There’s no doubt that a ‘green’ workplace is definitely becoming the new normal in Australia. However, despite improvements to reduce office printing, get the right recycling bins and move to reusable coffee cups, offices still have a long way to go when it comes to reducing their environmental footprint, as they unfortunately are still one of biggest contributors to Australia’s waste problem. But if offices work collaboratively to minimise their office wastage, we can reach a more sustainable future quicker and more efficiently. Josh Howard, Founder and CEO of Australian sustainability soap brand Single Use Ain’t Sexy provides a few simple ways to embrace sustainability and introduce eco-friendly practices in the office.
Nominate a sustainability team
A sustainability team can serve many purposes in the social sphere of the workplace. The team’s focus will be to raise awareness and encourage fellow colleagues to join the initiative and make a real difference in the workplace by embracing sustainable practices. A sustainability team can hold the responsibility of educating staff through informational lunch-and-learns and introducing eco-friendly events. The sustainability team can also offer incentives such as vouchers or sleep ins based on who can demonstrate they are embracing the initiatives. Go on, build your green team!
Begin a competition, monthly green challenges
Get the competitive streak going in your office! There’s nothing more motivating than a good old fashioned challenge that can encourage your office mates to start embracing sustainable practices. These can include challenging the office to go a week or month with no plastic eating utensils, recycling all paper appropriately or bringing glass ware and keep cups at work. Reward those who stay consistent with the challenges by offering prizes such as free coffee (in reusable cups!), lunch or even the title of “Sustainable Staff Member of the Month!”
This is a big step, but it is a necessary and feasible one. Work towards reducing paper as much as your office can! With platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox, there are lots of easy ways to create and share work on digital platforms that don’t require unnecessary printing. Corrections, revisions, statements and invoices on printed documents massively contribute to office waste, and that can easily be changed by shifting to a virtual platform. Sustainability strategist at Adobe, Vince Digneo, once said, the greenest paper is no paper at all. Amen, Vince!
Maximise natural light
This might sound obvious, but relying on natural light saves a large amount of energy. If your office is surrounded by windows that provides sufficient sunlight to allow you to work, the presence of artificial lights is hardly needed! In fact, the World Green Building Council reports that employees working near sunlit windows have a 15% higher production rate, as natural light aligns with the body’s natural awakening and sleeping patterns. Not only are you making a move to a more sustainable workplace, but you are also increasing your production rate. It’s win-win.
Encourage green commuting
Work towards lowering commuting emissions by walking, biking, taking public transport, or carpooling with fellow colleagues to the office. If staff are only required to be in the office for a short period of time, offer work-from-home resources that can facilitate those working conditions (hello Zoom!). Reducing employee travel may not seem incredibly effective at surface level, but when collectively done, the sustainable impact is really significant.
Josh will be sharing further on this topic at the Online Retailer Conference this 29th-30th September.