We’re all trying to make more sustainable choices when it comes to the environment. It’s easy to use a reusable water bottle on your person, or bring your own bags to the shops, but it can be harder to make sustainable choices when we can’t control our environment (like at the office).
From the coffee cups and office supplies to the commute and all the energy that goes into powering the machines around us, there are still little wins that we can earn. Employees spend so much of their time working, which is why it’s so important to make that time as sustainable as possible.
Here are 8 different ways you can foster an environmentally sustainable change within your workplace:
1. Going remote first
Thanks to COVID-19, many employees have been forced out of their offices and into the comfort of their own homes. Sounds great, although it can be hard for workers to stay focused and motivated at home without proper organisational structure and planning.
What is great about working from home however is the massive environmental benefits it carries. Think about it: fewer cars on the road, fewer people taking up office space and less plastic being used when packing office lunches.
Sydney companies like Canva and Apello (as well as Employment Hero) have taken this remote-first strategy head-on and found fantastic success. Globally, businesses such as Slack, Atlassian and Twitter have also hopped on the remote bandwagon.
Not only does it help the environment, but it also gives these businesses access to talent on a global scale. Also, the employees love it. Now is the perfect time to consider joining the remote first revolution.
2. Going paperless
Receding rainforests got you down? Maybe it’s time to encourage your workplace to go paperless. Paper makes up a massive majority of all office waste, and it’s one of the few environmental stressors that’s largely unnecessary nowadays.
Cloud-based HRIS systems mean most office tasks can be completed in a more collaborative manner on platforms like Google Drive, while also not using any paper. Options such as Employment Hero’s paperless onboarding software make even the most paper-demanding tasks an environmental walk in the park.
Not only will making this change improve your office’s ecological footprint, but ditching filing cabinets means you don’t need as much office space to store everything.
3. Go green with your energy
No, not the colour; we’re talking renewables. Nowadays, renewable energy isn’t just available for big spenders – it’s affordable too. By switching to an environmentally sustainable energy supplier, you can rest assured your workplace is helping contribute to a cleaner future.
It’s also a great look for your company and employer branding. Employees want to work with companies that align with their ethical beliefs, so this is a solid way to improve your carbon footprint while attracting more talent.
4. Be eco-friendly with your electricity
Double down on cleaning up your energy use by enforcing a policy of having all office lights and machines turned off while the space is not being used. This will not just save the environment, but it’ll save your power bill too.
Also, making sure computer monitors have efficient power settings and that the option is turned on will help lower your office’s footprint.
Lastly, making sure your office uses efficient light bulbs such as LEDs will help save you money in the long run.
5. Promote a green workplace
This time, we actually do mean the colour. Having staff bring in plants will help naturally improve office air quality while improving employee mental wellbeing. Plants are actually proven (by NASA!) to create a cleaner, happier working environment.
Not only will plants create a healthier and better-looking workplace, but they can also improve productivity too! So, don’t just settle for allowing desk plants. Encourage it!
6. Recycling policies
It’s important to create a standard of encouraging and supporting recycling efforts. Adequate recycling bins of each type should be provided throughout the office, not just in the kitchen. Also, make sure these are properly marked out.
People are busy at work and will often have their minds on other things, so make it easy for everyone to quickly and properly dispose of any waste.
7. Ditch the disposable coffee cup
Coffee is a staple of every office, but it’s a drink best served sustainably. In Australia, 1 billion disposable coffee cups are used every year—that’s 2,700,000 every single day! Instead of contributing to this landfill nightmare, encourage using reusable coffee mugs from home.
A great environmentally sustainable workplace could even offer its own travel cups to help promote their use.
8. Ecological office supplies
It’s not just coffee cups. Nowadays technology has allowed for almost every part of the office to be sourced sustainably. Suppliers such as EcoOffice recycle bins, liners, bathroom and cleaning supplies. Some of these products are also compostable and carbon neutral.
Finally, they can be bulk bought and delivered Australia-wide to save you money; what’s not to love!?
The last word
As a business owner, you have a lot of responsibility. Not only for your staff but for the future of the planet. That might sound dramatic, but it’s important for those with the power to instigate change towards how we treat our environment to do so.
So if you can, try to follow some of these 8 steps towards making your workplace and the environment a happier place.
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