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A Shift in Company Culture

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08.29.2021

Incentivizing Eco-friendly Practices to Better the Planet & Employee Wellbeing

96% of Generation Y employees are concerned about the environment and expect their employers to take steps towards becoming more sustainable. Greener Ideal & Johnson Controls

Promoting sustainable packaging for products and cutting carbon emissions are good; however, unless the company makes an internal shift, “going green” loses half its value.

Any organization isn’t much without its people.  Promoting a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle among employees and executives alike is vital for the growth of any company.

The benefits are endless.  Sure, some are external, such as customer willingness to pay up to ten cents more per product if it’s sustainable.  That being said, the vast majority of benefits are internal.  It demonstrates a true belief in becoming more sustainable from the inside out.  It enriches the lives of everyone involved.  It fosters a sense of intercompany community.

Within this reinspired community, everyone intrinsically wants to be better, work together better, and focus more.  A shared vision emerges, one entangled with the company mission itself.  This inevitably leads to more productive working hours, innovative ideas, well-rested staff, less stress, and more bliss in the workplace.  Not to mention, it fosters higher employee retention rates and elevates branding.

There are a plethora of studies about Green HRM.  Yet very few outline exactly what can be done in daily office life.

And It Begins

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  The idea of a better, more sustainable office life begs the most important question in the journey: “Where do we start?”  We begin by gauging where your company is right now.  Ask questions – and be aware that eliciting an honest response can be difficult.

Company culture and general sentiment towards change will undoubtedly impact the accuracy of the responses received.  Therefore, sitting employees down to get their honest opinion should start with context.  Begin by outlining company initiatives, then open a conversation.  Here are some baseline questions to consider asking employees:

  • On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our sustainability effort? Why?
  • Would you be interested in helping us create and foster a greener lifestyle here in the office?
  • What are your ideas, or things you implement in your personal life, to mitigate your impact on the environment?
  • How do you get to the office? Would you consider biking, walking, car-pooling, or taking public transportation?  What do you think we can do to encourage this?
  • Would you be open to more plant-based options in the cafeteria / fridge? Do you have any particular foods you’d suggest?
  • Which incentives could we offer to make you more willing to change small habits?
  • Would you be more willing to implement those new habits if everyone in the company did so as well?
  • Would you prefer, monetary (a raise or bonus), non-monetary (extra vacation time), or recognition-based (praise from top management) rewards / incentives?

The people within an organization create and maintain sustainability.  The ideas are just the start.

Inspire Change

Companies can pursue many changes, both big and small, to facilitate positive change.  Below are some ideas to start:

  • Create incentives to take a greener mode of transportation to work, such as creating ride-sharing programs for employees
  • If remote work is an option, offer it as much as possible, this will not only cut down on transportation, but utilities used in-office as well, such as electricity and water
  • If you’re going to eat out or order in, carefully select a restaurant in line with your mission for sustainability, such as a zero-waste, plant based joint. FREA in Berlin is a great example of sustainable eating
  • Implement company-wide working hours, where things automatically power down after a certain time, setting a computer on “sleep” mode as opposed to shutting it down completely is more energy consuming, read more about green offices here
  • Stock up on a set of company blankets for the winter time to reduce heater usage
  • Encouraging people to bring their lunch to work in reusable containers and lunch boxes
  • Help educate your employees by putting everything in writing & setting consistent goals
  • Don’t place all the responsibility on the individuals: help make your employees’ lives easier, talk to the company about automatic lights and faucets to help keep consumption to a minimum
  • When hiring, implement questions about sustainability in the workplace, a fresh perspective may be groundbreaking
  • If possible, hire a sustainability officer to help implement, oversee, and track progress

Most importantly, talk to your employees, observe what works and what doesn’t, scrap inefficient projects.

Cultivating a sustainable mindset within an organization requires everyone doing their part.  If going green becomes an annoying inconvenience in the eyes of the staff, it’s time to return to step one.  Pushing programs that don’t work are a major hindrance in a company’s ability to move forward, be honest, make mistakes, and actually implement feedback received.  Don’t let bureaucracy or pride get in the way of going green.

Beware: Greenwashing Ahead

As mentioned earlier in this article, many companies greenwash their practices by suggesting seemingly innocent yet, when investigated, nonsensical solutions.

These suggestions air on the side of “reduce printing!” when cloud storage in massive data centers emits as much carbon as the aviation industry.  Yes, you read that right.  There’s more to sustainable office life than simply switching off the light when you leave the room.  Take time to think through all the ramifications of a new sustainable project or initiative.

Always stop to question, and research “how sustainable really is this?”

