Sustainability in the workplace is a goal we should all strive for and ‘going green’ doesn’t have to put a strain on your bottom line. There are many great examples of environmental sustainability in the workplace that can reduce your business’ carbon footprint and improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Studies continue to find that environmentally conscious businesses continue to benefit both economically and socially by reducing their carbon footprint. Whether you are looking for eco friendly workplace design or for some examples of economic sustainability in the workplace, there are many ways your business can make a difference just by making small changes in the way it operates.
A Green Workplace or Eco Friendly Workplace is one that is sensitive to the environment, manages resources effectively and is socially responsible. Green sustainable strategies are based on concrete examples of social sustainability in the workplace. These can include working from home, using natural light to reduce energy consumption, interior design with environmental sustainability in mind, and reducing office waste. Green initiatives in the workplace continue to benefit businesses worldwide. Continue reading for more information on the impact of sustainability in the workplace.
Green Initiatives in the Workplace
Going-green in your workplace doesn’t have to put a financial strain on your business. There are many different green initiatives in the workplace that your business can implement that will make it a more eco friendly workplace.
Work towards going paperless. With the advances in cloud computing it has never been easier to make the move to paperless. While this may not always be completely feasible, reducing your business’ paper consumption will not only reduce costs associated with paper, but you may even find increased productivity as a result. No lines at the printer, easier access to documents, cleaner tables, and reduced office storage requirements are all benefits of making the move to paperless. Where printing in unavoidable, use recycled paper, encourage employees to use both sides of the paper, and ensure that all paper used in your office is recycled. Going paperless is one of many examples of social sustainability in the workplace.
Leave the Car Keys at Home
Further examples of environmental sustainability in the workplace are to encourage your employees to use public transportation to reduce their carbon footprint. Offer incentives if your employees bike to work or if they use public transportation. If your workplace is easily accessible by public transportation consider turning some of your carpark into a green space – replace some of the car parks with recreational areas for your employees.
Lunch from Home
Encourage employees to bring a packed lunch from home, not only will this save them money but will reduce their reliance on eating out daily – resulting in less waste associated with a purchased lunch.
Be More Energy Efficient
Utilise natural light, encourage staff to dress for the season so the thermostat in the office can be set a couple degrees higher in summer and a couple degrees lower in winter. Set computer screens to hibernate and avoid the use of screen savers. Consider motion lighting in areas of low traffic, turn off TV’s, lights, and air conditioning units when not in use and unplug electronics where possible. Encourage employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator if it’s only a few floors. Energy conscious examples of economic sustainability in the workplace work towards improved happiness in employees and cost savings for your business.
Foster Recycling as a Core Value
Encourage mugs and reusable bottles to avoid a reliance on plastic bottles. If your office uses pods for coffee, ensure that they are properly recycled. Contact Planet Ark to recycle used printer toners. Buy eco-friendly office supplies that can easily be recycled. Consider a compost pile – create a bin for compostable material like fruit peels and coffee grounds. Employees with a compost bin at home can take these items home to benefit their gardens. Using refillable pens, and buying re-manufactured toners and inks all contribute to an eco friendly workplace.
Where possible encourage telecommuting, and a collaborative online workspace. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint, studies have found that telecommuting can greatly improve the happiness of employees especially if the workload can easily be done from home.
Examples of Social Sustainability in the Workplace
Businesses Australia wide continue to benefit from the impact of sustainability in the workplace. ‘Going Green’ is no longer a pipe-dream. Green initiatives in the workplace not only have a positive environmental impact but continue to provide tangible benefits to all stakeholders in a business. Whether it is cost cutting, improved consumer confidence or employee happiness, a green workplace is one that we all should all strive for. The Good Guys Bendigo and the Goodman Group are two businesses that are working to improve their environmental impact.
The Good Guys Bendigo
The Good Guys Bendigo case study is one of many examples of economic sustainability in the workplace. Successful in receiving a Smarter Resources, Smarter Business capital funding grant in 2013, ‘the Good Guys has a strong commitment to sustainability, especially product stewardship’. Not only do the Good Guys offer a free collection service for old whitegoods and a TV and computer monitor take back service in Bendigo, but they have worked to improve the energy consumption and carbon footprint of their store. Installing state of the art air conditioning units, upgrading lighting and implementing an energy management system has reduced their energy usage by 30% – a total energy saving of $15,000 for the period. By minimising their energy consumption they continue their commitment to a green workplace.
The Goodman Group
Part of a national network of businesses, the Goodman Group case study has shown that the impact of sustainability in the workplace goes far beyond cost cutting, but it also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction. Initial planning of their office fitouts began by evaluating strategies of how they could make their leased office space more productive. After research and planning they opted for an activity-based working model with the ‘aim to create a more flexible and efficient workspace better suited to business needs’. Aiming to increase collaboration, productivity, and efficiency through flexible work practices and virtual offices, they engaged the professional services of the ABW experts. Key changes included: a rollout of wireless laptops, installation of new 23 inch computer screens, interactive whiteboards, enhanced video conferencing tools, and improved lighting systems in their office space. What Goodman Group found was that by implementing an eco friendly workplace they had a 46% reduction in electricity costs, 53% reduction in paper usage, and improved overall staff satisfaction by 88%.The Goodman Group continues to play an important role in reducing their carbon emissions and continue to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Impact of Sustainability in the Workplace
More often than not the long-term benefits of an eco friendly workplace far outweigh the costs of environmental sustainable initiatives. The impact of sustainability in the workplace ranges from tangible improvements in employee motivation and productivity to greater consumer confidence. Studies on examples of environmental sustainability in the workplace continue to find these key benefits:
- Improved Consumer Confidence – A 2006 Millennial Cause Study has found that 69% of respondents consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when choosing where to shop.
- Talent is attracted to an eco friendly workplace – The same study has found that 74% of employees are more likely to pay attention to a company’s message when they see that the company has a strong commitment to a cause and that 56% of new employees will refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.
- Increased Market Value – A 2008 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found that there is a correlation between a company’s stock performance and the commitment to a green workplace.
- Improved employee motivation – Studies continue to find that employees who are working in a green workplace are happier, have fewer sick days, and have improved job satisfaction, which all contribute to greater productivity across the board.
Sustainability in the workplace is something we should all work towards to ensure that we can make a positive impact on the environment. Want to know more about how your business can work towards being an eco friendly workplace? Or how green initiatives in the workplace can have a positive impact on your business and the environment? Contact us today at Future Fitouts for an eco-friendly office inspection – together we can transform your office into a place that is not only great for your employees but also for the environment.