Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the workplace due to its numerous benefits for the environment, the economy and employees. By adopting sustainable practices, organizations can reduce their environmental footprint, conserve resources, and minimize waste, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency. Sustainable practices can also enhance the reputation of an organization, as it demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and ethical business practices. In addition to these environmental and economic benefits, sustainability in the workplace can also improve the health and well-being of employees, foster a sense of community and collaboration, and provide opportunities for professional development.
Why is sustainability important in the workplace?
- Environmental impact
The workplace has a significant impact on the environment through its energy consumption, waste generation, and carbon footprint. By adopting sustainable practices, workplaces can reduce their impact on the environment and contribute to global efforts to address climate change and protect natural resources.
- Social responsibility
A sustainable workplace also takes social responsibility by promoting fair labour practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and supporting community initiatives. This helps to create a positive workplace culture, improve employee satisfaction and retention, and build trust with stakeholders.
- Cost savings
Adopting sustainable practices in the workplace can also result in cost savings by reducing energy and water consumption, waste disposal costs, and employee absenteeism. Sustainable practices can also help to attract environmentally-conscious customers and investors.
Many countries have enacted environmental and social regulations that require businesses to reduce their impact on the environment and promote social responsibility. By adopting sustainable practices, workplaces can comply with these regulations and avoid legal liabilities and reputational risks.
Sustainable practices also encourage innovation by promoting creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. By embracing a sustainable workplace, organizations can develop new products and services, improve operational efficiency, and create new business opportunities.
Overall, sustainability is important in the workplace as it helps to create a more resilient, responsible, and profitable business that benefits both the organization and society as a whole. It is also becoming a front of mind expectation for employees and other businesses who wish to be associated with the organization.
What are the benefits of a sustainable work environment?
A sustainable workplace is one that operates in an environmentally responsible way and promotes the well-being of its employees, while also creating economic value.
Here are 7 benefits of a sustainable workplace:
- Cost savings – Sustainable workplaces can save money on energy and resource consumption by reducing waste, improving efficiency, and using renewable energy sources.
- Improved reputation – A sustainable workplace can enhance its reputation with customers, stakeholders, and the wider community by demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and social impact.
- Employee engagement – Employees are more likely to feel engaged and motivated when they work for a company that prioritizes sustainability and social responsibility.
- Health and well-being – Sustainable workplaces can promote the health and well-being of employees by providing a safe and healthy working environment. You can do this by encouraging physical activity or promoting healthy eating.
- Innovation – Sustainable workplaces can encourage innovation by promoting creativity and resourcefulness, as well as by providing opportunities for employees to develop new skills and knowledge on a range of topics around sustainability.
- Regulatory compliance – Sustainable workplaces can reduce the risk of non-compliance with environmental and social regulations, which can often result in costly fines and reputational damage if they are not adhered to.
- Resilience – Sustainable workplaces are more resilient to external shocks such as changes in regulations, market conditions, and natural disasters.
A sustainable workplace has numerous advantages for the environment and the company itself as well the employees.
Workplace sustainability practices
Workplace sustainability refers to the practice of creating a work environment that is environmentally responsible, socially just, and of course, economically viable.
Here are some ways to enhance workplace sustainability:
- Most commonly organizations will start with resource conservation. Sustainable workplaces aim to minimize the use of natural resources, such as water and energy, and reduce waste generation by adopting energy-efficient technologies, recycling programs, and sustainable purchasing policies.
- The building in which you run your organization will have a big impact on your resource conservation strategy. Sustainable workplaces that are located in green buildings can take advantage of modern technology and building amenities that help them consummate less resources. Modern buildings are designed around the health and wellbeing of employees by for example ensuring enough natural light and fresh air intake.
- A sustainable workplace also means taking social responsibility by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, providing fair wages and benefits, and supporting community initiatives.
- Sustainable transportation – Encouraging employees to use public transport, carpooling, cycling or walking reduces greenhouse gas emissions, promotes a healthy lifestyle and saves money. You can encourage the use of electric vehicles by providing an electric car charging bay or encourage cycling by offering high quality end-of-trip facilities.
- Sustainable workplaces also consider the environmental and social impact of their supply chain and strive to work with suppliers that share similar values and commitments in their lives and in their workplaces.
- Engaging employees in sustainability initiatives, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, and sustainable transportation, fosters a culture of sustainability and empowers employees to take ownership of their impact.
