, be sure to form a squad of people who can help hype up its positive, environmental impact, as well as field any comments or concerns different departments may have.
For some offices, getting rid of plastic cups might be as simple as never buying them again. In other offices, however, the transition might not be as smooth. If you’re worried about an impromptu employee mutiny, there are several ways to ease your office into a more zero-waste approach to water cooler talk.
After launching your BYOB program, try leaving only a small stack of plastic cups in plain sight. Chances are, many folks won’t go looking — or won’t know where to look — when the stack disappears. This will help to incentivize people to bring in their bottles, since having to find and restock the plastic cups is more effort than carrying your own bottle. You might get some annoyed comments about the lack of cups over Slack, but stay strong! Tell these folks where they can find more cups, but don’t restock them yourself.
If your office isn’t equipped with reusable glassware, keeping an emergency pack of single-use cups on hand is kind of a must — especially if you frequently have visitors. In this case, stash the solo cups away in a secret cabinet or drawer, and reveal them only when you’re expecting guests.
Green strategy #3: Get custom bottles made for your office
If you’ve got the budget, this is a no brainer.
What better way to launch your BYOB initiative than to purchase a personalized or company-branded (or both!) reusable bottle for each of your employees.
Many companies that are both getting a Bevi and moving into a completely new office space like to include reusable bottles as part of a ‘Welcome to Your New Office’ gift for each employee. Broadly speaking, moving into a new space is the perfect occasion to put new, eco-friendly systems in place!
While not every office has the funds to purchase bottles for everyone, there are many work-arounds. Water proof stickers are a simple and affordable way to get employees hyped about showing off their newly decorated reusable bottle around the office. Have your designers create a whole series of stickers to pick and choose from, or get everyone a decal of their name. Another solution is to work with your team to select and design a bottle that people can order on their own if they so choose — this works well in offices in which most people already have a favorite bottle, and may not need the company topurchase one for them.
Once your custom bottles arrive, encourage folks to leave them at work. With shiny, new reusable bottles on their desks, the die-hard plastic cup users will surely become BYOB champions.
Green Strategy #4: Reinforce — and reward! — positive behaviors
At Bevi, we love giving shoutouts over Slack or in our HR portal, Namely.
Ever heard of intermittent reinforcement conditioning? If you haven’t, all you need to know is this: it works! As foreign as this term may sound, chances are it’s something you’re already doing in the office. Each time you randomly give a shoutout to an employee over Slack, you are using the power of intermittent conditioning to motivate and reinforce positive behaviors!
The true beauty of intermittent conditioning lies in the fact that you only have to reward behaviors occasionally in order to reinforce them. In knowing that they might get recognition for their positive behavior, employees will start to make good habits part of their normal routine, whether it’s helping to clean out the fridge or bringing their reusable bottle into work.
Don’t take this the wrong way: we’re not suggesting you treat your co-workers like Pavlov’s dogs!
All we’re saying is that highlighting or rewarding someone who has brought their reusable bottle into work is a really great way to motivate that individual — and others — to keep your BYOB initiative going strong.
Green Strategy #5: Proudly share positive results
A toast, to all those who use a reusable bottle. Cheers!
Similar to Green Strategy #4, keep your BYOB program top-of-mind by frequently sharing how it has positively impacted your office and beyond.
In addition to a company-wide email or appreciation post, go big and briefly share results in the next All Hands meeting. If eliminating plastic cups has saved you enough money to buy more snacks for your office, put a sign on the fridge or water cooler explaining how the new treats are the fruits of your office’s collective labor!
For companies that have an explicitly environmental mission, your newly instated BYOB initiative could be a great occasion to brag about your company’s awesomeness on social media. Some companies might even opt to highlight an eco-warrior of the month; in other words, give a shoutout to an employee that has gone above and beyond when it comes to keeping things green at work.
Whether you’re a small startup or an international corporation, a Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle initiative is a simple and effective way to reduce your office’s footprint.
Food preferences may vary from person to person, but one thing is for sure: everyone loves a company-sponsored catered lunch.
And while these occasions are a great opportunity for the team to come together and bond over a hearty plate of nachos, these events often put a huge amount of pressure on you, the Office Manager, who must spend hours planning every detail of the meal. From factoring in dietary restrictions to making sure there’s enough clean silverware to go around, there’s more than a few ways that things could go wrong.
That’s why we created this foolproof list of items that you should always have handy in the office kitchen. When the time comes to order catering, you’ll be more than ready for the long line of employees waiting for guacamole. Aside from getting you nominated as “Most Prepared,” these suggestions will also help you minimize both plastic and food waste in the office on a daily basis.
Whether you’ve planned a catered lunch for weeks or just put in a last minute order, here’s 19 things you should have on hand before the trays of Spicy Curry arrive in the lobby.
1. Salt and pepper
Despite the fact that they’re staples in any kitchen, salt and pepper are easy to forget when you’re taking inventory. Pro-tip: put the shakers at the end of the catering line, so people can season their lunch to their liking.
