Extreme Makeover O&P Edition

A simple office makeover can make your business more efficient and more marketable.
by Elizabeth Mansfield

Take a good look around your office. When was the last time it was painted or the carpets were cleaned – or replaced for that matter? What is the state of your magazine collection? Who is in charge of cleaning the windows? Be honest. Could your office use a makeover?

Think green

An office makeover requires a relatively small commitment of time and money. And since this column is all about marketing, think about what a great marketing message you are sending to your customers, your referral sources, target markets and your current and future employees.

Since “going green” is so hot right now – and is an excellent marketing tactic – the main focus of our Extreme Makeover O&P Edition is going to be how to go green while making over the office.

Out with the old, in with the green.

The electronic buzz

Don’t just throw your old electronics out in the dumpster. Do you have old computers, keyboards, monitors, cell phones, PDAs, beepers and other electronics clogging up your office space? Donate them to an organization that actually recycles them either for use by a worthwhile non-profit or for parts.

Outsource Marketing Solutions just donated old computers, phones, cell phones, iPod docking stations, keyboards, monitors and printers to Green Monster e-cycling. There are also tons of other great recycling resources available. For example, many cellular service providers collect old phones right within their stores.

Try to donate whenever you can. The opportunities to donate are out there for almost anything you need to get rid of.

A fresh coat

Are your walls in need of a new look? Pretty them up with some new “green” paint. Sure, you can paint them green but if you are not willing to go that far than why not be green in the process? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paints, stains and other architectural coatings produce about 9% of the volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from consumer and commercial products, making them the second-largest source of VOC emissions after automobiles.

So, why not go “natural?” “Natural” paints are made mostly of renewable or abundant naturally occurring materials such as citrus oil, lime, clay, linseed oil and chalk. They do not contain petroleum products, so they emit few if any of the VOCs the EPA regulates for smog.

Energy conscious

Be light bright. Artificial lighting accounts for 44% of the electricity use in office buildings. Turn off the lights when you’re leaving any room for 15 minutes or more. Better yet, install motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when there is no one in the room. Make it a policy to buy Energy Star-rated light bulbs and fixtures, which use at least two-thirds less energy than regular lighting.

While we are talking about energy conservation let’s spend a minute addressing the computer issue. Computers help us work faster but, they also use energy and create waste. Got a screensaver? Get rid of it. Screensavers were originally designed to protect monitors, but new technology makes them unnecessary. Simple “green” answer? Turn off the monitor when you walk away from your desk.


Recycling is an obvious part of going green but we’re talking about an office makeover, right? So, here’s a cool idea. Why not have individual recycling stations? The answer: the All-in-One Recycling Center. Featuring a built in crusher, this device sorts and stores all your recyclable materials including plastic, metal, glass and paper and empties straight into the rear 8-gallon bin. It comes at a higher cost than traditional plastic sorting cans, but if it will get the office greener, than it might be worth getting, even if only from the standpoint of marketing a green office.

These are just some steps you can take to makeover your office but what good is your green makeover if nobody knows what you’ve done. You just need to harness the power of the Internet and add the information to your business Facebook page, Twitter account, blog or newsletter.

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