Sustainable workplaces, eco-friendly workplaces, green workplaces; whatever term you use, it all means the same thing. It is ‘a workplace that is environmentally sensitive, resource efficient and socially responsible’, as defined by Springer Link.
Managing a sustainable workplace can have a wide range of benefits from increasing employee retention to improving brand image. Employees who are happy and feel they are working for an employer who cares about social issues are more likely to remain within the business.
Furthermore, the newer generations that are now entering the workforce aren’t looking for a 9-5 job where they sit at a specified desk and keep their heads down. They’re a lot more vocal and focus is now shifting heavily on the overall company culture; this includes what corporate social responsibility the business administers. So what can businesses do to create a more economical and sustainable workplace?
1. Reduce travel where possible
Travel can sometimes be unavoidable, but after 2020 we’re no strangers to working from home or attending virtual meetings. With the hybrid workplace model set to be our new norm, commuting five days a week will become a thing of the past for many of us.
Not only will this help reduce pollution being released into the atmosphere, but it will also keep costs down as there will be less money spent on travel expenses. On the occasions where travelling is essential, whether it be a commute to the office or client meeting, car sharing, or public transport are fabulous ways of keeping carbon footprints to a minimum; you could even cycle or walk in for the added health benefits!
2. Bring the outside in
It’s a well-known fact that plants cleanse the air around us so why limit that only to our homes? Adding some plants in your workplace will help to purify the air and can also serve as a subtle reminder to employees to think about the environment.
With many employees looking to return to their workplaces in the near future, employers are turning to their Landlords and building owners to ensure the building’s air quality is of a high standard to limit the spread of Covid-19 and any other airborne virus.
Adding plants into the workplace will increase the quality of the air and they’re also known to help reduce stress and anxiety which in turn can increase employee happiness and productivity.
3. Switch to green cleaning
Did you know that standard cleaning products contribute to higher levels of pollution indoors compared with outdoors? This shocking fact is just one reason why the switch to green cleaning should be paramount to businesses across the country.
The chemicals that we find in standard cleaning products release their toxins into the air, damaging the air quality throughout the workplace. Without realising it, we’ve been breathing in these toxins for years and it has most likely contributed to us feeling unwell at some stage.
Green cleaning products may have once been a lot more expensive than the standard cleaning products, however that is a thing of the past. Not only are they priced the same, or cheaper in some cases, but they actually provide a more thorough clean meaning less of the product needs to be used at any one time, thus making it a more cost-effective option.
4. Be more energy-efficient
Being energy-efficient doesn’t mean just using energy-saving light bulbs. It means turning off all electrical equipment at the end of each day or when not in use, installing automatic lighting where appropriate and only using the energy that we need.
Automatic lighting has changed our workplaces for the better. We’ve come out of the darkness and into the light (if you’ll pardon the pun!) and now see how much energy was being wasted each day simply by needing to keep all lights on at all times. Not only does automatic lighting save money and energy, but it’s also touch-free, something that is highly desirable in a post-pandemic world.
When we do return to our workplaces, many of us will be relying heavily on technology to help us book hot-desking areas, hold a meeting or even make our coffee for us. As energy efficiency isn’t a new topic, many newly designed products have the ‘rest mode’ feature which will turn off any display panels in bid to conserve energy, however this equipment will still need to be turned off at the end of the day to save money and energy.
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Waste is one the biggest problems we face in our efforts to protect the planet. From discarded plastic and fishing apparatus filling our oceans (Seaspiracy, anyone?) to the everyday rubbish we see crumpled up on the street, we can’t escape the physical waste we’re surrounding ourselves with.
Reusing ink cartridges, recycling old cardboard boxes, and doing one big supply order as opposed to three smaller orders may seem insignificant but if we all did this, the impact on the environment would be immeasurable. These are just three examples of small changes that can be made and easily implemented in the workplace with little to no extra cost.
Many companies offer a recycling programme as an incentive for buying their products. For example, Nespresso will supply a bag for all used coffee pods to be added to and when full, they will collect the bag and recycle the pods. Making use of these programmes saves the environment from being filled with additional waste and can also help businesses gain environmental accreditations such as ISO14001.
We are all responsible for how we treat the environment. With employees calling for more businesses to get involved in current social matters, we can’t hide from our corporate social responsibilities any longer; there is no planet B. At Blue Jelly we’ve drastically updated our processes to ensure we are acting in the most appropriate and sustainable way. To see what we do to help our planet, and perhaps get some ideas for your business, head to our Green Jelly page. Alternatively, get in touch with our team today and see how we can transfer your workplace into a sustainable working environment that fully supports your people as well as the planet.