It’s not easy being green…unless you’re Oscar the Grouch. However, it is becoming essential in today’s (rather dirty) society. Millennials are looking to join companies that they can strongly identify with in terms of values, lifestyle, status, and interests. This includes searching for companies that are committed to their corporate social responsibility: a company’s initiative to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits for all stakeholders involved.
A greener office means an improved workplace (due to higher health benefits from less chemicals in products), a higher competitive stance (due to more positive responses from all stakeholders), reduced costs (from lower heating bills, utility costs, and lower ink levels), ultimately providing a healthier environment!
Being green doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some simple do nots to go green in your organization without breaking the bank:
Do not: Drive. Ok, maybe walking or biking 5 hours to and from work each day doesn’t seem feasible. You can still make a difference by carpooling, taking public transit, working from home once a week, or investing in an electric vehicle. Some employers have encouraged their employees by providing a bonus or special perk to reward their green behaviour!
Do not: Print. Most office waste is due to paper; however, some paper use just can’t be avoided. If this is the case, try to either cut down or use recycled/eco-friendly paper, use smaller font, start implementing cloud-based storage, and print double-sided. Digitizing as many aspects of the work environment as possible can go a long way.
Do not: Waste Energy. Your Mom or Dad may have told you a hundred times before, but we’re telling you again – turn off the lights when no one is in the room! Most employees also have a computer, so go into your settings and turn on your energy saver, disuse screensavers, turnoff devices that you aren’t using, and unplug them (just to be safe). Further, find a happy medium temperate that is not too cold in the summer, or too hot in the winter.
Do not: Live Unhealthily. When you are making your lunch, choose foods that are local and organic with a reusable lunch bag. You should not be using toxic cleaners or personal products in the office kitchen and bathrooms. Start committing to the stairs instead of the elevator (unless, of course, you’re on the 30th floor). Finally, have some plants in your office – they are not only useful for filtering the air, but they can also be quite the companion for some.
Do not: Wear Suits. Oddly enough, this makes sense. If a business casual policy is set for the office, then you don’t need to continually dry clean your professional wear, which conserves a lot of energy. I’m sure your employees will be happier as they will not only be more comfortable, but they will also save a little more money for themselves.
Do not: Design Poorly. The office space should be designed or redesigned to be eco-friendly. Use whiteboards or overhead projectors, place recycling bins in every corner (so they would have no excuse not to recycle), use compact fluorescent bulbs whenever possible, and paint walls with a lighter colour to reflect daylight.
Millennials are more supportive of organizations that set and follow greener standards, as well as advocate for stricter environmental laws. It’s important for company’s to realize this and start putting thought into action.