5 Ways Sustainability Creates a Better Workplace and Better Employees
By: Benefits by Design | Wednesday June 7, 2017Updated : Monday December 14, 2020
Sustainability is all about environmentally-friendly practices; preserving the environment, limiting your carbon footprint, building a workforce that takes these values to heart, and much more.
Creating a sustainable workplace is good for the environment, certainly — but it’s also good for you and your business, providing a variety of improvements and advantages that don’t get enough credit.
Here’s 6 ways working sustainable practices into your business model creates a better workplace and a better workforce.
What is Sustainability?
Firstly, we’ll need to cover off exactly what we’re talking about, because there is no agreed-upon definition for sustainability, especially when its applied to the workplace. However, we think that the definition from the Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development (1992) said it best:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Working from that definition, we have a few ideas to get your workplace started:
#1. Go Paperless
With technology these days, almost all — if not all, with a bit of creativity — things done on paper can be done digitally.
For example, at Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., we’ve created an online tools to take processes that once relied on tons of paper to the digital space:
- Nomad, our online benefits administration portal, to facilitate administration for forms for application and enrollment;
- Our Online Enrollment Tool, to allow employees to enroll in their benefits plan on-the-go, while skipping the piles of paperwork;
- Digitizing many of our promotional and marketing material to cut down on paper-use;
- And more!
Not only are these kinds of sustainable practices better for the environment, they’re also significantly less expensive. That’s a win-win!
If going entirely paperless isn’t realistic for you at this time (we still use some ourselves), don’t worry about it. Small, incremental changes such as encouraging less printing and digitizing some processes are all steps in the right direction!
#2. Share Your Sustainable Practices
Just like we’re doing right now! Sustainability is a good look for your business.
It might sound a little self-serving, but it’s the truth: businesses that care about sustainability are more well-received, particularly among younger demographics like Millennials and Gen Z. Incorporate sustainability into your marketing and brand and shout sustainability from the rooftops!
If your target demographic is a younger one, sustainability should definitely be something you’re striving towards, if not for the planet, then for your profits.
#3. Offer Alternative Methods of Transportation
Alternative transportation is a proven sustainable tactic to reduce emissions and the carbon footprint of an individual (and by extension, your workplace).
Through benefits options like a Personal Spending Account (PSA), you can actually offer coverage for employee’s bus passes, bicycles, roller skates, or even just a pair of running shoes — anything to get them out of the car. You might also consider encouraging an employee car-pooling system!
#4. Form a Green Team
Consider gathering together a small group of like-minded individuals and start a Green Committee in your workplace. Let their passion for sustainability fuel their desire to make positive changes in your workplace.
These folks can organize events, fundraisers, and other green initiatives to bring your workplace into the realm of sustainability. All of this works towards making it easier for your employees to adopt a sustainable mindset.
#5. Encourage Plant Life
If your office space allows, encourage employees to bring in plants. Besides cleaning the air that we breathe, plants have been shown to reduce stress and increase productivity in employees. Don’t have a green thumb? Plenty of plants do well in office environments and require little care. Be on the lookout for aloe, spider, cactus or succulent plants.