“What exemplifies a sustainable workplace?” We argue this is one of the most important questions every business owner should ask themselves, no matter what life stage their business is, because the question inherently defines a company’s culture. Sustainability in the workplace has a multitude of layers, focusing on both environmental practices and personal well-being of employees. Having one without the other can often lead to an imbalanced seesaw effect.
Here are some tips in each sustainability category that foster a well-rounded workplace environment:
<h2 dir="ltr"> Environmental: </h2> <ul> <li> Turn off computers when not in use. Or better yet, install a timer on computers in addition to setting them to hibernate mode, so they shut down on evenings and weekends when they are not in use. </li> <li> Use day lighting whenever available by turning off lights near windows and install light dimmers so you can adjust for varying levels of natural light during the course of the day. </li> <li> Install motion sensors to turn off lights in frequently unoccupied areas, such as restrooms, copy rooms, and conference rooms. </li> <li> Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and LED lighting. </li> <li> Use the cloud and decrease printing use by using online document sharing tools like DropBox and Google Docs. If you have to print, consider double-sided printing. </li> <li> When possible, organize an audio or video conference call instead of a personal meeting to save on fuel costs. </li> </ul> <h2 dir="ltr"> Personal well-being: </h2> <ul> <li> Complement longer focused periods of work with short bursts of <a href="http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/05/five-practical-tips-developing-sustainable-workplace-employees/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">renewal</a>, such as going to the gym, reading a book, or anything that is rest from the employee’s point of view. </li> <li> Provide an on-site gym facility or offer a discount to a gym nearby to encourage time to rejuvenate. </li> <li> Create a system and timeline to assess an employee’s performance with higher level management or supervisors and discuss results in an in-person meeting. </li> <li> Workaholism is a major problem in today’s working world. It’s important for leaders to be clear and consistent in the way they react to and make decisions in relation to employees that work long hours. </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr"> David D’Souza, head of the London region at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development puts this <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2015/oct/20/simple-steps-sustainable-workplace-experts" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">issue</a> into perspective: <em>“For instance, saying you want people to maintain a balance and then promoting the person who is always first in and last out will send out a conflicting message to your team.”</em> </p> <p> <span id="docs-internal-guid-0b12b568-7fbd-35ac-7401-4266c78bbe29">The message of a sustainable workplace goes beyond the changing of a lightbulb. We hope these tips encourage you to think of sustainability as both an environmental practice and an oath to the personal well being of employees.</span> </p>