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When you create a green, sustainable workplace your organisation, your employees and the environment benefit hugely.
Making a connection to nature is one of our instincts and research has proved that this contact boosts wellbeing and productivity as well as improves our mental and physical health.
Going green doesn’t have to be expensive either, in fact many of our tips listed below will help you reduce costs.
And of course, making earth friendly decisions will help make our planet a happier and healthier place to live in.
Let’s look at ways you can create your own eco workspace.
1. Embrace paperless. We know there are a lot of stationery fans out there, but the use of notepads and paper flip charts are no longer essential. Invest in applications which make note making and sharing easy and consider using portable whiteboards instead. For stationery aficionados, don’t worry, there are many sustainable alternatives to choose from.
2. Encourage remote working. This is a great way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and drive a positive workplace culture. There are many tools available to ensure colleagues can work together even if they aren’t in the same location.
3. Use natural light. Do away with blinds at windows if you can to allow natural light to flood in saving on lighting costs. Using natural light boosts morale and gives clarity of mind as sunlight triggers the release of serotonin. Decorating the workspace in light colours will help maximise the light too and, to go one step further, use low VOC paints to keep harmful toxins out of your workspace.
4. Think about the effects of cleaning. As this chore takes places outside of office time it’s one that often gets ignored. Take a look at the cleaning products used and compare the ingredients to the eco-friendlier alternatives – you’ll be surprised how such a simple swap of products can make a big difference to the quality of the air in your office space.
5. Change the dress code. Insisting that your employees wear uniforms or suits results in a lot of dry cleaning. To reduce the use of cleaning chemicals (and the cost to your staff) it may be time to implement a more relaxed dress policy.
6. Save water. If your toilet facilities aren’t of the latest design, then your company may be wasting water without realising. Putting a plastic milk container filled with something like sand to weigh it down in every cistern will save approximately half a gallon of water every flush.
7. Go green, literally! Having plants around the office not only look great, but they are known airborne pollutant absorbers and boost the oxygen level in the workspace. Did you know that having plants in an office can increase productivity by 10-15%?
8. Use the power of the sun. Government initiatives are available for companies who are willing to transition to solar power. Reducing energy costs as well as your company’s footprint is a win-win solution.
9. Healthier furnishings. An unknown fact is that many pieces of commercial office furniture contain flame retardant which can have a negative effect on the health of your employees. Eco friendly office furniture is now widely available to buy.
10. Recycle. Make it easy for your staff to recycle their waste by proving bins for bottles, paper, packaging etc instead of placing a bin under every desk.
11. Go plastic free. Take a look around your office, in particular the kitchen areas and try to reduce the amount of single-use plastic.
12. Cycle to work and car share schemes. We all know that sharing the journey to work, cycling, walking or using public transport saves on emissions so why not encourage your workforce to rethink how they travel to work? Investigate why staff may be put off doing this and find solutions: ask your workforce to show interest in car pooling and help find suitable partners or install secure bike racks.
We hope our list of options has given you plenty of ideas. But how do you implement these initiatives effectively?
1. Start a sustainability team. Peer to peer awareness works better than emails from the top. Giving members of staff this role is great for their development too. The group can create a buzz through effective communications, implementation of programmes and research into better purchasing decisions.
2. Put in place regular challenges. Just asking for one small change to be made every month will make a huge impact over a period of time. You can start with a simple ‘switch everything off when you leave’ challenge to ‘go a month without using any single-use plastic’. Give recognition to those who have excelled in challenges and give them a shout-out in the communications.
3. Encourage suggestions for energy and waste reductions strategies. When you ask your employees to take an active part in decisions for the company your organisation is more likely to achieve its goals, plus it’s great for employee engagement and developing a fantastic workplace culture.
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If you’re ready to take advantage of our skills and expertise to help boost the wellbeing of your workforce give our friendly team of HR professionals a call on 0161 941 2426.
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