A green workplace makes everyone involved feel good. Your customers will appreciate buying from a company that cares for the environment. Your employees will feel a part of something bigger than themselves. You will know you’ve done your part to reduce your carbon footprint. When everyone gets on the same page, small groups can accomplish big things.
About 33 percent of workers say their jobs cause them high-stress levels, which results in sleepless nights, weight gain, anxiety, depression, and even high blood pressure. What if you could turn some of that around and engage employees by working together to create a more sustainable and healthier work environment? How might focusing on building an eco-friendly company alleviate some of the stress of work while helping the larger world around you at the same time?
There are some simple green solutions that can improve the workplace for everyone. Here are some of the ways you can become more sustainable as a brand and encourage your workforce today.
1. Protect Your Workers
One of the first things you should look at as a company is how to create a safe work environment. In older buildings, there might be issues such as asbestos tiles in the ceilings or insulation. Paint that is peeling off might be lead-based if it’s in an older building.
Your first step to creating a more sustainable workplace should be to inspect every inch of the building where you and your employees spend the majority of their day.
Conduct testing for environmental hazards such as radon, mold and lead. If anything is detected, hire a professional to clean it up. Even the way something such as lead paint is removed can impact the air in the building. Even though cleanup might cost you a little money, your employees will know you care about them and their health.
You’ll also have to complete this type of work before listing your building for sale in the future anyway. Fixing problems now can save you money later.
2. Attract Minorities
Small businesses sometimes struggle with diversity in the workplace. However, minorities care just as much about the environment as non-minorities. Yet, 67 percent of job candidates say they want to be part of a more diverse team. The insights that people from all walks of life bring to a company result in diverse companies being more likely to capture a new market.
Creating a more sustainable model is a task that involves everyone in your company—not just women, minorities or men. It is a topic that everyone can get behind to come together and create solutions.
3. Create a Better Work-Life Balance
Companies focused on going green often add initiatives such as remote work options to cut down on pollution and fuel usage from commuting. Giving workers the option to complete tasks at home offers advantages to both the workers and the company. The company gains access to workers all over the country rather than being limited to only those in their immediate vicinity. As for the workers, they have a better work-life balance because they cut down on all the time spent traveling to and from work.
Businesses that are able to provide flexible schedules may reduce carbon emissions even more. Imagine the worker who logs on after the morning rush, when the drain on the electric grid in their area is lower. Now, look at a manager who does most of their work in the evenings while others sleep. Not only does the flexibility help reduce energy use, but it also gives workers enough flexibility to keep them engaged and on task.
4. Reduce Sick Days
Adding green initiatives to your office space may result in healthier employees and fewer sick days.
In a recent report, researchers revealed that employees working in LEED-certified green buildings were actually happier and healthier than those working in non-LEED buildings. Around 90 percent of the people working in LEED-certified structures said they were satisfied with their jobs and 79 percent of respondents stated they’d prefer a job in a green office.
One simple thing you can do to make your office healthier is getting fresh air into the building to avoid “sick building” syndrome. This creates a situation where germs are very quickly and easily passed back and forth.
You should also add a rooftop garden, encourage local residents to keep a community garden on your company grounds, and add plants to your office space that are known to clean the air.
5. Create a Company Culture
Does your business provide a specific attitude and culture that you’d like to cultivate? Perhaps you’d like to attract younger workers into the mix so you can benefit from fresh ideas as well as the experience of older workers. Focusing on green initiatives sets a tone for your company and helps create a culture where everyone works together to protect resources for future generations.
Encourage ideas for the company to be green in new ways. Reward employees who go above and beyond in their efforts, both at work and in their personal lives. Perhaps a group of employees carpools to save on fuel, and you decide to treat them to lunch on Friday.
Define what sustainability means for your brand. What impact do you want to make and how far are you willing to go? A strong company culture attracts like-minded people with the same passions you have.
6. Provide Job Security
Customers have their own causes and passions. Those who care about the environment often seek out companies that strive toward a greener model. Your workforce will be happier when they know their jobs are secure because your business is reaching those with the same passions and your profit keeps growing. Regular raises, a living wage, and the perks of celebrating as your company grows will build a green workforce dedicated to your brand and to building a better world.
Embrace the Big Picture
As a business owner, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture. Even though your small company might not seem to make as much of an impact on the environment as you think, the influence you wield with your workers and customers has a ripple effect that impacts future generations. Choose green practices now because you believe in a more eco-friendly tomorrow.