February 3, 2022 | 4-minute read (701 words)
What comes to mind when you hear terms like "sustainable business practices" or "going green"? You may have a solar-paneled roof and work in an 85-degree office to save electricity. Unfortunately, sustainability has a terrible reputation for being expensive, challenging to implement and a hassle to maintain. However, there are countless sustainable habits that are simple and affordable – some of which may even help you save money!
Here are a few basic ways business owners and entrepreneurs can help their companies run more sustainably and cost-effectively.
1. Provide remote, hybrid or flexible-schedule employment options
This may sound obvious, but if you haven't already, offering remote employment is an excellent place to start when it comes to sustainability. The advantages are obvious: less gas is needed for employee commutes, and less energy and supplies are required in the workplace. A hybrid workplace where workers swap days in the office or work remotely for part of each day can make a difference for organizations that can't provide entirely remote work. Even organizations that are unable to offer remote work may reduce their carbon footprint by changing their employees' travel time from rush hour, when they spend a lot of gas idling in traffic, to more free-flowing hours.
2. Encourage people to use public transit
Employees who take public transit or carpool to work may be reimbursed or rewarded by their employers. Incentivizing public transit not only helps lower total car emissions, but it also makes employment more accessible to individuals who are unable to drive or do not own a vehicle. Companies that promote public transportation have broader talent pools from which they can hire and healthier employees due to the exercise done by walking or bicycling to and from the transit pickup and drop-off locations.
3. Bring your own cup
Recycling Advocates developed the BYOC! Campaign in 2016 to raise awareness about single-use coffee cup waste. They discovered that one discarded coffee cup each day equals 23 pounds of garbage per year. Did you know that a single reusable water bottle may save up to 167 plastic bottles over a year?
Giving your staff a reusable bottle or coffee cup is a low-cost solution to minimize waste in your office each year. This minor improvement may make a big difference in your company's environmental effect and is an excellent place to start.
4. Embrace some greenery
Bringing in some plants is another simple method to promote sustainability throughout the entire office. Certain plants, such as bamboo palms, aloe vera and ferns, really assist in cleaning the air as they thrive. Having real plants around to create a sense of nature has also been associated with increased staff productivity.
5. Recycle properly
In a large office, you may find yourself decommissioning your outdated gadgets regularly. However, putting electrical equipment in the garbage may significantly influence the landfill where it ends up and it may even be banned in some locations. The majority of electronics include chemicals that are detrimental to the environment when absorbed into the soil. This can harm plants and animals over time and pollute your local water source.
There are a few alternatives to throwing your equipment away. HP, Best Buy and Xerox all provide recycling and buy-back programs to assist you in safely disposing of your equipment. If you're not sure what you can securely dispose of, the Environmental Protection Agency is an excellent place to start. Donating your equipment to a local charity might also be a sustainable alternative if it is still in good working order.
6. Looking beyond the concept of sustainability
Sustainability techniques are essential not only for the environment, but they may also improve staff morale and your company's reputation. Your workers may cooperate on multiple work initiatives throughout the day, but working toward a positive conclusion that isn't related to the company helps develop a greater sense of worth in the workplace. If you've ever participated in a volunteer activity with your co-workers, you know how much team spirit is boosted by working together on a community initiative. When you gather employees to explore ideas to minimize waste and enhance the sustainability of your office, you foster a spirit of teamwork and collectivity.