Businesses have never been under greater pressure to behave in an environmentally responsible manner. Customers are better informed than ever about the environmental costs of certain practices, and governments are adjusting their tax policies to incentivise those practices. While there’s variation between different industries and countries, the direction of travel is clear: the business of the future will be one that takes the environment seriously.
But for a business to be environmentally savvy, its staff will need to be environmentally savvy. If you’re an employer, you can make it easy for your staff to behave the right way with a few simple steps.
Turn Everything Off
Every electrical item that your staff use will consume energy. This energy needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of it will come from non-renewable sources like oil and gas. You can reduce your energy costs by simply instructing your staff to turn things off when they’re not using them. When staff forget this obligation, they don’t need to be punished: they can simply contribute a token sum to a jar of money, which can be donated to an appropriately green cause at the start of every month.
If you have four members of staff who all drive to work in their own cars, they might conceivably consume four times as much fuel as if they’d shared the same car. Done right, carpooling isn’t just an environmental boon – it’s one that will lower the strain on your workforce’s finances, too. Encouraging this behaviour is often a simple matter of floating the idea and doing a little organisation. Put a sign-up form on the wall of the office, divide the volunteers into groups according to where they live, and allow them to sort the rest out. Make this practice part of the culture of your workplace, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it proliferates.
Minimising transport costs can extend also to overseas trips. If you’re having to regularly ship employees back and forth across the Atlantic, then environmental cost of air travel might be a particular concern. But you can alleviate it marginally by choosing a more green method of transport to the airport. A train from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport, for example, will almost always be environmentally superior to a car.
Printing costs represent a sizeable chunk of any office’s outgoings. Not only that, but you’ll need a physical space to store all of that paperwork. Any business which aspires toward greenness, then, should look to limit printing in every way possible. This might mean giving all of your staff targets for their printing, and keeping a leaderboard up in a public space so that everyone can see how they’re doing. This needn’t turn into a shaming exercise; often certain staff member might be forced to do more printing because of the nature of their role, so be sure to cut them some slack.