It’s no surprise that “going green” can help work towards sustainability and improving our planet, but did you know that often this concept can also help save your company money?
It’s really the win-win of the eco-friendly world. In thinking of ways to Go Green, many companies believe it must be all or nothing or large and grandiose to make a bit of difference, but today we will look at a few simple ways with minor changes that can have a big impact on our Earth, and your bottom line.
- Printing Policies and Procedures
Printing waste is a big concern for most companies. Printing excess pages uses more paper, ink, and electricity than may be necessary. All of these things can add up. Once simple solution is to institute a “Look before you print” procedure. Perhaps that second page only contains a signature line? Or maybe it is blank all together or just has a line across the top? Often these pages are printed and then shredded or tossed when it is realized they are not necessary. By creating a policy of checking the last page before printing, you can cut down on a lot of unnecessary printing waste.
Along these same lines, adding a small line to your company’s signatures asking recipients not to print unless it is necessary can help assist in a more paperless approach to business. Adding in a quick note with wording such as “Please consider the environment before you print” can be a small, but effective plan.
In studies, most employees are shown to be just as productive, if not more productive when working from home. This can be a great way to cut down on your company’s carbon footprint as it takes your employees off the roads and allows them time to focus on work. I know what you’re thinking, this would certainly help the environment and help my employees, but where’s the benefit for the company? If your business can allow a work from home policy, even if for a few days a month or an alternating schedule within a department, this can cut down on the resources being utilized in the office. Less electricity pumping to each computer station, less overhead lighting being turned on/off, less water being utilized in the company kitchen, all the way down to less toilet flushes.
This is, of course not possible in every industry, but as we become more digitized it’s a great opportunity to consider how much of your company’s business can be done remotely- who knows you may even be able to downsize the size of that office space without downsizing the staff (and that is a definite cost savings)!
- Encourage a “Green Commute”
Okay, so you read number two and thought, “We can’t telecommute, we have customers and clients who come to our offices and stores on a regular basis”. Do not fret, there are options for you too! As a company you can set a precedent with your employees to encourage a “Green Commute”. Start small with a one-day initiative encouraging your employees to explore a green way to get to work. They could walk, bike, take transit, or carpool for all, or even part, of the way. Perhaps they all commute a long distance and do not live near enough to one another for a carpool, that’s okay. Help employees plan a meeting spot where their commutes intersect to carpool the rest of the way in. Even a few extra miles is taking strain off gas budgets, over crowded roads, and cutting down on a lot of fumes. But, why would they do it? Ah, great question. That answer is rewards! When planning your Green Commute day come up with something your employees would be interested in a chance to win. It could be a tangible prize or a chance to sleep in and come to work 2 hours later than usual. Everyone who participates in this day gets entered in a drawing for a chance to win.
I know, I know, how is this helping the company’s bottom line? Directly… it’s not. Indirectly… hugely! Happy employees are statistically more productive. Happy employees tend to work harder to achieve goals. Happy employees come from a sense of community and connection to their fellow employees. Happy employees feel like their making a difference. It’s a matter of community on this one. Not quite as measurable on your line items as some of the others, but a great chance to build community and give Nature a little shout out. Who knows? Maybe this little change will become a weekly, monthly, or yearly thing?
- Web and Audio Conferencing
Business travel is expensive! Business travel takes a lot of resources! There are flights, rental cars, per diem food budgets, entertainment budgets, and the list goes on. Often times what all your company needs is a way to connect people with one another or with other groups of people. Web and audio conferencing is a great way to share ideas, communicate, and collaborate without the need to travel. Digital communication capabilities have advanced drastically. While phone conference calls are still hugely helpful in this process the advancements in web conferencing technology have exploded. There are now ways to include webcams, have small groups work together in separate online spaces, show presentations, share computer screens, give poll questions with live data responses, and even share videos. With all of this technology your company may be able to reduce your travel expenses greatly. This is great for the company’s budget, but also a great way of thinking green. While your company saves on airline tickets, lodging, and food budgets, the planet saves on jet fuel, electricity in hotels, gasoline for rental cars, and possible even the dry cleaning you needed for that perfect “in-person” suit.
- The Literal “Go Green”
This may be the most simple of the 5 Simple Ways for Your Company to Go Green. Plants. That’s it, plants. Plants help to cleanse airborne pollutants in an office and produce oxygen. As cleaner air circulates through your building, your employees are breathing in this well cleaned air. This can cut down on sickness in an office building allowing your employees to be there and be productive, cutting down on sick leave. In addition, the look of the plants often helps pep up that “dull” work environment with its white walls and black or wood furniture, adding a splash a color that is pleasant as your clients and customers come for a visit.
About the Author
Whitney Bailey is a former educator turned Virtual Event Producer who is all about simple ways to help the planet. She can be seen toting her reusable bags from place to place, putting her recycle bin out to the curb, creating new things from old ones, and carpooling to events whenever she can. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog and husband and loves a good hiking trail.