Many people believe that going green is a highly personal choice and something that is best done in the comfort of home. In fact, many folks view it as nothing more than shuffling the empty milk jug from the fridge to the recycling pile or flipping lights off once your spouse leaves the room. But it’s more than that. Going green at work is essential as well — not only for the benefit of the environment and your office, but to benefit the employees, too.
People want to know that their workplace reflects the values they adhere to at home. The eye-rolling that a green initiative may provoke from non-environmentally minded employees is offset by the increased pride and motivation you’ll inspire in those workers who do indeed care about their impact on the Earth.
Project Managers and Small Business Owners: If you are wondering how you can make your workplace a greener environment, congratulations! Curiosity and the will to make a positive change are the first steps. We can help you with the rest; read on for ways to help the earth while you’re at work — and have fun doing it as well.
In What Ways Can Your Workplace be Greener?
Consider encouraging small changes within your company from the top, down. Such changes will help cut back on different forms of company waste, and are surprisingly easy to accomplish as well.
Does more than one person at your office commute to work from the same place? Are there certain jobs that can be done from home or a coffee shop a couple of times per week or month? Save fuel by encouraging your team to ride together to work, take a bicycle or use public transportation. Or, if it’s an option, allow them to telecommute a set number of days each week or month.
Use all-natural products to clean the office, or provide them to your cleaning crew. Not only are they healthier for the team members, they’re healthier for the earth. You can even make your own cleaning solutions using common household items such as vinegar and lemon.
How much paper does your company use? This point is probably the most obvious in the office space where we freely use paper all day, every day.
Try the following tips for cutting back on paper waste:
- Encourage team members to avoid printing out anything that can be kept electronically.
- Print on both sides of the page instead of one.
- Print just a few documents and let teams share.
Recycling your team’s discarded mobile phones, printers, ink cartridges, computers, cameras and other items is important. These often contain valuable metals that can be used again in manufacturing new items.
Don’t forget the simple practices of turning off lights when no one is around, unplugging appliances and equipment after hours and keeping the thermostat set at a comfortable yet modest temperature. Even something as simple as using dishware in the office instead of paper products and washing them at the end of the day instead of throwing them in the trash can make a difference.
Establishing Green Practices
Managers and small business owners, they say that the culture of a company is set from the top, and it’s absolutely true; it all starts with you. Be sure to reinforce these new practices with the help of some fun, team-building activities that will inspire employees to enjoy and embrace a greener office.
Propose a friendly competition amongst team members.
Suggest these ideas and come up with your own:
- Collect the most reusable material from around the office and present the items for recycling.
- Drive to work the fewest times in a certain period.
- Use the least amount of paper.
What kinds of incentives or prizes will you offer for those that achieve glory in these green competitions?
Here are a few earth-friendly ideas:
- Offer the opportunity to donate funds to the winner’s charity of choice.
- Provide a gas card and encourage more car-pooling.
Don’t forget to let your clients or customers know you becoming a greener company.
- Use social media accounts such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to share photos and videos of your staff getting into the spirit of having a greener office.
- Depending on your industry, perhaps you can ask clients to get involved in dropping off their own items to be recycled. For example, if you own a women’s clothing boutique, ask regular customers to bring in clothes for a monthly swap and sale. Or, offer a discount for items your clients bring in for trade.
The Benefits of Being Greener
Boosting Company Morale
Sharing a common cause and working toward a common goal is bound to make your staff form new and stronger bonds with one another. And rewards such as parties and dinners will bring a smile to everyone’s face, improving attitudes around the office overall.
As a result of all of the above, you’ll cut company costs by saving on printing paper, water and electricity bills.
A Healthier Company Culture
Besides the emotional health that results from everyone working together, your office will no doubt become an overall healthier environment and reduce its carbon footprint.
It might seem overwhelming to think about the environment on a large scale and fret over what your company can do to help Mother Earth. But with these small steps, you’ll improve your work environment and make a positive impact on your community. And as a bonus, help foster positive changes in your employees’ habits as well.
Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness, an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, sponsors the Lyoness Greenfinity Foundation, a charitable organization actively involved in sustainably protecting the environment, realizing innovative climate protection projects worldwide, and promoting the use of renewable energies.