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5 Ways to Reduce your Business’ Carbon Footprint this Autumn

In June, the UK became the first major economy to pass a law requiring net-zero emissions by 2050.

So, what steps can be taken to do this effectively?

No matter what size your business is, there are big and small changes that can be implemented to help the UK reaches its 2050 target.

Here are 5 ways to reduce your Business’ carbon footprint this Autumn:

1. Waste Management

Zero waste is more than just a buzzword nowadays, instead, it’s become something a lot of people strive towards. Ultimately, it’s clear that cutting out waste would definitely go a long way in helping the environment, and there are a number of things that can be put in place to begin doing this. Bear in mind it’s not feasible to go completely zero waste all in one go, but businesses can gradually reduce their production of landfill rubbish by dealing with waste in a more environmentally responsible way.

Recycling is a great green initiative, but it’s only really effective when there’s a good scheme and system in place. Starting with basic paper and card rubbish, arguably the most visible of office waste, and then moving into other materials, is more effective than dealing with everything in one go. With this in place, it’s simply a question of having well labelled and visible bins.

However, reducing and reusing are ultimately the most effective steps for a business who wants to become zero waste. Plastic waste often finds itself at the forefront of discussions surrounding climate change, and for good reason. The confusion and difficulties surrounding plastic recycling means we often fail to do it, and consequently, only 9% of plastic is recycled. This is why we’re seeing more initiatives encouraging the ban (or at least the severe reduction) of single-use plastic – something businesses can easily support too. If your office has a canteen, phasing out the use of plastic cutlery and straws in favour of metal ones is a simple but effective way to reduce landfill waste. Likewise, encouraging staff to replace disposable plastic bottles with reusable ones is another small but important way of reducing your carbon footprint.

Quills Secure Data Destruction service can support your businesses recycling and waste management strategies. We can review your current arrangements and propose a tailored compliant solution to match your budget, needs and most importantly, environmental targets. Simply click here to find out more.

2. Travel & Transport

Travel and transport are the most talked-about carbon footprint contributors. Travelling for business, particularly flying, is well established to have a substantial impact on the environment. But the good news is, we live in a society with a number of great alternatives available to ensure your business isn’t hindered by distance. Of course, utilising public transport for closer trips is always a good option, but you should also consider video conferencing in place of flying long distances. Not only will this cut down emissions, but you’ll also find it cuts down your company’s travel costs.

That said, when it comes to company transport, there’s quite a lot to consider. Not only are the commutes of your employees an important factor, but it’s also worth looking at the fuel consumption related to the transportation of your company’s goods and services. Green initiatives like cycle-to-work schemes can inspire more eco-friendly methods of staff commuting. At Quills, for example, we use new vans which are all low emission and comply with ULEZ standards. We also plan our delivery routes every day to ensure the lowest cumulative mileage and maximum fuel efficiency.  For your outsourcing needs, courier services such as Gophr offer a greener choice with their optimised system of pairing vehicles to deliveries depending on the size and weight of the consignment. A programme like this ensures a large van isn’t used when a bicycle will do, and as such, provides a much eco-friendlier service.

3. Energy

It’s an inconvenient fact, but energy consumption is one of the biggest environmental impactors, particularly for business. Lighting, heating, powering appliances, web hosting – these are all fossil fuel burning activities that can be easily overlooked when it comes to accounting for a company’s carbon footprint. The solution to this doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul in office operations. As the days get darker, proper lighting becomes even more important. Simply switching to more energy-efficient lights with an automatic shutdown or dimmer option is a great solution that will have a lasting impact on your office’s carbon footprint, as well as on your energy bill.

There’s no need for your efforts to stop at lighting changes. In the future, you’ll find increasingly more companies migrating to green web hosting services, like GreenGeeks or DreamHost, who consciously make use of eco-friendly initiatives to lessen their overall environmental impact. By utilising these sorts of options for your web hosting needs, you can start to combat the CO2 emissions of your internet use.

4. Sustainable Supply Chain 

A proportion of a business’ carbon emissions is found within its supply chain. Any goods a company purchases – stationery, paper, computers, food etc – all come with a carbon footprint associated with their respective production and delivery. There is no easy way of accounting for the CO2 emissions at every step in the supply chain of every item bought for your office, but more often than not, a business can become greener simply by being eco-conscious and opting for overall more sustainable suppliers.

