Sustainability isn’t just for the future, and it doesn’t only safeguard our planet for upcoming generations. Sustainability also ensures that our environment is clean and safe for our own healthy living.
A polluted environment can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. Studies have proven that environmental pollutants can lead to cancers, respiratory ailments, and heart disease. And those pollutants may not only come from the big, bad nuclear plant down the street. These pollutants can also be present in harmful doses right in your office. And what’s worse, you spend eight or more hours each day in your office.
Of course, that’s only part of the problem. Additionally, some of your behaviors may actually contribute to a harmful environment for others.
In this article, we’ll look at simple ways you can make your workplace more harmonious with the environment.
What is Sustainability?
There are different types of sustainability. In this article, we’re focusing on environmental sustainability and the practice of “going green.”
Environmental sustainability is the practice of working harmoniously with and not against our planet. To be environmentally sustainable means that we find ways to work responsibly with the planet. As we harvest natural resources, we also have the responsibility to ensure their replenishment.
What are the Benefits of Becoming More Sustainable?
Why should your office implement sustainability practices? Here are the top ways that going green can benefit your business.
Improved Brand Image
When given the choice, research shows that customers prefer doing business with organizations that care about and actively protect the environment. By implementing eco-friendly practices, you can attract customers who care about environmental sustainability.
Attract and Retain Top Employees
In addition to customers, many employees also want to work for sustainability-focused organizations. When recruiting for open positions, one unique way to stand out is by highlighting your organization’s sustainability practices. This can attract new hires who care about the planet and share your organization’s sustainability values.
While buying sustainability-produced goods can be more expensive than the alternative, going green as a whole saves money. Looking for ways to go green in your workspace often results in increased inefficiency. For example, by turning off lights when not in use in your office, you’ll reduce energy consumption, but you’ll also save on utility costs. And that’s just one of the many ways that implementing green behavior can save money and the earth at the same time.
Easy Ways to Implement Sustainability Practices in the Workplace
Let’s look at ways that you can go green in your office.
Opt for a Hybrid Work Environment
In response to the pandemic, many offices shifted to a remote work arrangement. And while some offices have opted to return to the office full time, others have decided to give their employees the choice to work remotely or work in the office.
Maintaining a hybrid work environment is not just great for your employees’ morale, but it’s also amazing for the environment. When an employee works from home, they’re not contributing to the pollution caused by commuting. They’ll reduce their carbon footprint, which will have an immediate impact on the environment.Maintaining a hybrid work environment is not just great for your employees' morale, but it's also amazing for the environment. Here's why: Click To Tweet
Set Green Challenges for Your Team
A fun way to increase sustainability practices in your workplace is by hosting weekly or monthly challenges for your team members. One challenge may be to use the same coffee cup or reusable water bottle at work for a month. You can make the challenge fun by rewarding winners with a small prize like a gift card.
Create a Green Team
Going green should be a team effort. Instead of putting all of the pressure on one person to look for ways to create and implement green initiatives in your workplace, create a team who can accomplish more together. The team can manage your sustainability program and meet regularly to brainstorm new ideas.
Add Motion-Activated Lights
Leaving lights on when no one is in the space may seem harmless, but it’s still an energy drain. Think of all of the places in your office that are empty for long periods of time, such as conference rooms, break rooms, and bathrooms. All of these places can benefit from motion-activated lights. This energy-efficient practice takes the burden off of your employees to remember to switch off the light upon exiting a space, and it may save you a considerable amount on your utility bill. Saving energy in all its forms is eco-friendly.
Add More Plants to Your Office
Going green can also be taken literally. Add green plants to your office. Not only do living plants beautify an office space, but they also improve the air quality by removing common pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Paper is so yesterday. The world has shifted into the digital age where even notebooks and sticky pads can be digitized. Buying paper directly depletes our forests and also puts more strain on resources like energy and water.
Going paperless is easy these days. There’s an app to replace every paper need you may have. Look for unique ways to reduce your paper needs in the office.
Use Recycled Products in Your Office
For some offices, it’s difficult to go completely paper-free. For example, if you have a celebratory culture in your organization, you may throw parties to commemorate all sorts of events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and company events. And what’s a party without cake? And how can you hold a cake without plates?
For an occasion when using disposable products is unavoidable, choose products that have been made from recycled material. Used paper plates are not good candidates for recycling due to food waste and the additional coating on paper plates that can’t be recycled like other paper products. However, if you or someone on your team maintains a compost, you can opt for compostable paper plates that are designed for this reason specifically.
Use Non-Toxic Products
Cleaning products are important for disinfecting and safeguarding our spaces, especially now that we’re battling a pandemic. However, some cleaning products are so toxic that they can actually harm the environment and our bodies. Instead of reaching for harsh chemicals to clean and sanitize your space, go for non-toxic, environmentally friendly options that are just as effective. Top non-toxic brands include Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Biokleen.
Check out this list of top eco-friendly cleaning products.
Unplug Your Devices
Did you know that, even when powered off, your plugged-in devices still draw energy?
Encourage your employees to unplug their devices if they’re not using them, especially before an extended break, such as a weekend or vacation. To make unplugging devices easier to do, consider using one central power strip for all devices. This way, the employee can simply unplug one cord instead of multiple cords.
Use Natural Light
Instead of relying on generated energy to light your office, open the blinds and let the light in during the day. Taking advantage of natural sunlight can cut your energy usage significantly.
Creating a more sustainable workplace isn’t just nice to do. It’s an absolute necessity. If left unchecked, not just the future but your own health is at stake. Use the above tips to introduce sustainable practices at your workplace. Your future self will thank you.
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