How to educate your employees on office sustainability and “green” initiatives

Why office sustainability?

Businesses have started to realise the importance of sustainability and “green” initiatives in the workplace. And it’s no surprise–according to the Australian Government, by 2021, Australians could save more than $600 million on our water and energy bills just by using more water efficient appliances and products! As these efforts become publicly encouraged in our homes and workplaces, it’s important to educate your employees on office sustainability and “green” initiatives.

Sustainability initiatives don’t only have financial benefits such as energy conservation, studies have also determined they increase employee retention, productivity, and engagement. Yet a lot of companies struggle with engaging their employees in day-to-day sustainability initiatives.

Here’s how to get started:

Define Long-Term Sustainability Goals

Firstly, introduce the higher level goals your company is aiming to reach to avoid any conflict between personal views towards sustainability. To do so, bring awareness to the long-term interests and goals of your business by circulating information brochures or holding a morning tea for the team to. These goals should align with the wellbeing of the planet and society.

Create Sustainability Workplace Knowledge

A major step to creating a sustainable workplace culture is providing sustainability training. It’s important to invest time and resources during this phase. Employees need to understand exactly what sustainability is. As well as why it is important. Only then are they more likely to support your company’s sustainable initiatives.

Involve Employees In Creating Sustainable Practices

What is one of the best ways to keep employees engaged? Involve them while creating your company sustainability program! Employees don’t want to be told by senior management in meetings about sustainable and green initiatives. They would much rather create initiatives themselves! They are also more likely to buy-in if they can be involved in the process.

Create A ‘Green Team’

A great way to do this is by creating a “Green Team”. Ask for volunteers from people with a passion for sustainability. Let them be your champions. They can share ideas, make decisions on which initiatives to put in place, and to get other employees involved.

Otherwise, you can ask for suggestions during staff meetings, or distribute employee surveys.

Encourage Green Challenges Amongst Employees

One of the best ways to get everyone involved in workplace changes is to create a fun culture. What better way than a friendly competition!

A great way to start is to set a no plastic utensil challenge for a month for your office. To encourage employees to stick to it, offer incentives such as gift cards or movie tickets. Another challenge idea is to have everyone work together as a team and to solve problems. Set employees a target to reduce waste or energy usage by a set target (eg. 25%).

If they achieve it, reward them with a lunch out, a company picnic, or take a group trip to a fun event. Let your employees pick the prize. Or even come up with their own sustainability goals and challenges.

Educating employees on office sustainability is not an easy process. But by keeping them engaged and making it fun, they are more likely to buy-in. As well as work towards your company’s sustainability goals.