As a stationery and office supplies supplier, we continuously look for eco-friendly alternative products to provide for our customers. We have recently launched a new environmentally friendly promotional merchandise range which enables businesses to provide exciting and unique branded gifts such as pencils made from recycled money, pens made from CD cases and sustainable cups made from bamboo plant fibres – see the full range here.

5. Plan and Engage

The best way of ensuring the successful implementation of eco-friendly initiatives is by having a comprehensive and feasible plan in place. In order to do this, however, it’s important to know which areas are in need of the biggest improvement. The most logical starting point is to understand how substantial your business’ carbon footprint is right now. By combing through your latest energy and water bills, you should be able to gather a fair picture of your biggest areas of consumption, enabling the setting of realistic targets.

However, a business can only effectively reduce its carbon footprint if it has support from both above and below. This is why engagement is also important. After all, these recommended steps can only be successfully implemented if employees adhere to them. Introducing eco-friendly measures alongside an explanation to your staff as to why these changes are happening, will make them more likely to be effective. Likewise, actually getting your employees involved with going green through competitions or incentives will work wonders in ensuring any green initiatives are respected and followed.  It’s important to remember, there’s no need to bombard your company with hundreds of go-green schemes. When properly implemented, even small changes will result in worthwhile reductions to your business’ carbon footprint. For more environmentally friendly tips, head over to Quills eco-tips page.

If you have any questions about Quills recycling or waste management service or would like to receive a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at hello@quillsuk.co.uk.

Find Quills in the Evening Standard & win a £50 Love2Shop voucher

Are you going to be in London on Tuesday 24th September? Pick up your copy of the Evening Standard and look out for Quills feature in the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ article (psst…it’s just past the middle pages!).

We’ve snuck a hashtag in the article and your job is to tag us in a post on Twitter or Facebook and comment what the hashtag was we used for your chance to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher!

You must also be following the account you used to submit your entry.

Entries are open until Sunday 29th September 2019 and the winner will be announced on Monday 30th September.

Good luck!

 

Terms and conditions:

  1. Entries should be based in the UK&I and must not be a Quills employee
  2. Closing date for entries is 11.59 pm on the 29/09/19
  3. Only one entry per person can be submitted on Twitter and Facebook
  4. A winner will be selected at random on the 30/09/2019 and the winner will be notified via the relevant social media channel that their entry was submitted on
  5. Entries must be submitted via Quills UK Facebook or Quills UK Twitter and the participant must be following the social media account used to qualify
  6. A £50 Love2Shop voucher will be sent to the winner by post and no cash alternative or prize will be provided
  7. Quills Group is a trading name for Quills Office Supplies Ltd and our registered address is Unit 2 Spitfire Business Park, 1 Hawker Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 4WD

How to keep your employees happy and motivated at work

As a business owner, it’s easy to focus solely on your customers, your reputation and profit. However, one of the keys to a successful business is ensuring that your employees are well-taken care off and are happy in their workplace. Here are a few simple tips for keeping your employees happy and motivated at work… 

Do you have the right tools to succeed?

Employees must be equipped with the right tools in order to succeed, regardless of their industry. This includes the correct IT equipment (such as computers or laptops, smartphones etc) and the right knowledge to be able to communicate effectively. If your employees can talk about your business confidently, and operate efficiently; your customers may be more likely to trust and use your business in the future.

Invest in your employees through training programs

Employees naturally want to develop their skills and it’s important to provide training facilities to enable them to grow. There are plenty of free educational training courses available online so take a look at what they’d like to do and how this will benefit them and the business.

Thank your employees and recognise good work

Saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way – it’s easy and most importantly, costs nothing. By simply saying thanks to your employees, it will make them feel that their hard work has been recognised and appreciated. Different companies operate different ‘Reward Schemes’ where you can tailor and personalise your thank you to the employee. The key for a good Manager is not to forget to do this as in the long run you will probably retain your staff for longer.

Implement a reward scheme (it doesn’t have to break the bank!)

