etiquette signs to save energy & boost your office morale
  • Category:
    Small Business Energy Savings
  • Published:
    February 7, 2020
  • Updated:
    February 22, 2022

Office Etiquette Signs That Help Save Energy

Office etiquette is the set of expectations for appropriate employee behavior in the workplace. But it’s more than just good manners and courtesy. Thoughtful office etiquette can also have a positive impact on the environment and save energy by directing the proper use of office equipment and facilities — from the lights and the printer to the kitchen and the bathroom.

Changing everyday behavior requires some reinforcement of the new habits, though. One simple way to help your staff make necessary changes is by hanging a few easy-to-make signs that offer simple tips for how to save energy and operate more sustainably.

4 steps for developing your business’s office etiquette

Even small changes in behavior can lead to improved energy efficiency in the workplace and help meet environmental objectives. You’ll need to approach change in the way that works best for your business, but there are four main steps that you may want to take:

  1. Clearly define your office rules and explain their importance. Make energy saving a part of your employee handbook and your staff onboarding process.
  2. Lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, so it’s important to always lead by example. Employees are more likely to follow your lead. If you turn off the lights, so will they.
  3. Place office etiquette signs around the office. Properly placed reminders keep energy saving top of mind and in context, such as water conservation signs in the kitchen and bathroom and turn-off-the-lights signs near switches.
  4. Reinforce the rules with positive feedback. Positive rewards are a powerful, productive way to keep energy saving on people’s minds.

Match office signs to your business

Energy-saving office etiquette works best when it fits your workplace culture. Although management can lead the establishment of workplace norms, making it a team effort will encourage change to happen faster and will make new energy-saving behavior truly stick.

Avoid using a negative, nagging tone. A positive approach with rewards works better. And don’t underestimate the power of humor to get attention and engage cooperation. Funny office etiquette signs help build company culture and energy-saving habits.

Printable office etiquette signs for businesses

The following energy conservation signs help establish and reinforce energy-saving office etiquette. Posting these signs around the workplace can help set expectations for your team and remind them that their individual efforts add up to big savings.

Energy conservation signs for the workplace

Implementing the habits below can cut energy consumption and extend the life of your office equipment. Including daily actions that are simple for your employees to follow will make energy savings more achievable.

You may want to include any or all of the following on your energy saving signs:

  • Turn off the lights when you leave.
  • Turn off devices and appliances when not in use.
  • Turn off your computer at the power strip at night.
  • Close doors when possible.
  • Adjust the A/C to a reasonable temperature.
  • Don’t hold the refrigerator door open.
  • Run the dishwasher at night.

energy conservation signs at work

Download the printable energy conservation sign for your workplace as a PDF

Water conservation signs for the workplace

Saving water also saves energy. Plumbing problems, whether a small faucet drip or a major leak, can mean wasted energy used to process, move and heat that lost water. And when your employees keep an eye out for water waste, they can also help prevent costly repair bills.

You may want to include any or all of the following on your water conservation signs:

  • Don’t leave faucets running while you do something else.
  • Report any leaks.
  • Turn off the water when you’re done.
  • Make sure the taps are shut.

water conservation signs at work

Download the printable water conservation sign for your workplace as a PDF

Sustainability signs for the workplace

Environmental sustainability signs are meant to establish and reinforce daily habits that affect the environment and the energy use of your business.

As you think about what’s right for your business, you may want to include some of the following energy-saving office etiquette tips:

  • Use reusable dishes and utensils.
  • Recycle.
  • Use environmentally friendly products.
  • Think twice before printing anything.
  • Turn off your desk devices at the power strip.
  • Limit paper towel use.

sustainability sign for the workplace

Download the printable sustainability sign for your workplace as a PDF

Bathroom etiquette signs for the workplace

You can save considerable energy in bathrooms, depending on the type and size of your business..

Bathroom etiquette reminders can go a long way. As you think about what’s right for your business, consider some of the following tips:

  • Don’t flush paper towels, feminine hygiene products or any other trash.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave.
  • Report running toilets or any leaks immediately.
  • For dual-flush toilets, use the small button to flush liquid waste and the big button to flush solid waste.

bathroom etiquette signs for work

Download the printable bathroom etiquette sign for your workplace as a PDF

Kitchen etiquette signs for the workplace

Kitchens are centers of high energy use in many workplaces. Invest in ENERGY STAR® major appliances and high-use small appliances, like an energy-efficient coffee maker.

Kitchens can be a source of major energy waste. A few energy conservation signs with kitchen etiquette suggestions can remind employees of best practices. You might want to add the following tips to the kitchen etiquette signs you tailor to your business:

  • Use reusable kitchen dishes and utensils.
  • Turn off kitchen appliances when not in use.
  • Don’t leave faucets running while you do something else.
  • Recycle what you can.
  • Don’t linger with the refrigerator door open.
  • Use paper towels sparingly.
  • Run the dishwasher at night.
  • Be sure to turn off the lights.

office kitchen etiquette sign

Download the printable kitchen etiquette sign for your workplace as a PDF

Refrigerator signs for the workplace

Refrigerators, even those with a good ENERGY STAR® rating, are the biggest users of electricity in most kitchens. The following energy-saving tips for office and commercial refrigerators can reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency:

  • Report if the refrigerator is broken.
  • Keep the refrigerator temperature at 35 to 38 F (freezers at 0 F).
  • Make sure to fully close the refrigerator door.
  • Don’t linger with the refrigerator door open.

refrigerator sign for the workplace

Download the printable refrigerator sign for your workplace as a PDF

Why is office etiquette important?

Office etiquette can be a powerful tool when organizations want to save energy or increase energy efficiency in the workplace. When combined with careful shopping for energy-efficient office equipment, how people behave in your workplace can cut hidden energy waste. Something as simple as asking people to turn off the lights when they leave the room saves energy with little effort, even if you’re already using energy-efficient commercial lighting.

For the minimal effort it takes to post office etiquette signs, you could:

  • Achieve energy savings for little to no money.
  • Extend the life of your office equipment and devices.
  • Bring awareness to the problem of conservation and recycling.
  • Adhere to environmental certification rules, such as the LEED rating system or B Corps.

And, even better, you may already qualify for small-business energy tax credits.

Your employees’ everyday behavior is the living expression of your business’s culture. Its values. Reinforcing what you believe in as a company with office etiquette signs is a visual reminder of what you stand for. Conserving energy, environmental stewardship, sustainability — these are values worth promoting.

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