People often think that being a more sustainable workplace requires a massive project or change in operations. Yet, there are some small changes that can have a big effect on the environment if done consistently. At Sumting we believe that with the contributions of many we can combat climate change and create long lasting results towards our goal to restore nature. However, it is just as important to curb the daily environmental footprint of the workplace too. Therefore, we thought of 7 tips in order to create a workplace that is better for the environment:
Allow your employees to work from home and stimulate other forms of commuting
The COVID-19 period has shown offices around the world that it is possible to work from home a day or two, which significantly reduces the pollution of traveling to the office. Although not everyday can be spent at home, fortunately there are a lot of different ways to commute to work instead of using your own car like carpooling, public transportation and biking. Stimulate using different forms of travel by compensating for the extra time spent on public transport or biking and embedding it into your company culture, lead by example! In addition, alternative modes of transportation make cities more pleasant with less traffic jams and less active motors at the stoplights. Have a look at the following picture;
Top left: 200 people in the street if they would be walking
Top right: 200 people divided in 177 personal cars
Bottom left: 200 people divided in 3 buses or 1 metro
Bottom right: 200 people on bikes
Use real plants inside the office
Plants around the office offer a great way to combine both sustainability and creating a more pleasant environment all at once. Plants absorb CO2 in the air and spread fresh oxygen all over the office. No need for air filters since plants do the same thing, and additionally they also create a comfortable environment. Plants work as natural stress-relievers, studies show that people who spend time in biophilic environments are generally more positive, creative and relaxed.
Recycle office products and furniture
Do not throw away office equipment when upgrading. Printers and monitors if not broken can be recycled since others can still use the equipment. Books and manuals can always be donated easily. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.Not only office equipment can be recycled or gifted but office furniture as well. Old desks, chairs and couches can be reused and therefore gifted to others. As long as the furniture is not broken beyond repair, it can be used.
Turn off electricity when the office is not in use
It is as simple as the title says. Try to make it a habit of unplugging devices and fully shutting down computers when they are not used in order to save both energy and money.
If you need to print, ensure it’s done sustainably
Print only if necessary, go digital if possible. If you’ve got to print, printing double sided is a very easy thing to do but saves about twice as much paper. Additionally, eliminate printing waste by using ecological printing softwares such as GreenPrint. These softwares scan for wasted space before printing and suggest alternative options.
Encourage your employees to use stairs instead of the elevator
For the sporty planet lovers and for the planet lovers who want to get in shape, take the stairs instead of elevators. Moving between floors with an elevator uses a huge amount of energy. According to the Guardian it costs 0.3 kg to 0.6 kg CO2 per day per employee on average to take the elevator. Note this is if you take the elevator 4 times a day (coming in, lunch, return and going home). That is up to 120 kg of CO2 per employee a year, roughly the same as a 1,5 hour flight per person! Hang up signs around the office to indicate the fastest way to the stairs or organize games to encourage employees. Choose the healthy option for your office and the planet.
Invest in nature to compensate for your remaining emissions
Contribute to meaningful projects to make your workplace greener even outside of the walls of your office. Plant trees, take plastic out of the ocean, fight desertification and restore biodiversity. This helps to directly compensate for your workplace impacts, but also provides a great example for your employees to exert more sustainable behaviors. Engage your employees with the results in a visual and simple way, and watch as they become more engaged, motivated and more satisfied with their work. A recent study found that 40% of surveyed young professionals said they have taken one job offer over another because of a company’s sustainability, and 70% said it would impact their decision to stay with a company for the long run.
Businesses of all sizes are waking up to the need to restore our planet. Sumting provides an easy way to start investing in the environment, by building your planet portfolio and sharing it with your customers and your employees. Our platform connects businesses with dozens of trusted, pre-vetted projects that make a tangible positive difference: sumting.org/projects