Recognition schemes are a great way to keep your employees motivated and will also encourage some friendly competition in the office. Reward schemes don’t have to break the bank, set a budget and let your employees choose what kind of rewards they would like to win to ensure that any money spent isn’t wasted. Keep your businesses culture in mind – what do your employees like doing in their personal time? Where do your employees like to go for social events? If your team often go for dinner, reserve a table at a local restaurant. If your team like to go to the pub, book a cocktail making class or something similar at a local bar. Having rewards your employees actually value, will give them something to aim for and achieve.

Be open and available

Your employee’s mindset and mental health is something that is often overlooked, but this should most certainly be a priority for business owners and managers. Having a friendly managerial team can change the entire dynamic of an office and your employees will feel that they can approach you with any issues or concerns they may be facing. As well as the managerial team, encourage an ‘open office’ dynamic where the entire team can liaise with each other and in turn encourage team working ‘one goal’ and all pulling together.

Set a good work-home life balance

Whilst it’s important to ensure that your employees are being productive throughout the day, it’s equally important to encourage a good work and home life balance. Scheduling or calling your employees in the evenings or over the weekend can cause them to feel demotivated and overworked. You have full control over how your employees work out of hours and can even set up policies that stop employees checking their emails whilst on holiday!

Keep it fresh

Getting into a routine at work is very easy, especially when you have to do the same tasks or checks over and over again! Be creative and switch up the routine frequently to keep your employees engaged and productive. For example: go out for meetings, mix it up between team brainstorming sessions and private thinking time or even let your employees work from home for a change of scenery.

Hushhubs are also a great solution for creating an alternative space for your employees to work. Hushhubs can come in all shapes and sizes, from telephone booths suitable for one person or large closed-off areas which can accommodate groups. Head over to our interiors site here to find out more about our Hushhub range.

Offer responsibility and new challenges

It’s unlikely that you’ll find an employee who wants to stay in the same role, doing the same tasks day in day out for life. Don’t be scared to give your employees new challenges and responsibilities. It’s good to get them out of their comfort zone and try new things and develop in new areas. As long as they’re supported, they’ll make valuable contributions to the business and bring new, fresh ideas.

In summary, when people are engaged in their roles and in the business, they’re working for, it means better morale, a better atmosphere, less staff absence and greater productivity levels.

Croydon Business Awards

Quills are finalists for the SME Business Excellence Award!

We are delighted to share that Quills has made it to the finals for the Croydon Business Awards, SME Business Excellence category.

After a very busy five years with four acquisitions, a full rebrand and various other challenging internal projects we decided to enter the Croydon Business Awards for the first time. We answered the five questions which formed ‘round one’ and were delighted to find out that we’d successfully made it through to ‘round two’ as a finalist and answered a further six questions supplying supporting documentation.  We also attended a face to face interview on Friday 6th September at Croydon College to complete the final stage of the competition.

Jerry Irving, independent adjudicator and business consultant praised the high quality of submissions and said “2019 has seen more entries than ever and the overall standard was excellent. Deciding who should go through to the next round was very tough as several categories were hotly contested, including SME Excellence, Women in Business, Customer Service and Digital, Data and Technology.” Read the full Croydon Business Excellence shortlist article here.

Quills supports the community and will always looks to use a variety of local suppliers including Square Mile Insurance Brokers, The Studio (design company), VOW (wholesale), Step Ahead Recruitment, Wallington Couriers and The Hilton Hotel to name but a few. We also support the future of tomorrow by taking on work experience students and recently recruited a local Croydon digital marketing professional who had just completed an apprenticeship and was looking for her next challenge.

The winners from each of the 14 categories will be announced on Thursday 3rd October at the Gala Dinner & Charity Ball being held at the Grand Sapphire Hotel.

Good luck to everyone who has entered and Quills have everything crossed for our category and a positive outcome!

Five reasons to invest in a coffee machine for the office

Your employees work hard during the day so it’s important to create a space within the office that they can feel comfortable in, and what better way is there to relax than sitting comfortably with a nice, fresh hot cup of coffee?

In our latest blog, we’ve explored some of the top reasons why adding a coffee machine to your workplace is a positive move and explain the different machines available.

