By Jordyn Coleman
Defining Sustainability in the Workplace
You’re probably familiar with the broad definition of sustainability, especially in reference to the big ole’ beautiful planet we live on. 🌎
But we’re not talking about a sweeping definition — we’re talking about sustainability in the workplace.
Sustainable companies aim to balance the trifecta of the planet, people, and profit to attain long-term success and continued growth.
⚖️ So, how do you strike that balance? And why should you? Wrote this article to help you achieve those sustainability goals and understand the importance behind them. Keep reading to learn tips, ideas, and examples of sustainable business practices that you can implement in your organization right away.
👯 Work Culture & Sustainability
🚨 Number one tip: people first. 🚨
💪 Healthy Employee = Healthy Company
To reach any company-wide goal, you need to place an emphasis on the well-being of your people. They’re your bottom line. Period. (Okay, not period, because we’re about to expand on this point, but that was pretty fun to say 😅)
Business-wise, it’s long been known a healthy workforce results in financial gain and higher levels of productivity.
This resource article published by the Harvard School of Public Health uses a manufacturing company, TURCK, as an example. After implementing health services, like a health coach, the company linked around 8% profit from these initiatives. Oh, and not to mention, TURCK’s turnover rate is about 1%, while the industry-averaged sits at about 13%.
Not too shabby, huh? 🤷
Of course, it’s not all about physical health. It’s about showing your employees you’re committed to their well-being, you support their growth, and you’re empathetic to their challenges.
To create a sustainable workplace, you have to give your employees a reason to commit to your organization’s well-being. 🤝 In turn, you’ll discover balancing the people, planet, and profit becomes a whole lot easier.
Now, let’s get into some concrete examples, shall we?
🕺 People First Sustainability Initiatives
Here are a sustainability initiatives you can take that focus directly on your company culture & employee well-being:
- Provide a weekly grocery stipend to encourage cooking from home! Try hosting a cooking contest and encouraging folks to share their #foodiepics with the team. You could even plan a healthy cooking class and equip your employees with a brand new (and delicious) recipe. 🍳
- Implement wellness programs, like offering free gym memberships or personal trainers, to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 🧘
- Support employees in their professional goals and foster growth from within. Room for growth is a huge factor in employee retention. And retaining employees is key to workplace sustainability. 🔑
For more ideas, check out workplace sustainability initiatives for Human Resources!
🌴 Eco-Friendly Business Practices
Don’t forget: sustainable workplaces are a balancing act. You have to focus on your people, but the viability of your organization also depends on your impact on the planet. 🌍
More and more companies are taking large steps to reduce their carbon footprint. A few big picture business practices include:
- 🚫📄 Going entirely paperless. 🚫📄 Did you know paper makes up about 26% of landfill waste? Plus, paper production results in deforestation, air pollution, and other major environmental issues. By going totally digital, you’ll reduce your environmental impact and, according to Forbes, see a few business benefits, too.
- 🌱 Supporting green vendors. 🌱 Opt to have business relationships with environmentally-friendly brands whose goals align with your own. You can work together to achieve your eco initiatives.
- 🏡 Operating as an entirely remote company. 🏡 Pandemic aside, companies adopted the WFH model in order to minimize their impact on the environment. Rumor has it employees love it, too.
- 🧑💻 Turning business trips into video calls. 🧑💻 As fun as travel is, the last few years have shown us that video calls are more efficient, require way less company resources, and minimize a company’s environmental impact. Save costs and carbon emissions by saying ixnay to unnecessary travel-ay.
- ☕️ Eco-friendly company swag. ☕️ It’s simple, but who can resist a reusable water bottle, metal straws, or tote bag? No one — especially when it’s environmentally friendly.
🏠 Making Remote Work Environmentally Friendly
Lots of sustainable companies have already fully adopted the #WFHlife because that’s a sustainable business practice in of itself. But it’s not the only environmentally friendly effort they’re making!
Simple ways you can help your remote team include:
- Offering a stipend for “green” at-home office. ⭐️ Hint: bamboo is a sustainable crop and the material makes a great desk, like this desk here.
- Encouraging employees to shut off electronics on breaks and when the workday ends. 💡 Energy consumption is one of the biggest contributors to global warming, so cutting back unnecessary usage is an easy way to help the environment. Plus, everyone’ll save a few bucks on energy bills! 💸
- Keeping your employees informed about company-wide eco-goals and make sure they understand their efforts at home count, too. 🤝 Meeting sustainability goals is still a team effort, even if your workplace is remote.
💼 Going Green for In-Person Offices
Working in the office doesn’t have to have such a big carbon footprint. 🐾 There are plenty of ways in-office companies can reduce their environmental impact, including:
- Enlisting help from programs like Common Ground Compost to assess your company’s trash program and help you make any office a little greener.
- Switching lights in the office to LEDs, as they last 25x longer and use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. To learn more, check out this handy guide on eco-friendly lightbulbs.
- Consider a hybrid-model, like having employees come into the office 3 days a week, but work home for 2. Or simply offer remote work as an option!
🤔 How Do You Engage Your Team to “Go Green”?
To get your team on board with going green, you have to educate & engage. 🤝
Simplest thing you can do is tell your company why you’re going green and what you hope to achieve in doing so. Even if you have the best interest of your people and the planet at heart, changing business practices isn’t easy! You can help the whole team transition by:
- ✅ Putting your plan and goals in writing. Having policies written down for the team to reference can help clarify your new eco-initiatives. You’ll have a better time aligning your workforce once your goals are explicit, clear, and documented.
- ✅ Creating a role that’s responsible for supporting your company’s sustainability efforts. Or, even better, see if there are current employees who are passionate about your goals. If it makes sense for their career path, consider building upon their current role.
- ✅ Having training in place. Both long-term employees and new hires should have a clear understanding of your organization’s environmental goals, why these goals matter, and how the team can help. Additionally, train employees on job-specific issues, like sourcing green vendors.
On top of keeping your employees informed and educated, you also gotta make things fun and rewarding! Here are a few ideas on how:
- 🍃 Host “green” competitions, like a composting challenge or recycling drive. Incentivize by offering prizes for the winner, like cold hard cash or a virtual gift card to their favorite restaurant.
- ♻️ Take a fun, hands-on class like a Zero Waste Workshop or Composting Class. This way, you’re giving employees a break and equipping them with sustainability skills for their personal lives.
- 🪴 Gift your employees with plants to liven up their office. Did you know indoor plants help improve air quality and are known to have positive psychological effects? Pretty cool! If not everyone has a green thumb, also consider taking Plant Care 101.
🎉 Confetti’s Moves Toward Sustainability
Thank you for taking the time to learn about efforts you can take around workplace sustainability. You should know we’re in this together. 🤝
Although we’re entirely remote at Confetti, we’re also taking strides toward a more sustainable workplace. We prioritize the well-being of our employees through a robust company culture, and want to help you do the same. ❣️
We’re in the habit of reusing. We supply new employees with company electronics, and unless there’s a shortage, it’s second-hand.
We work with environmental charities and can even help you do the same through experiences like our Confetti Pub. We built a trivia-esque game that plants real trees as you get points!
We’re also brainstorming other initiatives, like helping our vendors provide recycled shipping materials for our shipped experiences.
However, we know that we still have steps to take. We’re not perfect, but we’re serious when it comes to continuous improvement. As we grow, we promise to expand upon our own sustainability efforts and keep you in the loop on exactly what we’re doing.
So — what ways are you going to support mother earth? Let us know! 💬