We spend more time at work than at home in most cases. If you aren’t in the office, then it is getting ready for work, unwinding after work or making the most of work-free time at the weekend.
The staff that come into the office spend more time with colleagues and in meetings than they often get to spend with family and friends. Which is why it becomes essential to nurture and support them in many ways.
This gives you the ideal opportunity to keep your business and your staff eco-friendly and make a positive impact in a big way.
Being eco-friendly and green isn’t a flash in the pan trend. Although it is great for PR, it plays a massive role in how people see your company, and the impact your company has on a global scale – even for a small business.
So here are a few ways that you can encourage your staff to go green.
There are several things that you can do to encourage your staff to go green when it comes to transportation. Carpooling is one of the number one ways to cut down on emissions. It can save petrol money, and avoid long lonely drives if your staff often have to go to meetings. Offering discounts and compensated public transport trouble can also play a huge part in going green when it comes to transport.
But you can take this further. Many people are now investing in electric cars, they need somewhere suitable to charge them during the day. Most of their driving time will be too and from work, which means it is ideal for you to have Suncoast Energy install electric chargers for those cars.
The best thing to do here is to talk to your staff about what would be most appropriate for them. And then encourage them to make those changes.
You also have to set the example here, if you are wrapping your sandwiches in Saran wrap or other plastic wraps, and using things like plastic straws and plastic cups, then you need to put a stop to that too. Use metal straws and reusable cups as often as possible, in fact, you can have your business logo printed on these cups and straws and hand them out to your staff.
By collaborating with businesses that provide eco friendly products, your company can set an example for the employees to start using environmentally friendly appliances in their daily routine. For example you can replace all the harmful plastic packaging with polythene products. By switching to sustainable products you can also challenge other companies to live by their own environmental standards and to push their corporate and social responsibility a step further.
Using things like beeswax wraps can make sure that your food stays fresh, without all of that plastic waste. If you’re serious, you need to take the steps, and provide them with some of the materials to have waste-free snacks and lunches in the office.
There are a number of ways that you and your staff can be held accountable for the actions that you take. You can have a chat with your team and see if there is one particular member who would be happy to have the responsibility of helping the office go green, or you can put your hands up and do this yourself.
Volunteer to make sure that the recycling is done, and even print labels for the bins yourself. When it comes to celebrations, and team birthdays, avoid balloons and throw away streamers, and invest in more practical and reusable items.
Take a look at your own behavior, and admit when you are doing something that might seem to be counter-intuitive to your on-going green efforts.
There are a number of global green days that you can Celebrate. World ocean day, plastic Free July, Veganuary. Highlight these, and use them as an excellent space for education and increasing your positive, eco-friendly habits. The culture of your office will benefit from this too.
See if there’s any room in the budget to have somebody come in and discuss some of the issues around it, or get self-educated and run your own campaigns for some positive PR.
Here are a number of green holidays:
Earth Hour – Last Saturday of March
World Water Day – March 22
Earth Day – April 22
World Ocean Day – June 8
National Wildlife Day – September 4
Zero Emissions Day – September 21
World Vegan Day – November 1
If your office environment doesn’t have simple things like recycling bins, that is taking away the option to go green. Take a look around your office and see if there are any areas that could do with this improvement.
If you are using a water cooler, but always having to refresh the plastic cups, this means you can make a significant change by encouraging people to use reusable containers or providing glass options.
Of course, this will depend on the style of office that you have, but in most cases, many changes can be made.
You can also bring in a number of plants. Plants are known to reduce stress, reduce noise levels, help increase air quality and make people more productive.
All of that great green makes plants a worthwhile investment for your office.
Here are some great options for plants in your office:
- Ficus Benjamin are sturdy plants that look like mini trees. They are best kept in a sunny place.
- Philodendron has been a champion of indoor plants for years, they are easy to keep and deal well with humidity.
- Dracaena is some of the hardiest plants around, so ideal if you are just getting used to keeping plants. They eliminate pollutants in the air too. Tall and sturdy they are eye-catching and pretty.
- Snake plants or Sansevieria are great for offices. The Snake plant can last for months without water, and deal with low-light well. Perfect for the office.
You can even add some faux plants into the mix, as everyone will benefit from the green.
Although most businesses have gone paperless already, offices still produce a considerable amount of paper waste. If the paper waste in your office is unavoidable, then it is essential to invest in some paper recycling options. There are companies that specialize in improving paper waste, they provide a bin for paper waste and take it away on a weekly basis to be recycled. This can often be more effective than local government schemes.
Where possible switch from printing to keeping everything digital.
There are a number of tools that can help you reduce your paper usage:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Office
- Lotus or Outlook Tasks
- A tablet – in place of notebooks, you can write notes and keep them safe – as well as switch between computers, laptops and your tablet and still have access.
- Evernote or Onenote is excellent for going paperless, they both keep lists, PDFs, articles and more.
If you have suppliers that aren’t doing their part for the environment, then it might be time to look elsewhere. There are many smaller companies that provide great services but are eco-conscious and committed to making an impact. Think about fair-trade coffee and snack vendors, or website hosts that offset their carbon, or use green energy.
Allow your partnerships to make sense when it comes to your going green efforts. This also sets an example of how staff can choose their own suppliers and groceries at home.
Your staff are the energy behind your business. Even if they love their job, they too need to have some recharge time. Sustaining the energy of your staff is a joint effort. If you aren’t enlightened in the ways of mindfulness, mental health in the office and the overall health of your team, it is time to make an effort.
This means that you should be ensuring that your office environment is a healthy and happy space. Toxicity within the team should be dealt with quickly. When people are upset or fearful to come to the office due to other members, it will impact a range of staff, and productivity will decrease.
Provide monthly or weekly options for meditation, yoga, healthy food and room for conversation about things in work that aren’t going well. The wellbeing of your team is a vital component of going green.
Cause Driven Volunteering
Asking your staff to ‘work’ outside of work might seem like an odd idea. But if there is space within the average week, you can funnel some time and energy into local projects that you are passionate about. There are many green causes that need people power as well as donations.
Find philanthropic organizations that fit with what you are trying to achieve. If you can’t spare people hours, then fundraising and donations are often a very welcome thing for many causes.
Consumers are more aware than ever of the impact that businesses have on their environments. They want to invest time and money in companies that are not only providing high-quality services but those who are creating a positive impact on their local community and globally.
Whatever you choose to implement, it is essential that you ensure that it is sustainable for your business to do so.
Simple changes like lunches and plants in the office are great starting points, then when the culture is right, you can move on to more substantial impacts like volunteering programs.