Boost your employee morale

Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are happy in the office and we all know how important those first few cups of tea and coffee are to kick start your day. After all, a happy employee equals a productive one! Andrew Sykes Ltd recently found that 48% of companies do not offer free tea or coffee to their employees yet over 59% of workers said that free coffee and tea is the most appealing perk a workplace can offer.

Make your clients will also feel welcome

It’s not just your employees that will benefit from a coffee machine, your clients will also be impressed and see that not only do you care about looking after your employees, you also want to create the right the first impression.

Reduce the amount of time spent on the daily ‘tea round’

A fresh hot drink always goes down a treat at work and at Quills, we particularly love a good cup of tea or coffee in the morning and afternoon. But how much time do your employees waste when making 15 different drinks and waiting for the kettle to boil? Let your new automated machine reduce the time spent in the kitchen and have instant, delicious tasting drinks within seconds. We all smile and feel happy when we’re about to take that first sip of our hot drink and even more so if it’s a speciality coffee (mmmm).

Get through those Monday morning blues

Even the dullest Monday mornings can be improved with a delicious cup of coffee. Need we say anymore?

Improve mental health

Various studies have shown that coffee doesn’t just improve physical health, it also has a positive impact on our mental health. This is because coffee releases dopamine (the hormone that makes us feel happy) so it’s good for your employees if they’re having a bad day and it’s good for everyone else that they work with.  Happy employees, happy office!

 

Which machine is right for our office?

There are a number of coffee machines available that are suitable for offices of all sizes, whether you have three or 300 employees. But all that coffee jargon surrounding bean to cup coffee and filter machines doesn’t make the selection process an easy one. So, we’ve simplified the process for you and here are our top recommendations:

1. Compare the features, style and size

Key things to consider include:

  • Coffee preference: Would you prefer fresh filter coffee or bean to cup coffee?
  • Quantity/staff headcount: Will you be making five cups a day or 200 cups a day?
  • Location: How much space is available in your staff room?
  • Plumbed or unplumbed?
  • Fresh milk or powdered? Do you know the advantages of these options?
  • What type of bean would you like? Mild roast or medium, Fairtrade or triple certified?

Our coffee experts can visit you to talk through your option and recommend some suitable machines and once you’ve decided on a machine, we can provide a free site survey to ensure the environment and plumbing will be suitable.

2. How much do you want to spend?

The price of coffee machines vary and a quote can be tailored for your desired machine upon your request. We’d suggest having a pre-determined budget in mind so that you can see what is available at that price before you buy. Also, take into consideration the cost of extra optional accessories that can assist the machine such as heated cup storage or a milk fridge.

 Start exploring?

Quills provide a range of coffee machines and other beverage solutions including juice dispensers, hot chocolate machines, hot water boilers and much more for you to explore. Our extensive range means that there is something for every office and every budget.

Simply click here to explore our full range or get in touch for your free quote today!

How can Managed Print Services (MPS) benefit my business?

For the majority of businesses, printing is an essential function. However, what most businesses probably don’t know is that the approach you take towards printing can heavily impact the overall costs, productivity levels, ROI, workflow and much more within your organisation.

What is Managed Print Services?

Managed Print Services is the active management and optimisation of document output devices and related business processes.  Sounds technical right? Don’t worry, that’s where a print business partner can help to guide you through the options available.

In summary, MPS solutions are designed to streamline your print and post processes as well as reduce downtime so that your business can work more effectively.

What is the process involved?

Our handy diagram below illustrates how the MPS process works and ultimately, how each stage of the process can benefit your business:

How will MPS benefit my business?

  • Reduce ‘Local’ printers

Your multi-function printer may already be able to print, copy, scan and fax but adding Document Management Solutions will not only multiply your productivity but could save you as much as 30% on your total document costs. But not only that, having an effective print solution in place can simplify and automate your everyday tasks, improve document security, enable new revenue and so much more.

Most multi-function printers also require unique cartridges which are more costly and have inventory tracking challenges. Eliminating these traditional printer frustrations will not only reduce time, but it will help you meet your environmental goals.

  • Analyse your printing needs

Is your IT Department spending time analysing your printer fleet?  This probably isn’t the best use of their time and FREE audits are available to help you with this.

