When caring for the planet is your passion, you want what you do both at home and at work to be environmentally responsible. However, while you can control what goes on in your home, what goes on at the office can be a whole different story.
But don’t despair! Even if you don’t have the final say on green initiatives at work, your words and actions can make a difference in your coworkers’ environmental attitudes. The following five tips will help you get your workplace thinking green.
1. Emphasize the Health Benefits
Creating healthy work environments is one of the top business trends of 2017. When encouraging others to go green, focus on the health benefits for everyone in the office. Traditional cleaners can cause headaches, breathing troubles, and rashes. Fortunately, there are commercially available cleaning products on the market that get the job done without harming the health of employees and clients. Natural products avoid troublesome chemicals like bleach and ammonia in their formulations. Instead, they rely on baking soda, botanical extracts and other environmentally-friendly ingredients. With careful shopping, you can swap out almost all of your regular cleaning supplies, including dish soap and all-purpose wipes, for eco-friendly alternatives. When your coworkers see how well these natural cleaners work and they learn how the products benefit everyone’s health, they may be encouraged to begin adding even more eco-friendly products to your office space.
2. Do the Research
For some companies, switching to green strategies requires a major shift in the way things are done at work. Instead of dropping the request in other’s laps and expecting them to run with it, present decision-makers with well-founded research and specific suggestions of how to go green. For example, look into environmentally-friendly office cleaning services in your area, what products they use and how much they cost. Make a spreadsheet comparing a few green cleaners to the traditional service that you are currently using. Then, present these findings to the people in charge of hiring cleaners. Your attention to detail and passion for the topic will certainly be noted.
3. Bring in Plants
You’ll literally be helping your office “go green” when you decorate the space with leafy indoor plants. Bringing nature indoors is a remarkably easy way to freshen the air. As plants process carbon dioxide into oxygen, they can also remove harmful toxins from the air. According to a study by NASA, aloe vera, golden pothos, and spider plant are some of the best natural air purifiers.
Indoor plants look nice, so most people won’t object to your bring some into the office, especially if you take responsibility for watering and pruning them. Plus, people will also appreciate the other benefits that indoor plants have to offer, including improved memory, reduced stress, and better concentration. In other words, improving air quality is only one of the many ways that indoor plants will improve your work environment.
4. Make it Easy
People often resist change, but they’ll sometimes accept it more readily when the change doesn’t require much more work from them. When you eliminate the obstacles to doing what’s right, people are more likely to get on board.
One of the easiest environmental initiatives in the workplace to get started is a recycling program. Help others get on board by placing bins to collect recyclables throughout the building. To get people in the habit of recycling, accessing a recycling bin must be no more difficult than accessing a trash can. Place a container for recyclables next to every wastebasket. Each employee could even have a small recycling bin at his or her desk.
While you’re at it, make sure people know what items qualify for recycling. Post a chart on the wall near the bins. You could even attach the chart to the side of the containers so people will be sure to notice the information.
Once your first initiative has become second nature to the folks in your office, you can move on to a second initiative and then a third. As people observe how easy is was to shift their ways, they’ll be more likely to willingly make another change for the good of the planet.
5. Pay Attention to the Space Around You
Back up your claims that you care about the world around you by paying careful attention to your own personal space. Keep your desk well-organised and tidy. Your coworkers will appreciate your concern for your work area and may be inspired to work for the good of their own environments–both their desks and the world at large.
Not only does keeping your area neat and clean show your commitment to a clean world, but having a neat workspace increases your productivity. Studies have shown that what makes a happy worker a productive worker is an organized workspace. People who work in clean, tidy environments are healthier, more efficient and less stressed. Office cleanliness is a win-win for everybody!
When it comes to environmental initiatives in the workplace, you can’t force others to think like you do. You can lead only by example and encouragement. Hopefully, when your coworkers see your commitment to the cause and they understand that a green workplace improves health, safety, and productivity without requiring loads of extra responsibilities, they’ll be just as eager to get on board as you are.