8 Tips On Creating An Environmentally Friendly Workplace
To encourage an environmentally friendly workplace, some great things to do are to promote recycling programs, use alternatives to paper, and keep live plants around the office.
Environmental awareness is a major concern for the entire world. In the corporate world, this is even more crucial.
A company that has authentic concern for being environmentally conscious is likely to be favored in the marketplace. Being conscious of the environment not only helps protect the earth and its resources but also boosts workplace morale and employee engagement.
Employees like to know they are a part of creating positive change, and in turn, are more likely to give their best efforts to benefit the company as a whole over the long term.
What Does Environmentally Conscious Mean?
An environmentally conscious person is someone who is aware of their physical environment, the risks that are posed to that environment, and ways the environment can and should be protected over the long term.
While a lot of people are environmentally conscious as individual people, organizations and companies are not always thinking and acting in environmentally friendly ways. The most common ways companies fail to be environmentally conscious is by using too much paper, using too much energy in the form of air conditioning and heating, and by using toxic chemicals in the workplace and in the production of their goods/services.
If a workplace wants to be environmentally conscious, they need to figure out what products and equipment are harmful to the environment and identify alternative, environmentally friendly options. A sustainable company should also motivate its employees to use such products.
Benefits Of An Environmentally Conscious Workplace
If a workplace is environmentally conscious, it can be beneficial both for the employees and the environment.
According to research conducted by CONE Communications, 91% of millennials prefer working at an environmentally conscious company. In this way, being conscious of the environment is a good way to attract employees and boost company growth and should not be viewed as an additional cost that has no benefit.
Being an eco-conscious company could also attract more customers. If a customer knows that the product they are buying is environmentally friendly and it is made by an eco-friendly company, they may be more likely to buy.
However, keep in mind that customers have a discerning eye for an authentic company that is trying to do the right thing for the environment vs. a company that is pretending to be eco-friendly just to make more money. If you are only after money, it could do more harm to your brand and reputation than good.
And as for the employees, it has a big psychological effect. The employees know that their workplace is environmentally conscious which often also makes the workplace safer. So they feel proud to be a part of something good.
A green workplace also reduces workplace sickness. Together, the two result in a huge productivity boost.
8 Steps To Create An Environmentally Conscious Workplace
1. Implement Recycling Programs
Recycling programs create a healthy workplace and cleaner environment. It's also a great way to convert your normal office into an environmentally conscious one. Proper knowledge and awareness should be created within the employees by putting signs in common areas, dining areas, and bathrooms.
This will make the employee aware of items going to the recycling bin and the trash bin.
That being said, recycling is not a long-term solution to plastic pollution. Employees should be always encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles, coffee cups, silverware, etc. so that plastic does not get used at all.
2. Use Energy Efficient Tools
Our insatiable appetite for energy and electricity consumption is a big threat to the earth. Most electricity is still made from burning coal which is a major contributor to global warming and general environmental degradation.
To help, the office can change their current electrical devices and electronics to something that is much more eco-friendly.
For example, use halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) light bulbs instead of your traditional incandescent light bulbs. They consume less power but shine equally bright.
3. Shift Your Office Decor
Your office decor can also instill a culture of being environmentally conscious. Instead of using plastic or artificial plants to enhance the aesthetics of your office, you could use live plants.
Natural plants are a sight for sore eyes, and having sufficient greenery in your office can boost the mindset of your employees and create an atmosphere and culture that truly feels environmentally friendly.
4. Use Alternatives To Paper
According to a vegetation map provided by NASA, around 4 billion trees are cut down each year for paper production.
This has a severe negative impact on the environment. That is why it is important to have an alternative to paper if you want your office to be eco-conscious. A good and obvious way to reduce paper consumption is by using digital and cloud computing.
Sometimes, managers will print off reports created by the analysts so they can read them and highlight them and mark them up with their corrections and changes. A good alternative is to use Adobe PDF Editor - you can highlight and make red markings for changes without printing anything!
5. Build Ties With Eco-friendly Vendors
Another good approach is to establish good relationships with green vendors. With green vendors, you can conduct Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), also known as Green Purchasing.
Green purchasing means purchasing raw materials or products that have a significantly lower harmful effect on humans and the environment.
Green purchasing will allow your business to be environmentally friendly and more appealing to your customers.
6. Promote Sustainable Transportation
Employees should be encouraged to take an environmentally friendly transportation service if possible. Most employees travel to and from their workplace by using private cars which are the least energy-efficient form of travel.
Employees could be incentivized with a small bonus of some sort to bike to work. Cycles are much cheaper than personal cars too. Some companies have even purchased cycles for any employees that want them. This is a really great way to encourage a culture of environmentally conscious thinking.
7. Create A Green Culture In Your Office
Part of creating a green culture means planning and participating in green activities. You might hold a meeting each month to discuss how you can make your workplace greener.
A reward system could also be implemented. The person with the best green idea might get a reward. This will promote competitiveness and more employees will be eager to participate.
8. Have Non-toxic Cleaning Products
Many large corporate offices are cleaned every single day with electricity being used to run vacuums, plastic bags being thrown out with only one item in them, and chemicals being sprayed in the air and on surfaces.
Management should talk with the cleaning company (if it is outsourced) to make sure that the office is only cleaned when it needs to be. Trash should not be thrown out if there are only one or two things in the bag. And as well, request non-toxic and environmentally friendly products be used in the workplace.
Going green is a big trend right now, and many major companies are shifting to a more green and environmentally friendly workplace. They are also building a green culture to help promote thinking green both among employees and clients. If you want your workplace to be environmentally conscious as well, follow the steps listed above as a starting point. There's plenty more that can be done, but this will be a great starting foundation.