MPS providers are experts in this field and can conduct a fully comprehensive evaluation of your print environment, document infrastructure and workflows to develop a road map for your future ideal state, including cost savings and projections. Providers such as Quills Limpio will also support you through the transition process and securely connect everything to your IT environment.

  • Manage remote printing

An easy to view dashboard can provide a snapshot of historical data, current and new status events. Your print partner would monitor your printer fleet for you, notifying you of any maintenance issues and email you when ink cartridges are running low. Automatic discovery of network printers (no manual entry required) and this monitoring can be applied onto secure networks.

  • Added levels of security

With legislation such as GDPR in full swing, it’s important not to overlook your printers and printer network within the office as this is where a huge amount of personal data is produced. Your MPS partner will walk you through how to ensure print jobs are secure.  Print jobs can be activated by card or by a unique pin number, can be produced with a file name, date, time and watermarks meaning a document is never lost and can be traced back to the author. Documents and personal data are kept secure and GDPR safe as they aren’t printed until you’ve entered your unique password.

 

Have you considered Eco Printing?

However big or small your printing needs may be, eco printing can take the headache out of managing your printing as well as eliminate traditional printer frustrations. It involves Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) technology which uses super-high-yield ink supply units for printing up to 84,000 pages between ink charges. The benefits of this include:

  • 96% less energy than laser printers
  • 94% less waste than laser printers
  • 92% less Co2 emissions than laser printers

 

MPS can come in a variety of forms and can be completely tailored to suit your businesses requirements. Quills Limpio has flexibility at the heart of its service and are not tied to one manufacturer meaning that we can work with you and make unbiased recommendations to provide the best results and return on investment for your business. With flexibility at the heart of our service, we are able to tailor packages to your exact requirements for your photocopier, multi-functional devices and/or franking machines, ultimately helping you to achieve your GDPR compliant business objectives.

Why not take a look at our new 2019 brochure or get in touch for more information?

Get prepared for Stationery Shop Saturday

So, it’s day 6 of National Stationery Week 2019 and this year we’re celebrating Stationery Shop Saturday! Let’s face it, most of us have a favourite pen, a beloved battered notebook or even a well chewed pencil that we always have close at hand at our workplace.

In honour of Stationery Shop Saturday, why not celebrate and give those old friends a rest and try out some of the fab alternatives that are available over at Quills? If you haven’t got an account, simply send us a message on Live Chat or email sales@quillsuk.co.uk and we’ll set one up for you.

Here are some of our top tips on great 2019 stationery trends to look out for:

COLOURFUL
You don’t need to limit yourself to black or blue ink: using highlighters or coloured ball pens is a known and proven way of managing projects (‘Bullet Journaling’ to give it its proper name), allowing you to visually track jobs as you progress them.

HANDWRITTEN
Agreed, the heyday of letter writing may be long over, but that’s no reason to abandon it altogether! Why not make an employee or customer feel special by sending them a written card congratulating them on a piece of work rather than just lazily sending a mass text or email to everyone on your smartphone?

MAKE A STATEMENT
On the subject of envelopes don’t limit yourself to white or manila – why not choose a brightly coloured one instead? This is great for personal mail, but it’s also a proven hit for business mail as well and is far less likely to be binned-without-opening – could you resist the lure of a silver envelope?

LABEL LOVE
Keeping on the mailing theme, don’t just bung on a bog standard label – give it some love by adding your company logo, a graphic or 2, and use a legible but more personal looking scripted font – ‘Angelina’ is one of our favourites! The DYMO label machine, for example, is extremely quick and easy to use!

10 Interesting Stationery Facts That You Probably Never Knew!

Office essentials can be more interesting than they seem, trust us! A huge number of the UK’s workforce are using stationery day in and day out, but how much do they really know about the world of office supplies? In honour of #NationalStationeryWeek, we’ve explored some awesome facts about stationery that you probably never knew!

  • Post it notes were not invented, they were created by accident

Spencer Silver was working away back in 1968 trying to create a strong adhesive but could only come up with a very weak adhesive that could be removed without leaving behind any marks and the world of post-it notes was born!

 

  • Pencils have proven mightier than pens

The average lead pencil can draw a continuous line for approx. 35 miles. However, if you would like to test this, we would suggest bringing along a handful of sharpeners too and film it as we’d love to see it!

