Unexpected benefits of a sustainable workplace

Many employers have embraced sustainability, either from a genuine desire to protect the planet or from facing harsh economic realities. Today’s consumers aren’t the same as they were in the past. Around 75% of Generation Z values eco-friendliness over brand-name recognition when shopping for new products.

While appealing to consumers is important, sustainable upgrades can also have considerable perks for your overall office culture and business bottom line. Here are some of the unexpected benefits of having a sustainable workplace.

Happier, healthier employees

What many experts fail to understand about the Great Resignation is that much of it stems from workers being pushed to do too much with too little for too long. They are at their breaking point. Deaths of despair continue soaring, with addiction rates climbing most in regions with multiple startups. This demographic reality didn’t happen by accident – but making simple, sustainable changes to your workplace can shift the tide.

One simple move you can make? Release your need for onsite supervision by letting your employees log in remotely. Before you say, “But our business never operated that way,” think of the advantages. Not only will it help employees, but it will also make a positive impact on the environment. 

Retaining your best staff ranks among the top reasons for permitting full or partial telecommuting. One recent survey found that over half of employees would rather quit than return to a full-time 9-to-5 schedule. Step into their shoes and understand why.

Yes, you may have signed a lease – but not for all eternity. What’s more important to your bottom line? Having trusted folks you can rely on to do their job from any location? Or hiring bodies willing to fill up chair space and continue using electricity, creating paper and plastic waste and pumping gas into the atmosphere?

Letting your expensive office lease expire has other advantages for employee health. Try as you might, it’s impossible to create an ergonomic space that pleases everyone. You have to work within the limits of your facility. Do you want to spend money carpeting a rental to quiet the din of heels on a concrete floor or installing skylights for natural light on someone else’s property?

Telecommuting allows your staff to create a home office space that suits their unique body. Those with migraines can wave goodbye to bright overhead fluorescents and accomplish more in a dim room. Folks who practice alternative medicine can use their aromatherapy misters without disturbing their co-workers – and you can finally bid farewell to the office thermostat wars.

Significant cost savings

Switching to telecommuting has other advantages besides healthier employees. You don’t have to pay for a facility or upgrades. You also save cash by not requesting ergonomic chairs, variable-height desks, and other essentials some workers might need to perform their roles at maximum productivity.

Your rent isn’t the only cost you save by going remote. Even partial telecommuting schedules benefit you and the planet by saving on utilities. Every person you remove from the premises is one less making coffee and using the restroom, running up your water bill. Turning off the lights and dialling down the thermostat likewise helps you pinch pennies while preserving resources.

What if your business model absolutely requires onsite work, such as retail or restaurant establishments? You still have ample options for making inexpensive and sustainable upgrades. For example, do you offer free water to each guest or automatically include plastic dish-ware with takeout orders?

Asking your customer whether they want such items saves you from restocking them while sparing them frustration. Many eco-conscious consumers have a drawer of unused plastic flatware from pandemic takeout they can’t wait to recycle. Spare them a trip to the centre.

Retailers can look at inexpensive upgrades like dimming the lights. Doing so instantly creates a more sophisticated atmosphere while saving you money on utilities. This clever move can save you up to 40% on your electric costs and each bulb lasts 20 times longer.

Of course, you can go for heftier improvements if you have deeper pockets. For example, relatively few businesses meet LEED building standards. This opportunity presents the perfect way to differentiate yourself from competitors if you run a real estate investment or general contracting firm.

Free marketing ideas

Perhaps the greatest benefit to a sustainable workplace is free marketing. This rule applies to recruiting new employees and clients.

More and more people say they want work that aligns with their values. Those with the talent and experience to look elsewhere will do so if they find your corporate mission statement or daily practices contradict what they hold dear.

Think about where prospective clients and staff members look when researching your organisation. It doesn’t cost much to update your website compared to many other advertising streams. Can you add to your “about us” page by emphasising your sustainability efforts? Can you redesign your labels to include a few words on your ethical practices if you manufacture products?

Staying power

Climate change is real. Scientists are scholarly folk as a whole. They’re generally not first in line to cause civil disobedience. However, several recently risked arrest by chaining themselves to Chase Bank to protest fossil fuel funding, demanding faster action – because change can’t wait. One NASA lead was among those arrested by police in riot gear.

This episode should demonstrate how severe the crisis is. Today’s conscientious consumers want a habitable planet for their kids and grandchildren. They will take their business elsewhere if they determine your practices perpetuate the climate emergency.

Benefits of sustainable workplaces

Creating a more sustainable workplace offers more than a way to showcase your love of planet earth. It also ensures your organisation’s continued viability.

Fortunately, many eco-friendly upgrades also boost your bottom line and improve life for your staff members. Consider these benefits of sustainable workplaces when making upgrades and policy changes.

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Cora Gold

Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist (revivalist.com). She strives to live as best as she can, and she loves to share her experiences with life, adventure, sustainability and more through her writing. Follow Cora on Twitter (@CoraGold2), Pinterest (@revivalistmag) and Facebook (@revivalistmag).

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