Of course, everything has pros and cons, there is no perfect solution, but there is an opportunity to do real good.  A green workplace takes backtracking, total involvement, and commitment from all.  It starts at the top.  Executives must be on board with the changes, actively making them and committing.

If the CEO isn’t doing it, why should the accounting department be held responsible for bringing lunch from home?  Pay attention and go forth – go green.

 


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25 Comments

    • Komoneed

      Thank you for your candid comment!… We hope to see you soon again!

      Reply
  1. Emily

    Great Tip to check out actual possibilities! Greenwashing is a big concern of mine and it amazing to have some hands on examples of how things can go right! https://www.frea.de/story/ was a great insight you linked on this article as well!

    Reply
    • Komoneed

      Thanks a lot Emily!

      Reply
  2. Luca

    This article made me realise that I never turn off my computer… Such easy things could have such a big impact !

    Reply
    • Komoneed

      Thanks Luca! It’s also a healthy practice!

      Reply
  3. leon

    Not sure what my employees would think about me turning off the heater for the winter and giving them blankets instead …

    Reply
    • Komoneed

      Thanks Leon! A bit radical, however, perhaps you should discuss with them what the best option is…

      Reply
  4. Tim

    Employees need to WANT sustainability though, and be prepared to change some of their behaviours

    Reply
    • Komoneed

      Yes Tim! That’s the key!

      Reply
  5. Noel

    I totally get the importance of eco-friendly practices, but can we also incentivize nap time at work? #WellbeingGoals

    Reply
  6. Jase Tang

    Article: A Shift in Company Culture
    Opinion: Incentivizing Eco-friendly Practices to Better the Planet & Employee Wellbeing
    Comment: Who knew recycling coffee cups could make us happier AND save the world? 😄🌍♻️

    Article: A Shift in Company Culture
    Opinion: And It Begins
    Comment: Finally, companies are waking up! Lets hope its not just a fluke. 🤞🏼💼

    Article: A Shift in Company Culture
    Opinion: Inspire Change
    Comment: Its time to break free from the old ways and embrace innovation! 🚀✨

    Article: A Shift in Company Culture
    Opinion: Beware: Greenwashing Ahead
    Comment: Dont be fooled by fancy green labels, we need real action! 🌿🚫💚

    Reply
    • Komoneed

      Comment: Absolutely! Its great to see companies acknowledging their impact on the planet and taking steps towards a more eco-friendly culture. Lets hope they follow through with meaningful actions and not just empty promises. 🌎🌿

      Reply
  7. Easton Stafford

    I never thought going green could make employees happier! Who knew? 🌿🌍

    Reply
  8. Amirah Freeman

    Comment:

    These articles really got me thinking about the importance of company culture. 🌱💼 But seriously, can we all just agree that greenwashing is a major buzzkill? 🙄 #LetsGetReal #EcoFriendlyPractices

    Reply
  9. Ameer Grant

    Comment: I never thought saving the planet could make my job more fun! 🌍🎉

    Reply
    • James

      Thats great to hear! Saving the planet should be everyones priority, and its even better when we can find joy and fulfillment in doing so. Keep up the good work! 🌍👏

      Reply
  10. Aniyah Barnes

    I never thought composting at work could make such a difference! 🌱🌍

    Reply
    • Izabella Holland

      Really? Composting at work? What a waste of time! There are more important things to focus on than saving the planet. We should be prioritizing productivity and profit, not playing around with dirt.

      Reply
  11. Owen Patel

    Actually, its not surprising at all. Taking care of the environment is directly linked to our own well-being. Its about time we all realize that we cant thrive if were destroying the planet. So, yeah, eco-friendly practices are a no-brainer for employee well-being. 🌍

    Reply
  12. Alonso Grant

    Yeah, its definitely refreshing to see companies taking responsibility for their environmental impact. Its high time we all prioritize sustainability and work towards a greener future. Lets hope more companies follow suit! #SustainabilityMatters

    Reply
  13. Briar Person

    Nap pods promote well-being and productivity, while composting stations only cater to a niche group. Prioritizing personal comfort over sustainability is short-sighted. Its time to wake up and realize that a well-rested workforce is the foundation of a successful and eco-friendly culture. #WorkSmartNotHard

    Reply
  14. Julia

    Are you kidding me? These companies are just jumping on the green bandwagon for good PR. Its all about money, not saving the planet. Dont be naive.

    Reply
  15. Douglas

    Great article! I totally agree that companies should step up and prioritize eco-friendly practices. Saving the planet is cool!

    Reply
    • Halo

      I couldnt agree more! Its about time companies stop being so selfish and start taking responsibility for their actions. We need more eco-warriors like you spreading this message. Lets save the planet together!

      Reply
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