 

  • Yellow highlighters account for around 85% of all sales

As yellow is in the middle spectrum of visible light, yellow ink highlighters work really well for people with colour blindness and this is one of the biggest reasons for the high quantities of yellow highlighters ordered.

 

  • The world’s most expensive pen sold for 8 million dollars

Back in 2010, the ‘Fulgor Nocturnus’ pen sold for 8 million dollars at a Shanghai auction and was decorated with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies. What we want to know is, did the owner actually use it or simply just admire it!

 

  •  45 million ink cartridges are sent to landfill sites in the UK

In summary, to help you visualise this fact, it would cover the Manchester’s United football ground at Old Trafford, 17 times.

 

  • One pine tree can make just over 80,000 sheets of paper

 

  •  Pen lids cause an average of 100 deaths a year

How many times have you been told off by a teacher or employee for chewing on a pen-lid? Here’s why! To help people breathe, many pen manufacturers now put holes in the pen lids to help prevent choking.

 

  • Before rubbers were created, stale bread was used!

This works, honest we’re not pulling your leg! Why not try it out for yourself next time you leave a loaf in the cupboard for too long?

 

  • Pencils can also write underwater

Yes, it’s true a pencil will also work in water although, we’re not sure how well the paper will fare. What’s more, pencils can also write in zero gravity!

 

  • Staplers were originally called ‘Hotchkiss’

The stapler was initially named after the company, E.H. Hotchkiss of Norwalk who invented it.

 

So now we’ve enlightened you to a few fun facts about the world of stationery you can tell all your friends what you’ve learnt!  One other key fact is that some Office Supplies providers like Quills can simplify the ordering process as your one stop shop for all your office services. Take a look at all our services here.

How to make meetings more productive

Out-of-the-box thinking doesn’t happen in a box…right? In this article, we consider some different ways to help reignite the motivation for attending those weekly or monthly meetings.

Some people might say that most meetings in the workplace are often pointless and attendees feel anxious as there are always deadlines to meet and work that needs to be done. But what if the problem isn’t the actual meeting itself but more the environment and layout that it’s being held in which can sometimes be formal and uninviting…

Take a look at our tips for making meetings more inviting…

1. Only hold meetings if they’re essential

Save meetings for projects that are a necessity and for when all the team can get involved. If it can be replaced by a telephone call or an email, don’t hold it. If the meeting does need to be held, be conscious of time and try to keep it short – schedule no longer than 45 minutes per meeting so that employees recognise that you value their time and have an agenda.

2. Don’t get into a routine

If you schedule meetings for the same time every week, in the same location; eventually employee motivation and interest is going to plummet. If you want your team to find a solution to a task or you’re working on a long project, then you need to mix it up a little, try mornings and afternoons and see which time provides the best engagement and ideas. Consider carrying out some meetings outside of the office, perhaps in a coffee shop or over some lunch.

3. Is your meeting space inviting and inspiring for ideas?

If not, it might be worth considering re-decorating your meeting room and introducing some artwork to make it a more welcoming space for being creative. According to Forbes, 78% of respondents in a survey of over 800 employees working for 32 U.S companies claimed that art in the workplace helped reduce their stress.

4. Consider standing desks

Employees spend most of their working day sitting at a desk so it’s not particularly motivating to move from one rolling chair to another. It’s been mentioned time and again that sitting does you no good… yet the same is true about standing all day! What you really want to do is alternate between the two with the help of a sit-stand desk. This will ultimately help you reduce the health risks posed by both. Consider ditching the standard table and chair set up and opt for this healthier way of working. Meetings may then seem like a refreshing change of scenery.

5. Informal workspace meetings

Sometimes a formal meeting isn’t required, have you thought about introducing informal employee workspaces where ideas can be brought to life away from your desk without the need to be in a meeting room? Curious? Take a look at some ideas here or check out this brochure for inspiration.

6. Offer incentives and rewards


Competitions and mini-games can be a great way to encourage enthusiasm and attendance for meetings. After all, everyone loves a freebie. Giving away snacks and refreshments during the meeting will generate interest and depending on your budget, consider rewards for the best ideas that are brought to the table.