Around 75% of individual investors are interested in sustainable companies, as found in recent research by Morgan Stanley. It makes sense, considering that climate change continues to be a source of distress, and the world population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050 – a fact that will stress current food and water availability even further. In current climes, embracing green practices is more than about pleasing investors and customers: it is also about attracting top talent. Millennials and Gen-Z’ers have already reported their preference for eco-friendly products, vehicles and workplaces. How can you ensure you tick the last of these boxes?
Reducing Your Reliance On Fossil Fuels
Relying on renewable energy is a step that is so easy to take, yet it speaks volumes on your marketing material and the HR and About sections of your website. Studies have shown that installing solar panels pays for itself in between five and nine years, thanks to lower energy bills. However, even if you don’t own your building or you don’t have a budget for solar panels, you can rely on green electric companies (which utilize solar or wind energy to provide you with electricity). Additional ways to reduce energy consumption include renovating your office to allow more natural light to get in, and controlling your office temperature.
Embracing Green Cleaning Practices
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that indoor air quality in interior spaces is two to five times worse than it is outside. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the amount of toxic cleaning products (such as bleach and ammonia) which are often used. Offices can be cleaned sustainably through the use of natural, safe alternatives to chemical cleaning products. The amount of plastics and other single-use items can also be reduced or eliminated through the use of micro-fiber rags, reusable dust and wet mops, recycled paper products, biodegradable trash bags, and more.
Embracing Nature Indoors
Once main steps (such as energy reliance and improving air quality) are tackled, managers can do plenty to celebrate the importance of environmental friendliness by bringing plants indoors. Choose potted plants, and if you have the space for it, build a vertical garden that will delight and calm your employees. Researchers at Exeter University have found that green offices with plants make staff happier and more productive than those which are stripped of greenery. Plants boost employees’ physical, cognitive and emotional involvement in their work.
Designing a truly green office is an ongoing process that can involve a myriad of measures – even staff training. To start off with, think of how you can reduce your carbon footprint by relying on renewable energy and establishing greener cleaning practices. Don’t forget to celebrate nature in a positive way as well, bringing a few plants into the office to boost your employees’ sense of calm and involvement.