Whether your company is going green or already in the midst of its sustainable efforts, your employees are just as important in the task of operating sustainably as any other factor. This article is compiled from successful examples we’ve seen from clients and in our own green efforts.
1. Conserve your business travel- If your staff frequently travel to meetings with clients, change the mode of transportation. Offer a company green car, Zip Car, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, or even Metrocard. Push employees to share cabs or rides with other’s in your office building.
2. Reuse paper- Have your staff reuse paper. In most offices there are piles of old paper that get thrown away and reuse for scratch paper. Make a team bonding experience out of making your own paper.
3. Organic meal options- Provide healthy and organic meal options, a list of organic restaurants, or a kitchen for people to cook their own healthy lunches. This not only provides your employees with the option to eat organic, but also demonstrates your commitment to sustainable business practices.
4. Email Signatures- Require your staff to have an approved message about sustainability or specific green cause your company is passionate about in the signature of their emails. This is a constant reminder and communicates your passion to others.
5. Company meeting and mixer- Hold a company party, social mixer, or meeting on behalf of new changes in your sustainability/green policies. Save these for large changes in operations, certifications, or your total policy overhaul. Make sure that your internal PR is up to date and that your staff is aware of your companies commitment to sustainability. Communication with the people on the ground in your company is key. It transcends in their daily dealings with clients and customers.
6. Conserve their commute- Incentivize them to ride their bicycles by offering a 15 minute leeway for getting to and leaving from work if they ride their bikes. (People who drive must be there at 9. People who bike or take public transportation may be there at 9:15 and they may leave 15 minutes early if they ride their bike or take public transportation.
7. Plants and office atmosphere- Keep plants in the office. This subtle change is one that studies show will improve moods, oxygen content in the air preventing fatigue, and make the office feel more like a friendly atmosphere. It also is a great way to remind people about your efforts for the environment. What says green more than plants? (Please don’t forget to water them as they will paradoxically not be green without this)
8. Employee input- Use an open forum platform to allow your entire staff to give their input on your sustainability policy. People are more likely to be passionate about a policy that they help create.
9. Lead by example- Change your own actions to be as sustainable as possible. Not only is green trendy, but leaders set examples for their employees. The most effect method of change is to give them a good example to follow.
10. Encourage personalization- This is perhaps the most encompassing, but important. Allow people on your team to personalize the office with their own sustainable touches. (For example in our office we have someone who made their own lamp shade from recycled coffee capsules and another who grows their own herb garden on the balcony.) With this freedom you will see your staff’s passion for sustainability only become more enhanced. Even incentivize for these actions.