Chances are you and your employees already strive to prioritize green initiatives in the workplace. But as climate change, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility become more important, workplace leaders need to reconsider how effective their current strategies are and whether or not they can do more.
While most people may welcome the prospect of starting new green initiatives, the process of getting them to follow through with more sustainable practices can be a challenge. Without the whole team fully committed to greener practices, the success of these new eco-friendly practices will be minimal. Therefore, we’ve compiled eight ways to encourage your team to go green.
A great way to start encouraging green initiatives is by first compiling and sharing information regarding how different workplace practices contribute to the company’s environmental footprint. Many of your employees likely take up some sustainable practices at home but don’t necessarily apply that same practice to the office. Therefore, present statistics and data that show how their individual actions at the workplace contribute to the office’s environmental footprint.
This will increase visibility regarding your team’s effect on the environment and should spark some inspiration to change for the better.
Here are some ideas to create better visibility:
It’s much easier to accomplish a goal when it’s clearly defined. Rather than setting vague goals related to sustainability, sit down with your team and create some specific, tangible goals for the future. This will simultaneously make going green seem easier to accomplish while encouraging employees to act on green initiatives.
Create an employee-driven green team to implement environmentally-conscious measures that will help the office reach its goals. Forming a green team will create a greater sense of involvement and make reaching these goals a team effort. Also, you may find that certain employees already practice or have ideas on how to make the workplace greener.
Even the most eco-conscious of us can be forgetful and forget to turn off the lights when we leave the room. Therefore, place friendly reminders by light switches, faucets, computers, and printers, reminding employees to conserve energy by turning off the lights when they leave the room, conserve water, and put the printer or computer into sleep mode when they’re finished.
After the first month that the green initiatives started, display the results. While you shouldn’t expect huge differences in energy consumption in the first month, even a small decrease in the power bill may prove enough to encourage team members to continue on the sustainability track and make more significant changes.
Though we all hope that we want to be more sustainable out of the goodness of our hearts, we know that a little bit of incentivization never hurts. Offer financial incentives for people who actively make changes to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, if a few employees start carpooling to work, you can reward them with a small bonus. Or, if some employees started biking to work, rewarding them with some extra money may give other employees the encouragement they need to try it out themselves.
Furthermore, if the office as a whole starts making big changes inside and outside the workplace, consider throwing an office party or letting them leave work early on the last Friday of the month. Not only will this encourage employees to go green, but it will foster better teamwork and make going green more fun.
If you’re implementing sustainable changes around the office, then you should do everything you can to make the transition as easy as possible for team members. For example, if one of the goals is to recycle 100% of recyclable waste, then place several recyclable bins around the office, rather than just using one or two. Similarly, if you want to start composting wasted food and coffee grounds, consider a food waste pick-up service that comes weekly to pick up any wasted food.
In addition to adding notices around the office, you may want to add timers on light switches and screen savers or reduce the time that it takes to activate a shut-off. This will automatically put computers in sleep mode and turn off light switches in case employees forget to do it themselves.
Employees will be more encouraged to adopt greener practices in the workplace if they know that the company as a whole is making sustainable decisions. For example, executives should start prioritizing green business partners to make their business more sustainable, while also investing in green infrastructure. Improving sustainability at both the top and the bottom of the company will help to make it a truly eco-friendly business.
As people recognize the growing importance of going green, both your employees and clients will be happier to work with your business knowing that your company is taking real steps towards achieving a more sustainable business. Going green will make your team feel better about working at the company, and may even encourage bigger profits from customers who are environmentally conscious.
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