In an era where both young professionals and experienced employees are looking for more meaning in their work, creating an eco-friendly office culture deserves extra attention.
Even if you already have a robust corporate environmental program, getting your employees on board with your green workplace initiatives can make a huge difference in your program’s success. Here are seven ways to encourage employees to engage in environmental sustainability:
1. Make recycling easy
If you don’t already have one, an office recycling program is a great place to kickstart your environmental efforts. Add recycling bins to shared office spaces such as kitchens and other common areas, and post recycling reminders near the bins listing the types of items that employees can recycle.
Already recycling? Check to make sure that employees know about the recycling program. It can be helpful to send the occasional refresher email to keep your recycling policies in the forefront of your team’s mind.
2. Set up a ‘Lunch and Learn’
Educate and engage staff in contributing to your organization’s sustainability goals by hosting a lunch and learn about environmental issues. Or, host a company-wide movie night to watch an environmental documentary.
3. Create a green team
To raise employee awareness of your organization’s sustainability goals, form a green team. Together you can brainstorm creative ways to tackle environmental concerns. If possible, try to have a senior management representative on the green team, and encourage staff from all levels to join.
When your green team accomplishes a goal, be sure to publicly recognize your Green Team for their success! Use an employee recognition tool to thank your Green Team for a job well done.
4. Promote reusable or recyclable dishware
When possible, provide reusable mugs, cups, plates, bowls, and cutlery in your office kitchen. If you don’t have the ability to store dishware in the office kitchen, look into compostable (or recyclable) dishware and cutlery.
You can also encourage your employees to bring their own dishware and travel mugs from home. Plus, travel mugs with your company logo make for a great employee welcome gift!
5. Encourage employees to bike or walk to work
Walking or biking to work has all kinds of benefits – it’s healthy, financially sound, and eco-friendly! Motivate your employees to swap car trips for biking or walking by offering incentives like monthly cash bonuses or prizes as part of your wellness program.
6. Support eco-conscious businesses in your local community
It’s always a good idea to support local businesses, especially those with an eco-conscious focus. Review the products your office purchases regularly, and check to see if they are locally-sourced. Do you provide office snacks for your employees? Switch to an eco-friendly brand, or offer fruits and veggies from a local farmer’s market. If you regularly cater lunches, focus on supporting restaurants that source locally-grown ingredients.
7. Make sustainability fun
A little competition can make just about anything fun – including sustainability. Using an employee engagement tool like Cooleaf, employees can compete with their peers and earn rewards for practicing environmental stewardship.
In honor of Earth Day, Cooleaf helped our customers facilitate a “Go Green Challenge,” where employees were asked to complete one earth-friendly activity each day of the week (watch an environmental TED talk, go for a nature walk, etc.). As a result, employees created 50 meatless meals, cleaned up 16 bags of trash, and supported 11 local restaurants or farmers’ markets.
When it comes to creating a positive impact on our planet, small changes can make a huge difference. By integrating some of these ideas into your office, you can create a green workplace culture that will inspire your whole team.