5 tiny steps towards sustainable work that every team can make

Stéphanie Grawehr
Stéphanie Grawehr May 26, 2020

As offices start reopening in the post-COVID world, it’s a perfect chance to review your sustainability practices and set new habits in motion. These five steps are so simple that any team can implement them – no matter how big or small.

Taking steps towards greener offices brings along many benefits in addition to a positive impact on climate change. Environmentally friendly options are often also budget-friendly choices: for example saving electricity also shrinks electricity bills. In addition greener choices improve employee well-being, boost productivity and enhance employee engagement.

While there are many approaches to sustainability – for example, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals include 17 different targets from clean oceans to gender equality – environmental sustainability is one of the easiest to impact on a daily basis.

At Alaya, we’re big believers in the power of small, simple actions, and their cumulative positive effect. It’s not always the most revolutionary ideas, but rather the ones that we can integrate into our day-to-day and accomplish together that have a lasting effect.

In the lead up to World Environment Day on June 5, our team has put together five simple tactics that make it easy for you to take your team’s or company’s environmental sustainability to the next level by engaging your employees. 

1. Welcome people back with a plant

plantrockmystyle.co.uk

The first days back in the office can feel weird, and it will take time to get comfortable with the new distancing rules. Relax the atmosphere by giving everyone a nice, (literally) green welcome gift: a plant on their desk. 

Plants freshen up the air, reduce toxins, and lower stress levels. With this year’s theme of biodiversity, raise awareness about different plant species and their important role in our ecosystem among your employees. They also make the office more pleasant – and if you have put up plexiglass as a precautionary measure, plants hide those very well, too!

2. Wave goodbye to paper

green office without paper

ohnorachio.com

Remote working set in motion one environmentally friendly trend: a real shift towards a paperless office. If your team had to reduce printing at home, for confidentiality reasons for instance, capitalize on this shift now and nudge everyone forward into a truly paperless direction. Beyond internal collaboration documents, switch to e-documents for invoices, digital signature for contracts, or other paper-heavy processes.

At the same time, take a look at things that make paperless working easier for employees. For example, adding a second screen can make working without paper more comfortable.

3. Ban plastic bottles

sustainable and reusable bottles

danishdesignstore.com

Banning plastic bottles in the office is a big step in waste reduction. Plastic bottles can be replaced by reusable bottles that are not only eco-friendly but also personal and stylish.

Now that our everyday habits are in flux and we are all relearning our office habits and behaviors anyway, changes can be made more easily. To give everyone a nice nudge in the right direction, a reusable water bottle can also be part of their welcome gift, alongside the plant. 

4. Revamp your recycling station

original recycling station

robo.annoncevous.net

For the waste that still lingers around after the plastic bottles are gone, recycling is one of the easiest environmental actions. But too often the recycling bins are hidden at the back of the kitchen and get forgotten.

Try revamping your recycling station and make it more visible – and fun! Hang a basketball basket on top of recycling bins so your team can play a game of basketball every time they need to toss something away.

To uplevel your efforts, even more, make recycling a team effort. Set your team recycling goals or organise a recycling-themed team-building event.

5. Change to an eco-friendly search engine

ecosia landing page

ecosia landing page

ecosia.com

The biggest impact happens when we change our habits. For example, we use search engines countless times in one day. If you change your company’s default search engine and replace your current choice by Ecosia, for example, a tree is planted every time someone on your team makes a search. 

All these steps are tiny – but don’t let yourself or your team get discouraged! The only way forward is to take one small step at a time. Remember the story of the hummingbird: do what you can, and as each person does their part over time, you and your team will see the positive difference you can make.

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