Employers are beginning to recognize that their staff members aren’t robot cogs performing their roles dutifully and without complaint to the tune of “because I said so.” Every human being wants to self-actualize through meaningful contributions, supporting a group mission in which they feel like valued stakeholders.
One way to create such an atmosphere is adopting eco-friendly business practices so that your workers feel good, not conflicted, about the products and services they help provide. Here are five reasons why a sustainable workplace is a healthy, happy one.
1. You Can Breathe
The air you breathe plays a significant role in your overall health. For example, research out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates an 11% increase in mortality from COVID-19 for each microgram per cubic meter increase in air pollution.
It isn’t only the outdoor air that causes trouble. Sick-building syndrome can result in headaches and dizziness, throat irritation, increased allergies, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and general irritability. Failure to change air filters and maintain HVAC systems can also result in the same germs circulating the office multiple times, causing countless illnesses and lost productivity.
Sustainable workplaces harness the productivity-boosting benefits of nature by allowing plenty of open windows and breezes, even investing in outdoor working solutions. The care they show for the planet’s health often translates into concern for their employee’s welfare, making them take responsibilities like changing the office air filters seriously.
2. You Have Agency
The novel coronavirus pandemic forced countless employers to embrace teleworking solutions. However, the most sustainable companies have long embraced working from home. Doing so reduces a significant amount of carbon from fuel exhaust. The United States alone evidenced a 13% total dip in greenhouse gas emissions.
Nor do employees necessarily want to return to the office. While many miss the camaraderie and prefer a hybrid schedule, up to 40% of workers would rather quit than return to the full-time 9 to five grind. As a result, some economic experts dub what’s happening today the “great resignation.”
Sustainable companies understand that spending long hours sitting in traffic creates far more problems than it solves in many cases. They’re eager to embrace telecommuting solutions permanently, much to the delight of their staff and the planet.
3. You Get More Movement
There’s always something physical to do in a sustainable office. Somebody needs to run the recycling to the sorting center. Others have to prepare the holiday donation of gently used coats for the local shelter.
Sustainable manufacturing processes go even further in reducing power needs and getting people moving. For example, many such clothing brands support local economies by hiring talent to hand-stitch quality fashions instead of mass-producing everything via electric power.
Even those in the restaurant industry can encourage more physical activity through improved sustainability. Chefs can scour local farmer’s markets for locally grown produce instead of shipping their carrots from faraway farms, creating countless emissions during transport.
4. You Embrace a Can-Do Attitude
Companies sometimes claim they can’t shift to more sustainable practices because doing so is too expensive or even “impossible.” What kind of self-limiting belief is that, and how can such a mindset influence their entire organization? Dwelling on the reasons why something can’t happen is no way to innovate.
Sustainable companies, conversely, adopt the mindset that they can get better every day — including improving their carbon footprint. This can-do attitude provides obvious benefits in the business world. However, multiple studies also suggest that a positive outlook can improve health outcomes, resulting in fewer sick days.
5. You Feel a Part of Something Greater
What’s your company’s mission statement? Employees who feel like cogs in a machine might not even know how to answer this question. They might reply, “to make widgets.”
However, employees in sustainable companies know that part of their organizational mission entails behaving responsibly to safeguard the planet for future generations and operating within a defined code of ethics. They feel secure that they are working toward something more than their bosses’ lust for greater and greater profits. This sense of purpose compels them to give their best each day, even when outside distractions compete for their interest and attention. Instead of automatically playing on their phones during slow periods, they look for alternative ways to support their organization’s cause.
5 Reasons a Sustainable Workplace Is a Healthy, Happy Workplace
Embracing eco-friendly ideas is one way to show your staff that your organization cares. Now that you understand five reasons why a sustainable workplace is a happy, healthy one, what changes will you implement?