In a bold move, the shared workplace company WeWork announced that they will no longer be serving nor expensing meat products at their company functions. Additionally, corporations such as Starbucks, Hyatt, and Alaska Airlines have issued statements pledging the elimination of plastic straws in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
These are just a few newsworthy examples of organizations that are taking the initiative in creating more environmentally conscious workplaces and company culture through eco-friendly policies.
From a business standpoint, consumers are more inclined to buy products from, invest in services from, and lend their support to companies with a proven record of social responsibility in regards to reducing their environmental impact. Research has shown that 80 percent of consumers are more inclined to support companies and brands with a history of sustainability.
Developing an eco-conscious organization begins on the ground level with your workforce, as it is 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 signal out accordingly.
There are various accessible and cost-effective measures your company can take to reduce your carbon footprint and affect your environmental impact. Here are ten examples of sustainable initiatives you can implement to encourage an environmentally conscious workplace for your employees, not just on Earth Day, but every day.
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 in the trash bin. You can also look into the safe removal and donation of old computer parts and other items unnecessarily taking up space in your workplace to a local organization supporting the ethical recycling of electronics.
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 at their desks and around the office and provide suggestions such as shutting off their computers at the end of the work day and keeping the lights off when a meeting room is not in use.
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 are swapped out for an eco-conservative alternative.
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. At Rise, we are proud to be partnered with Thirst First, a locally-based organic and fair-trade coffee provider.
Reduce by reusing
Annually, Canadians use approximately 1.6 to 2 billion disposable coffee cups. Discourage this wasteful habit from your employees by encouraging the use of 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, and also by incentivizing the program by doing a monthly gift card draw for team members who use their reusable mugs for an entire week.
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.
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. Help to 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.
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, if it is not mandatory for your people to be in the office from Monday to Friday, consider cutting out their commute time during the week by allowing employees to do remote work from home on occasion.
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. Last summer, Rise participated in a beach cleanup with CPAWS BC. Find a philanthropic project that’s close to your organization’s heart and get your people involved.
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 your 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. Above all, the benefit of leaving a lasting impression of environmental impact for your organization will stay for generations to come.