We understand why business owners may be quite hesitant to shift to the green movement. There is a misconception that doing so is costly and inconvenient. However, the transition might be more beneficial than you think.
For instance, a recent U.S.-based poll showed that 71% of employees are willing to accept a pay cut for a good cause. It is also efficient in boosting employee productivity and satisfaction.
In another poll, this time done in the UK showed that 72% of employees are concerned about their company’s environmental ethics. The same trend is seen in Asia as well as the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) projects more than 14 million green jobs being generated in Asia by 2030 according to Reuters.
The workforce has spoken: green companies are on the rise. This also means that an environment-related scandal befalling your company might just lead to its downfall. This is the reason why we highly recommend including such issues in your risk management plan, the same way you prevent and prepare your office for natural disasters.
The Hybrid Office and The Remote Worker
We also seek to focus this article on the hybrid working model that allows employees to decide when and where to work. It not only gives your employees more flexibility and work autonomy but also increases work-life balance and overall productivity.
More companies are expected to accommodate this method as the world further digitises, partly because of the health crisis. Experts agree that the workforce would have transitioned anyway even if the pandemic didn’t happen, though.
In fact, a recent survey shows that almost half of employees would likely switch companies if their current one doesn’t offer a hybrid work option.
With that said, expect our tips to focus both on business owners and their remote workers.
One of the first things that you can do is introduce green thinking into your company culture: Encourage green volunteerism, promote local eco-friendly initiatives, you can even start with a simple reminder to avoid printing documents unless absolutely necessary as part of your email signature.
Remember, just because your employees work from home doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in your eco-friendly efforts. Doing so can even encourage a sense of unity and camaraderie even if your employees are located in different places around the world.
There are a lot of steps that you can start right now. It doesn’t have to be big. What’s important is to make the first move to help build momentum further on.
Switch To More Sustainable Office Supplies
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, our nation has produced more than 65 million tons of paper and paper-related waste back in 2018 alone. Can you imagine how much it has accumulated these past two years?
Going paperless can certainly reduce that weight. You can’t expect your remote-working employees to invest more than what they need to fulfill their duties, but you certainly can as an employer.
You can sign up for various online platforms and tools that won’t require people to print documents anymore. You can also start investing more in digital marketing over print or direct mail marketing.
Meanwhile, remote workers can also explore eco-friendly office supplies. A paperless notebook is a good alternative for a notepad. It gives the feel of a genuine analog writing experience and, according to some brands, “endlessly reusable”. We also recommend using biodegradable pens made from recycled materials.
Here’s an environmental problem more unique to the digital age: electronic waste. This includes old cellphones, tablets, laptops, computers and more. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (or UNEP), almost 55 million metric tons of electronic waste were produced globally in 2019. It is estimated that this will further double by 2030.
To make matters worse, these unwanted digital waste end up in landfills to be eliminated through methods that can be terribly damaging to both human health and the environment.
Fortunately, there are ways to dispose of them properly. The best way is to forward them to a certified e-waste recycling location. There are also charitable institutions that appreciate donations of repairable devices.
Don’t limit these efforts to your company’s e-waste alone. You can also encourage your employees (both on and off-site) to drop off their old and broken digital devices at the office.
Reduce Energy Consumption And Convert
If there are two types of energy that businesses constantly exploit, those would be electricity and combustion energy. Companies can have massive carbon footprints due to their transportation needs.
Encouraging carpooling is a good step in the right direction. You can also consider increasing the security of your company’s parking spots for bikes.
Offering a remote working option remains to be one of the best ways to reduce both electricity and combustion energy, though. Not only would it limit the emissions made during their daily transportation, but it would also decrease the need for office lighting, heating and plumbing.
They would be accessing these resources at home instead. They would have used up these resources at home even if they were away at the office anyway.
As for your office’s use of electricity, reminding your employees to shut down their computers and turn off the lights when they’re done using a room can already make an impact. However, it is still ideal to convert to a renewable source of energy and heating.
Installing solar panels won’t just help you save money in electric bills in the long run but can also increase the value of any property.
Meanwhile, installing a geothermal pump will always keep your office at a constant, comfortable temperature regardless of the season. It can decrease your utility bills as well.
There are also a number of ways for remote workers to save on power consumption, even without converting to renewable sources. We know how expensive conversion sometimes gets even with the tax rebates being offered at times. Here are some practices you can do at home:
Turn the thermostat a couple of degrees lower. This alone is enough to decrease your home’s carbon emissions and heating bills. Choose a home office space that gets a lot of natural light. In this way, you won’t have to use artificial lighting for the rest of the day. Unplug your devices when not in use. Digital devices and appliances can still consume electricity even if they’re not currently being used for as long as they are plugged into the wall. Decrease your screen’s brightness. Finally, take advantage of your devices’ eco-friendly settings. Did you know that simply turning your screen’s brightness down can already save energy?
Transitioning to a greener business doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a lot of things that you can do as the owner to influence the waste disposal and resource consumption of your companyーremote workers included!
Meanwhile, never underestimate your contributions as a home-based worker. Even the smallest actions can create bigger ripples in the long run.
How about you? Do you have other great ideas to share with us on how to make a business more eco-friendly? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Author Bio: Mike Abelson, Editorial Director at Lendza.
Photo Credit: Pixabay