From a business standpoint, consumers are more inclined to buy products and invest in services from, and lend their support to, companies with a proven record of social responsibility—particularly when it comes to reducing their environmental impact. Research has shown that 80% of consumers are more inclined to support companies and brands with a history of sustainability.
Developing an eco-conscious organization has to start on the ground level, with your workforce. It’s crucial for your people to believe in your vision and practice environmentally-friendly habits in the office in order for your mission of sustainability to be sustainable longterm.
There are various accessible and cost-effective measures your company can take to reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact. Here are ten examples of sustainable initiatives you can implement to encourage an environmentally conscious workplace for your employees, day in and day out.
1. Implement a recycling program
One standard way of supporting mindfulness around sustainability is to establish a recycling program within your office. From the kitchen area to your workspaces, provide education on responsible waste disposal through clear signage on designated waste stations to help your people distinguish between what items belong in recycling, compost, and the trash bin. You can also look into the safe removal and donation of old computer parts and other items to a local organization supporting the ethical recycling of electronics.
Some workplaces will choose to have a “green captain” whose responsibility it is to ensure that waste materials are sorted properly. The green captain can also champion other functions such as the ones listed below.
2. Conserve energy within the office
Turning off the lights and switching off electronic equipment around the office during off-hours will help to conserve energy resources as well as save your company a significant amount on your electric bill. Ensure that your workplace has communicated your policy around reducing energy consumption. Provide suggestions such as shutting off computers at the end of the work day and keeping the lights off when a meeting room is not in use.
Some environmentally conscious workplaces may even choose to install automatic motion-sensor lights to conserve energy.
3. Promote a paperless office
Digital and cloud computing solutions have enabled companies to become more collaborative, streamlined, efficient, and yes, green too. From using desktop applications such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive for coordinating work projects to investing in digital HR and payroll software to handle workforce management, paper and ink have been swapped out for an eco-conservative alternative.
If you’re looking for a digital people management solution, you should give Rise a try! Book a personalized demo to learn more about how Rise’s paperless solution can save you time and money, and help you save the environment, too!
4. Support green vendors
Opt to do business with green-friendly brands and companies to create a more environmentally conscious workplace. Conduct research into vendors of interest to learn more about their sustainability efforts and see if they align with your company’s own vision and values regarding environmental impact.
Demonstrating that your organization is environmentally conscious is not only good for the environment but it’s also an essential factor in employee retention and recruitment. Research has shown that environmental sustainability is so important to employees that 48% said that they would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant working for an organization that is more environmentally sustainable.
5. Reduce by reusing
Annually, Canadians use approximately 1.6 to 2 billion disposable coffee cups. Discourage this wasteful habit within your org by encouraging employees to use reusable coffee mugs, along with reusable water bottles. You can promote this initiative in-office by offering company merchandise items such as travel mugs and stainless steel water bottles. You can further incentive employees by doing a monthly gift card draw for team members who use their reusable mugs for an entire week.
6. Invest in office plants
Placing plants around the office can help to beautify your workspaces, uplift the overall atmosphere of your workplace, and reduce stress and anxiety for your workforce. Indoor greenery can boost oxygen levels and remove harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide and formaldehyde. In fact, NASA research reveals that indoor plants reduce 87% of indoor air pollutants within 24 hours. If you're convinced of the health benefits of office greenery, this infographic can help you select the ideal plant for your office environment.
In addition to the positive physical effects, plants are also good for productivity. Studies have shown that plants in the workplace can increase productivity by as much as 15%.
7. Conserve human energy
This may not be an idea that readily comes to mind when considering environmental practices, but the wellbeing of your people is crucial to the healthy habits of your organization. Mindfulness is just as important. Consider that sustaining healthy and energetic employees will be beneficial to your company’s overall productivity.
Keep your team happy and energized by establishing a safe, non-toxic environment at all times. It can start by providing sustainable and nutritious options, such as organic fruits and vegetables, but also by incorporating fun social activities and of course providing adequate sick and vacation days as well as comprehensive benefits.
8. Encourage sustainable transportation
Support your team members in taking alternative modes of transportation to and from the office—such as walking or carpooling with fellow colleagues—during the work week. Your company can offer transit subsidies to employees who commute to work as a benefit. Additionally, many workplaces have transitioned to either fully remote or hybrid work models, which has cut down drastically on emissions.
9. Get outside and volunteer
Cause-driven volunteer programs are an excellent way to support something meaningful and have a big impact on your communities. There are all sorts of green causes and conservation campaigns your company can participate in.
Rise offers employee volunteer days, where employees are able to take a paid day off to go volunteer. Some of the different organizations that Risers have helped include CPAWS BC, Canadian Blood Services, and the Food Bank of Greater Vancouver. Find a philanthropic project that’s close to your organization’s heart and get your people involved.
10. Make green thinking a key part of your company culture
Include your employees in your environmental vision by getting them engaged and involved. Talk to and collaborate with your team members to gather their ideas for how your organization can go green and be more environmentally conscious in the workplace. Getting input from employees will allow them the opportunity to embody and embrace your new mission and goals.
From promoting workplace wellness through a mindful and healthy office environment to allowing your team members to think of the bigger picture, encouraging environmentally conscious practices in the workplace will help your people feel healthier, more satisfied with your company, and more driven to thrive at work. It’s important for organizations to not just talk about how much they value the environment, but to actively work towards an environmentally conscious workplace. Above all, the benefit of leaving a lasting impression of environmental impact for your organization will stay for generations to come.