2. Pot holders, oven mitts, and hot pads
Even if you’re getting delivery, moving piping hot trays of lasagna from one side of the kitchen to the other can be quite the pain. Put on some mitts and grab some hot pads to make sure your lunch will be incident-free.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t serve soup with a fork. You just can’t. Keep the lunch line moving by having a variety of serving utensils on hand before that wonton soup even arrives at your door.
4. A bread knife and/or pizza cutter
Whether you’ve ordered a fresh loaf of bread or need to stretch a few more servings out of that pile of pizzas, a bread knife or pizza cutter will do the trick.
5. Sriracha, hot pepper flakes, or harissa
If you have spice-loving office mates, Sriracha, hot pepper flakes or harissa paste will surely satisfy their constant need to feel the burn. (For those who don’t know, harissa is a hot chili pepper paste originating from North Africa.)
6. Silverware, and lots of it!
You can never have enough reusable silverware in your office.
Forks and spoons may not be the first thing on your mind when onboarding 10 new hires, but silverware can really get sparse if you don’t keep track of inventory. Especially if your office has the magical ability to make silverware disappear, you may want to consider taking inventory more frequently.
For larger offices, buying enough reusable silverware for everyone may not be in the budget. In that case, check out these compostable silverware options.
7. Reusable glassware and mugs
As with silverware, it may be impossible for large offices to have enough reusable glasses for everyone. Encourage your co-workers to BYOB, or ‘Bring your own (Reusable) Bottle,’ and stay away from buying red solo cups for every office get together.
Never place another order for seltzer water. Bring Bevi to your office and get unlimited refills of still or sparkling flavored water on demand. Bevi is an eco-friendly alternative to bottles and cans because it allows your office to get customizable refills of flavored water using the reusable glassware right in your office kitchen.
9. Recyclable Napkins
These are relatively inexpensive, and easy to buy and store in bulk. Enlist a few of the office’s eco-warriors to help drop a few hints that these napkins belong in the recycling bin, not the trash.
10. Different sizes and types of compostable plates and bowls
Nothing is more annoying than eating ice cream on a plate. If your office likes to throw surprise sundae parties or eats an inordinate amount of chili, it’s probably in your best interest to have more than just large compostable plates on hand.
And remember: even if they’re compostable or recyclable, one-time use containers in your kitchen should be a last resort. Try to put any reusable dishware out first before breaking out the paper plates.
Finger food is not for everyone. Have a stash of toothpicks in the office kitchen and devour that fancy cheese tray with your cheese-loving co-workers.
12. Compostable straws
Who said happy hour can’t be eco-friendly hour as well? Before you start mixing drinks, be sure to have some 100% biodegradable straws on hand. They look and feel just like the plastic ones, letting you enjoy a guilt-free Thirsty Thursday with your co-workers.
13. Sign up for ezCater and download the app
Getting catered lunch for the office has never been easier. With ezCater, you can filter by food type, budget, and location, and see exactly which caterers are right for your office. Download the app before you do any party planning and explore all the different catering options in your area.
14. Menu card holders, index cards and a sharpie
While bigger catering orders might come with printed menu cards, consider making your own for smaller orders. Grab a few menu card holders, some index cards, and a sharpie, and write a label for each kind of burrito you ordered for the office. This is a quick and easy way to make sure you’ll never have to answer the question “What’s in this?” again.
15. Clearly labelled bins for trash, recycling and compost, and the appropriate bags
When there’s 25 hungry people waiting for tacos, recycling bins will probably be the last thing on your mind. Prepare yourself for the rapid influx of waste by keeping extra bags on hand or adding a second recycling or trash bin to the fold. If you have moveable bins, be sure to set them out in a clearly visible area and label them accordingly.
16. Office reusable containers
With office catering, it’s always better to have too much than too little. Rather than take up an entire shelf of your fridge with a half empty aluminum tray, transfer the food to a few Tupperware containers. Not only will this help to reduce food waste, but it will also help keep the food fresh.
17. Sponges and microfiber cleaning cloths
In most offices, paper towels are the go-to method for cleaning up spill, yet there are many inexpensive, eco-friendly alternatives. Get yourself a stack of microfiber cleaning clothes and a squad of sponges, and attack that chili spill with some eco-minded enthusiasm!
18. Extra seating and/or outdoor friendly seating
You’ve put so much effort into planning this company bonding session — don’t let people eat at their desks! While not every kitchen space can accommodate the entire company, there are several ways to get more people to eat together.
Have some folding chairs, camping chairs or extra benches in storage so your team can eat as an entire unit. If you access to a bit of space outside, you could even purchase a few folding picnic tables, allowing employees to enjoy a catered lunch in the open air.
19. Feedback survey
Keep up with your office’s catering preferences by collecting feedback each time you order out. There are many quick and easy ways to automate the feedback process that can be setup weeks in advance; use a Slack poll, create a brief google form or put together a survey on SurveyMonkey — you’ll thank yourself next time you have to place an order.
Do you have any go-to items in your office kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!
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