We’ve finally put the gray and white of winter behind us and can enjoy the splendor of spring — the green grass, the green trees, and the gleaming emerald baseball diamonds.
With Earth Day here, it’s time to think green as well. Increasingly, companies are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. To further that cause, here are a few ways to engage employees in go-green initiatives.
1. Lights Out:
Chances are pretty good that plenty of your employees are harping on their kids at home to turn off the lights. Well, the same challenge exists in the workplace. Employees tend to keep the lights on when they leave, and they might not need them all on while they are working. Encourage use of natural light when possible, and promote a campaign for lights and office equipment. Check out the Sustainable Business Toolkit for ways to launch an effective switch-off campaign.
2. Promote Remote:
Employees can be highly productive by working remotely — and help your organization reduce its carbon footprint at the same time. Investing in video conferencing and other technology that can reduce employee travel and cut down on car pollution while making the commute easier for others. Also, promote the use of mass transit or other alternatives such as encouraging employees to ride bikes to work when feasible.
3. Work, Unplugged:
Hard to believe, but true. Most office power is consumed by machines that are turned off but plugged into a live outlet. Forget standby power. That’s a big-time environmental villain and expense, to boot. Improve the process and automate with programs such as Surveyor, which automatically powers down computers at night. (When the lights are presumably off as well.)
4. Engage Employees:
Look to your employees for new ideas on how to go green while also improving efficiency. Get their creativity flowing by offering up examples such as buying recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Treehugger.com also suggests buying printers and photocopiers that perform double-sided printing and using misprints as notepaper.
5. Push for Plants:
This one is so obvious for going green and for Earth Day that it might be easy to overlook. Literally go green — with plants. They brighten the workplace, absorb airborne pollutants and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air. As an added bonus, a recent study found that plant life in the office can improve employee productivity by as much as 15 percent. Set up some simple guidelines, and then encourage employees to brighten up their workspaces with a range of greenery.
These are just some of many ways that your organization can take the lead in encouraging more environmentally friendly practices and Corporate Social Responsibility. If you get the ball rolling, you can make every day Earth Day.