There are always habits and practices that you hope to see in your workplace, but cultivating a sustainable and eco-conscious culture is something we should all be striving for. With a typical office consisting of mixed generations, different lifestyles, and competing priorities… It is not surprising that few offices have really nailed this. If you and your colleagues want to create a more sustainable workplace, consider these tips to start that journey.
Start with your hardware
You might not think that your hardware has much to do with sustainability, but this is a key part of the puzzle. Ensure that your office printers and other technology are set to environmental mode, which usually means that they limit power and output when idle, and use black and white when possible. If you are considering some new technology purchases, take the time to learn more about the manufacturer and what their policies and ideas are around sustainability. By supporting brands that do the right thing, society sends a loud and clear message to big businesses.
Another action a few workplaces take is correctly disposing of used technology. Are you guilty of this? Batteries, ink cartridges, mobile phones, broken machines – all of these can be recycled at Tech Waste spots around your city. This ensures that your expired technology is put back to work on the production line for future products, and out of harm’s way when disposed of incorrectly in landfills. The metals and materials that go into creating the technology we use are very precious and in some cases, they are virgin materials, so hold your colleagues to account and ensure they are wasting these items safely.
Encourage public transport
Most workplaces will offer certain benefits to their employees, and that is something you can decide with your management team with an environmental lens. If you are hoping to reduce your pollution impact, you could offer public transport allowances to your staff to encourage them to use public transport.
Instead of having 10 employees driving 10 cars to work, you might be able to persuade them all to catch a mode of public transport. This has huge environmental benefits but it also has financial one so your employees might seriously consider this change.
A lot of offices now subscribe to fruit delivery boxes, and they typically come from the local farm or an organic source. By offering fresh produce to your employees in the office, it reduces the need for them to go and buy their own, which often consumes plastic and you cannot control the supermarkets they choose.
Having more whole foods in the office also means less take out and UberEats arriving at the office which comes with its own pollution, and an overwhelming amount of single-use items that could’ve been avoided.
Flexible working arrangements
Remember when the world when into lockdown in 2020, and the pollution and smog cleared itself from all major cities? What a sight to see! Flexible working conditions have fantastic environmental results, and it also reduces the need for you to rent a bigger office space with more technology and more things that are not environmentally responsible. By considering flexible working conditions for your staff you can allow them to be productive in their own homes and even cut their commute entirely.
If your employees are particularly environmental, you might be able to have them do a presentation to your workplace on tips and tricks to make working from home more sustainable. This is just another way that you can show your office that sustainability is a behavior you want your employees to model.
Create a full proof recycling system
Recycling adherence has more to do with a lack of education and a lack of interest, so why not take on that challenge and educate your team on the ways to recycle? It is not as simple as just putting everything in the recycling bin – you want to be separating glass, plastic and soft plastics. Set up a recycling system with comprehensive signage and instructions so that everyone can get involved. You might even inspire your colleagues to bring these methods home with them. Planning and organization are going to be key here, as soft plastics need to be taken to a certain place to be recycled so decide who has that role and how often so you don’t quit before you really get started. Perhaps you can even incentivize your staff to roll up their sleeves and take on this job.
We hope that these ideas have inspired new beginnings at your workplace, as there is so much more we can each be doing. It is very easy to simply do nothing and create bad habits with poor environmental outcomes, so make an office pledge to start strong and slowly build up your green policies and processes in the office!