Ways to Make Your Company a More Sustainable Workplace

Sustainability. It’s the buzzword that everyone seems to be talking about right now, but what does it really mean? By definition, sustainability is the “quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. In reality, being a sustainable workplace means that your company is striving to make changes to reduce your environmental footprint while simultaneously creating an office environment that encourages healthy behavior and employee satisfaction.

It might seem overwhelming when you start to think of all of the ways you could try to incorporate sustainability into the workplace, but that’s why you have us! Right? Right. There are so many easy ways to make small changes that make a big impact in the long run.

Gift Reusable Branded Products

Take a minute and think about how many plastic water bottles are thrown away at your office every single day.  Would you be able to guess how many? How about plastic utensils in the kitchen? Or plastic bags that employees use to bring in their lunch?

A great place to start when it comes to incorporating and encouraging a sustainable lifestyle in the workplace is to provide each employee with some branded, reusable products.  By simply providing each employee with a reusable water bottle and lunch bag, you are drastically reducing your waste.  Not only are you encouraging sustainable behavior, but you are also creating the warm, fuzzy feeling for your employees by showing them that they are appreciated.  The best part? They will be carrying around products decorated with your company’s logo for extra impressions – score!

Providing reusable utensils, bowls, plates, etc. in the kitchen area of your office is another great way to discourage wasteful behavior. Instead of using disposable plastic utensils and potentially paper plates or bowls, employees will be able to use and reuse dishes daily.  Some companies even go as far as placing a “ban” on plastic bags and water bottles!

Encourage Energy Efficient Habits

Starting a carpool program or encouraging the use of public transportation or bikes can be easy ways to motivate employees to shift their behavior. Looking for a way to jumpstart this process? Create incentives and awards for your employees if they participate in any of the above options. Happy hours, gift cards or catered lunches all work well as prizes for adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Encourage your employees to enable and utilize power saving features on their computers. This one might seem small, but it makes a world of difference and takes less than five minutes to implement. Another small change is to encourage a paperless office. Challenge your employees to print one less document a day and see what the overall reduction in paper is at your office.

Lastly, switch out those inefficient lightbulbs. According to energy.gov, energy-efficient lightbulbs (halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps, light emitting diodes) typically use 25% - 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lightbulbs and can last 3 – 25 times longer.  This simple switch will save you time, energy and money.

Make Recycling Easy

If you asked your employees to identify which items out of those they throw away daily are recyclable and which items are not, would they have an answer for you? Do you even have recycling bins in your office? The answer to these two questions must be yes before you can make any sort of difference.

Step one – acquire recycling bins.  Step two – create flyers noting which materials can be recycled.  Once your employees are educated about which items go where, they’ll be more likely to participate in the initiative.

Incorporating sustainable practices into your everyday office life can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.  By adjusting your workplace behavior even slightly, you can create an atmosphere that is healthy for your employees as well as the environment.

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