- Continuous evaluation and improvement – Sustainable workplaces continuously measure and monitor their environmental and social impact, set targets and goals, and track progress to improve their sustainability performance over time. Technological innovation also enables us to do more.
How can you create a sustainability policy in the workplace?
Implementing a sustainability policy in the workplace requires a holistic approach that encompasses environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Here are some steps to create sustainability in the workplace:
- Assess – Conduct a sustainability assessment to identify areas where the organization can improve its sustainability performance. This includes evaluating energy and water consumption, waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions, and social impacts.
- Develop a sustainability plan – Based on the sustainability assessment, develop a sustainability plan that sets targets and goals for reducing the organization’s environmental and social impacts. The plan should include specific actions, timelines, and responsibilities for achieving the sustainable objectives.
- Adopt sustainable practices – Start to Adopt sustainable practices in the workplace by reviewing your suppliers, start buying environmentally friendly supplies and services and reduce unnecessary waste. Reducing energy and water consumption, waste reduction and responsible recycling is a team effort. Encourage sustainable transport options, such as public transportation, carpooling, and cycling, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from employees commuting.
- Engage employees – Engage employees in sustainability initiatives by promoting awareness, providing sustainability training, and empowering them to take ownership of their own impact in the workplace. Encouraging employees to participate in sustainability initiatives as a team can foster a culture of sustainability and a sense of community. Over time this can improve employee satisfaction and retention.
- Promote social responsibility – by ensuring fair labor practices, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and supporting community initiatives. This helps to create a positive workplace culture, improve employee satisfaction and retention, and build trust with stakeholders. Consider volunteering at a local charity for your next team building event.
- Monitor and measure – the organization’s sustainability performance regularly to track progress, identify areas for improvement, and ensure the sustainability plan is effective. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure sustainability performance and report the results to stakeholders.
- Keeping improving and innovating – Sustainability is and will be a continuous journey, so the organization should continuously strive for improvement by setting higher sustainability targets and goals, implementing new sustainable practices, and engaging employees and stakeholders in sustainability initiatives.
What are the benefits of sustainability to employees?
- Increased job satisfaction – Employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs when they feel that their organization is committed to sustainable practices and are committed to making a difference. Sustainable practices can give employees a sense of purpose and meaning besides their actual job, as they feel that they are contributing to a greater good and the wider community.
- Improved health and well-being – Sustainable practices can lead to a healthier workplace environment, including better indoor air quality, reduced exposure to toxins, and increased access to natural light and healthy lunches. This can lead to improved employee health and well-being, resulting in increased job satisfaction, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity.
- Opportunities for engagement – Sustainability initiatives can provide opportunities for employee engagement, such as through green teams, sustainability committees, and volunteer opportunities. These opportunities can foster a sense of community and collaboration among employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.
- Improved work-life balance – Sustainable practices such as communicating online and reducing travel through flexible work arrangements can help employees achieve a better work-life balance. This can reduce stress and burnout, leading to improved mental health and increased job satisfaction.
- Professional development – Sustainability initiatives can provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills and knowledge, such as in energy conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable procurement. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and career advancement opportunities.
Making use of a shared workspace can help you implement sustainable policies in your organization. Sharing in itself helps reduce your environmental footprint. Shared workspaces will have facilities and policies in place to manage the space sustainably so you won’t have to.
At United Co. members can take advantage of a range of initiatives including but not limited to
- High-end end-of-trip facilities with secure bicycle parking, showers, and lockers.
- Eco-friendly cleaning product and recycling programs
- Workspaces with natural light
- On-site cafe with healthy breakfast and lunch options
- 24/7 Access to encourage traveling outside of peak hours
- Electric car charging
- Green building with outdoor space
- Real plants and fresh air intake
- An inclusive and supportive culture for our team and our members ensures an open and welcoming environment for all people.
- Quiet rooms and parents rooms
- Supporting local charities through event sponsorships, volunteering and donations.
By choosing a workspace that prioritizes sustainability and social responsibility, employees can work in a healthier, more engaging, and more fulfilling environment that contributes to their overall well-being and job satisfaction.
Get a Workspace with Social Impact at United Co.
United Co. offers flexible work options for freelancers, remote workers, small businesses and larger companies and contractors alike. At United Co. it is our mission to delight people at work. We create inspiring spaces that leave a positive impact on our members, and the wider community. We foster a diverse business community, facilitate connections and encourage a culture of sharing and collaboration. Our flexible memberships support businesses and their people throughout their workday. If you would like to know more about the workspace at United Co. please visit our website or get in touch with us today!