How to Build Greener Workplaces

We all know it is now more crucial than ever to protect the environment, and that is why we need to adopt eco-friendly habits.

But what does eco-friendly mean? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means “something designed to have little or no damaging effect on the environment.”

A study conducted by Peakon in 2020 showed that “plastics, single-use and carbon footprint” were some of the topics most discussed by workers. But individuals are not the only ones responsible for making the planet greener. Organisations also need to work towards this goal, particularly given the ever-increasing importance of the role of businesses in tackling climate change. Making workplaces greener must be an essential part of their efforts.

By taking steps towards greener offices, companies can also expect positive impacts on their workforce. As well as being a way to reduce sick leaves and related costs, working for companies that share the same eco-friendly values as employees improves engagement, retention, and satisfaction.

While many companies are adopting Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) strategies to protect the environment; finding substitutes for plastic; developing drugs that recycle easily, etc., it is important to go further. Companies need to raise awareness about climate issues and encourage workers to practice environmentally friendly habits. Start with something fun/simple and it will be easily accepted in the workplace.

Organisations should start by educating their workers about the pollution they generate when they commute and encourage them to opt for eco-friendly transportation. Instead of driving to work, employees can carpool, use public transports or cycle…

In addition, companies can implement changes in workplaces to turn them into greener spaces. One simple thing that has proved to have great results is adding plants, as it reduces toxins and improves the air in the office. Plants also increase workforce productivity and satisfaction, as shown by a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Education about recycling and putting recycling bins in the office is another excellent strategy. Cleaning products in the workplace should also be green, as most of them have harmful chemicals, which damage the environment and are equally bad for humans.

In fact, investing in environmentally friendly materials is important for building greener workspaces. Thus, buy recyclable or even second-hand office supplies, choose upgradeable office technology, do business with suppliers who have the same sustainable goals as you.

Moreover, use your tools and resources in a smart way. Print only if it is extremely necessary, prefer digital supports, create policies to go paperless and plastic-free. However, if you find it difficult, choose reusable plastic and recycled paper.

Companies and the workforce should also be conscious of energy usage in the office. It is vital to turn off lights when they are not being used, as well as installing energy efficient types, like LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps. Only use heating and cooling if necessary. For instance, turn off all electronic appliances at night, including lights or air conditioning.

Until we achieve the perfect green workplace, companies, leaders, managers and the workforce must start acting now!

References:

  1. 3 Ways You Can Bring Sustainability to Your Workplace, February 2020, Entrepreneur.
  2. Green Tips for the Office, January 2020, the balance small business.