Sustainability is a hot topic right now. And it’s no surprise, seeing that we’re using up our resources faster than ever. In 2019, Earth Overshoot Day took place on July 29th – a fact that doesn’t bode well for our future. But while some are turning a blind eye to the entire idea of leading greener lifestyles, others are doing their fair share of work.
Younger generations are showing an increased interest in ecological topics, and the business world is catching on. Though a number of “efforts” by big companies are obvious greenwashing attempts, there are those who have truly made changes and have thus done their part to contribute to a brighter future for all of us.
If you’re thinking about going eco-friendly in your workplace, you’ll probably want to become familiar with the process, as well as the benefits. For some, going green can be a challenge, but with a few habit changes, it’s entirely doable. The important thing is to remember that even small efforts can add up, so if you can’t do a lot right now, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your quest for a sustainable office.
Here are the biggest benefits of creating a sustainable and eco-friendly workplace.
Cutting down costs
A lot of employers will be happy to hear that sustainable practices can actually do a lot in cutting down costs and giving them more cash to invest in product development or acquiring talent. There are several ways you can make new changes budget-friendly, and some are 100% free.
- Install energy-efficient lighting. Although these bulbs can cost more at first, they can use up to 80% less electricity than regular bulbs, and can even last 25 times longer. Combining these with smart systems, you can set the lighting in your office to automatically adapt to the environment and turn off when there’s nobody around.
- Encourage remote work. Despite the fact that not all businesses can operate without everyone being in the same place at the same time, there are those companies that can encourage their employees to do their jobs from home. This cuts down on CO2 emissions, increases productivity, and decreases the amount of money you spend on utilities.
- Use materials responsibly. A lot of offices rely on printed materials, but the fact is they’re not always necessary. Wherever possible, forego printing and switch to digital documentation. Also, try to purchase eco-friendly office supplies and no more than you actually need. Consider switching out wasteful products such as coffee pods for other sustainable options, and consider providing workers with reusable water bottles or branded mugs.
Employee job satisfaction
Your company culture plays a huge role in employee satisfaction. When your workers feel like their personal values align with the core values of your company, they will be more committed to working towards common goals.
Furthermore, being proactive about positive contributions to important causes such as sustainability can be a good way of showing your team (and your business partners) that you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is.
So try to find ways of encouraging green practices in your office. Volunteering can be a great team-building opportunity. Or you can make a game out of your eco-friendly efforts. Why not offer special benefits for those who come to work by bicycle, or support your team’s favorite environmental causes? Even something like a 30-day zero-waste challenge can help you bring people together, which can have a great positive influence on their results as a team.
Green spaces promote mental and physical health
The spaces where we spend most of our time – and you’ll agree that eight hours is a pretty significant period of a day – can have a huge influence on how we feel and perform. Simple things, such as wall and furniture colors, or ambient sounds, should all be taken into consideration when designing your offices. For example, green and blue will inspire or calm, while red may agitate and promote stress.
Choosing office furniture made from natural materials, especially if they’re reclaimed or recycled, can have a positive effect on how your employees will feel in your office space. Some psychologists claim that having minimally treated wooden furniture can have a similar effect to spending time in nature, so why not look for ways to incorporate this natural material in your workplace?
Health professionals also agree on the benefits of lush greenery in indoor spaces. They can improve air quality, which results in better cognitive abilities, as well as better mental health.
In addition to the economic benefits of making your company sustainable, there is also the unique benefit of pride you will feel at having done something great for your community. Don’t hesitate about rolling out green changes – you’ll surely find that they’re worth the effort. And if you do things step by step, you’ll even get to see that they’re not that difficult to adapt to.
Written by Hannah Thomas
About the Author
Hannah Thomas is a gardening and home décor enthusiast. Garden is the place where she feels most comfortable, that’s why there are always a lot of books and empty coffee cups on the back porch. Always learning, exploring and smiling.
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