Another year has passed, and once you have finished with all the annual performance analyses for 2019, it is time to make some New Year’s resolutions. And not just on the personal plane – you also need to introduce some changes to your business.
Having in mind the technology and information that we have at our disposal, it is time to look at the bigger picture and make some environmentally-sound decisions. If you choose and implement them correctly, you can expect a beneficial influence on both the environment and your business. So, here are a few suggestions on how to make your business more environmentally conscious in 2020.
Strive towards a paperless office
Digitalization brought about many changes – we are more productive in the workplace but the life pace has also quickened. Among the positive changes, we can enlist its influence on the need for paper. Namely, all documents and notes that used to collect dust in endless rows of folders have now moved to the digital planes where they can be managed much more effectively.
Entrepreneurs have often strived towards hybrid offices in the sense that most daily operations and documents became digitalized but some aspects, such as presentations, notes, etc. remained in the paper form. In the year 2020, it is time to go fully paperless so provide your employees with appropriate software tools so they can sustain the paperless practice.
Support green commuting options
Modern-day people are in a constant hurry to get from one place to another and in light of the migrations to the cities, all those people need to find a way to move about. This also means more cars on the streets which also means more pollution and a continuing growth trend of CO2 emissions.
One of the practices you can implement to raise awareness amongst your employees is to promote alternative commuting options such as sharing a car with other colleagues, using public transportation or, if possible, riding a bike to work. Until green commuting and pedestrian cities become common, you need to set an example and support your employees by, for instance, covering their monthly public transportation passes. Although this is not a ‘workplace’ practice, it is a practice definitely worth supporting.
Re-think your office design
We are all guilty of occasionally leaving the lights on when we don’t need them or our computer or some other household appliance. Now imagine this expenditure on a larger scale, such as within a company where instead of two or three people behaving like this, you have twenty or thirty?
What you can do is to promote green practices and ask your employees to turn off their computers and the lights in the office when they are leaving home. You can also control energy consumption in other ways such as by introducing energy-saving lighting solutions for industrial use that are good in the long run for your employees’ health, environment, and the budget. Your office also needs automated water dispensers to manage the water usage and the HVAC systems should be regularly maintained to operate optimally.
Say goodbye to plastic
If left on a landfill, glass takes a staggering million years to decompose but luckily, we are used to the idea of recycling and repurposing glass because the process is common practice. However, plastic as a material is a different story because its usage is widespread and the fact is that besides landfills, it also ends up in rivers and seas.
So, in 2020, as a gift for the beginning of a new year, give each employee a branded glass bottle and a couple of cloth bags bearing your logo. This is how you will motivate them to avoid plastic bottles and bags outside of the workplace. Also, ensure you don’t use plastic cutlery in the office, and that includes plates and cups. Even plastic straws are the thing of the past and you can find paper ones if you ever throw an office cocktail party.
Include all employees
When you decide to go green, you need to do it all the way: all the employees need to get into the spirit of sustainability. This means you have to provide them with tools to be able to act in such a manner. For instance, when it comes to employees who tend to the hygiene of your workplace, you need to supply them with eco-friendly cleaning products and sprays. Otherwise, they will fulfill their duties with what they have at their disposal and those products can contain harmful and toxic chemicals.
In addition to that, there is a particular group of hard-working creatures that you need working for you full-time – plants. They constantly work on purifying your air without consuming electrical energy or harming the environment or your budget in any way. Ensure that they are regularly watered, each type based on individual needs and you will also notice a change for the better in the energy level of your employees.
Collaborate with like-minded suppliers
Another aspect of your business that needs to become green in 2020 concerns your suppliers. If your end product/service is green, your workspace is green (even literally if you enriched it with indoor plants), the materials you use also need to be eco-friendly. To make certain that it is really so, you need to do a checkup of your suppliers and connect with those who are also focused on sustainability.
Besides production materials, you need to also consider where you buy groceries for your office kitchen. So, make sure your fruits, vegetables, and snacks come from local markets because firstly, you will have more control over the quality of the food and secondly, you will reduce the distance your food travels to get to your employees’ plates. By buying locally, you also support local farmers, producers, and the workforce.
Over to you
When faced with a seemingly impossible task such as changing practices that have been around for ages, the easiest path is to give up. The deeply rooted routines can be rooted out only if you turn to yourself and embrace those changes you want to see in the world.
You should start with your habits and activities at home and then move them to the office because, as a business owner, you have a unique position to influence a number of people to change their ways for the better. So, let’s start this 2020 by making some sound ‘green’ resolutions and implement them as soon as possible to our work lives.