Sustainability has been in the limelight recently, and for a good reason. We want to work, live, and play in a way that isn’t going to cost us the planet. So, I’ve collated seven of the best ways to promote sustainability in your workplace – just for you. Celebrate your sustainable successes just as you would in other areas of your business, like an innovative suggestion about HR process automation.
Alister Esam is the CEO & Founder of Process Bliss, a work management software helping companies run at peak efficiency.
Sustainability has been in the limelight recently, and for a good reason. We want to work, live, and play in a way that isn’t going to cost us the planet and, where possible, can potentially restore nature to what it once was.
But how do you make your workplace more sustainable? After all, it’s not like your workflow tool can plant a forest or sit a climate activist on the end of an ACD line with punchy environmental soundbites for customers. However, we can all do something to be more sustainable. So, I’ve collated seven of the best ways to promote sustainability in your workplace – just for you.
Say Goodbye to Single-use
Whether disposable coffee cups or other one-time use resources, find alternatives that can be washed up or reused. Invest in sturdier, longer-lasting items to make sure your office gets its full use before it needs replacing. It’s also cheaper for you in the long run, as you don’t have to set aside expenses for items that constantly need replenishing.
Of course, in some industries, particular items need to be single-use to prevent contamination, and some office resources should be disposed of after use. This doesn’t undermine efforts to reduce single-use elsewhere in the workplace. Where possible, use things that are compostable or made of recycled materials. Ultimately though, even small changes are still changes.
Switch to Renewable Energy
It’s likely your offices use energy to heat the buildings, power computers, and light up the space. Look at your energy provider and find out where they get their energy from. Is there an alternative plan or provider that uses solely renewable energy sources? This can make a big impact on the sustainable footprint of your workplace with just a bit of upfront research.
Encourage employees to make the switch in their home lives, too – provide employees with the research you’ve already done into sustainable energy suppliers, offering discount codes or company subsidies for making the switch. Especially if your employees spend a lot of their time in a hybrid workplace or work from home offices, this is something to consider.
Implement Recycling and Composting
Providing recycling bins is expected now as offices are known for using vast amounts of paper, whether for analytics or office posters, which can be easily saved from landfills. But have you got a compost bin in your office kitchen? Coffee grounds, tea bags, and food waste are ideal composting materials. There are plenty of composting choices as part of local recycling programs, so find out if it’s a viable option.
You can also recycle ink cartridges, packets, pens, and coffee pods. Although these don’t tend to go in the general recycling, it’s worth looking into recycling schemes for these more obscure items. In some cases, by recycling these, you can raise money for your favorite charities, so it’s a win all around.
Commuting affects everyone in your workplace. Make a note of how many commuters your offices have, where they are traveling from, and how they get to work. Where appropriate, offer the option to work from home. Use team task management software to work out when to schedule meetings and synchronize your calendars, allowing employees to skip the commute where possible.
Otherwise, incentivize public transport or a car share scheme. Offer rail or bus cards at subsidized prices for employees and, if there are hotspots of where your employees are located, look into setting up a shuttle bus service for them. Equally, think about the transport your employees use on training days or to conferences. Is there a more sustainable option available?
Celebrate Green Success Stories
It can be easy to overlook what people are already doing in and outside of your workplace, especially if you don’t know about them. Celebrate your sustainable successes just as you would in other areas of your business, like an innovative suggestion about HR process automation or the completion of a complex project. This both recognizes the value of sustainable choices and encourages others to do likewise.
Open up nominations for employees to celebrate their co-workers and how they are making a positive difference. Find out what they’ve been doing and share their story with the whole company. Whether this is a monthly occurrence or once a quarter, reward them for their actions and support them in future actions they take.
Transition to Digital
Most offices are largely digital now, but if you aren’t yet – this is your sign. Not only does going digital reduce the physical space needed to keep documents, but it also saves paper and printing costs and minimizes waste. It has massive benefits for hybrid workforces as employees can still access all the documents they need.
Even meetings and conferences can be digitalized by using video call apps, reducing the travel required of participants, new resources and handouts needed, and increasing the ease of recording it for future viewing. It doesn’t rely on everyone being present at the same time in the same place, making meetings more accessible and sustainable.
Support Sustainable Projects
There are all sorts of initiatives and charities making a difference to protect and nurture the environment. As a company, support projects that align with your business goals or support a charity voted in by employee nominations. It can integrate your business into the local community, as well as giving employees an influence in what their workplace values.
You can also raise money for great causes as a side product of your role, whatever it may be. There are search engines and internet extensions that donate money for every new tab you and your employees open or plant trees for every search made. Alternatively, host a virtual fundraising event highlighting the issues that you find important and raising some money to help charities tackle them.
Sustainable Workplaces aren’t the Future – They’re the Now
With these methods under your belt, you’re well on your way to building a foundation of sustainability in your workplace. Sustainability isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair and what works for your business might look quite different to another. Don’t be discouraged by not being able to do it all – sustainability is not about being perfect, but doing the best for you, your employees, your company, and most importantly, the planet.