02 December 2021

Creating an environmentally-positive workplace culture

In a world where COVID-19 and climate change keep us on our toes, a major societal-level trend is emerging: The rise of sustainability at work as a proactive solution to climate change and as a purpose-driven link between the company and the employee. 

In layman's language, sustainability is about how companies are genuinely committed to protecting and enhancing our planet's wellbeing. Being socially and environmentally cautious creates a favorable ground for companies to improve their environmental impact. It helps to reduce energy use and waste while enhancing brand image and building customer loyalty. 

According to Ernst & Young's survey, high social and environmental standards consumers expect companies to meet also include behaviors. Over half – 55 percent – of respondents considered the environmental impact of production in their purchasing decisions. 


Sustainable business strategies help attract and retain top-notch talent


We will go into the environmental sustainability perspective and its relevance in helping attract and retain top talent. Sustainability practices help foster a long-term culture of holistic wellbeing at work.


Unily conducted a survey to understand the impact of climate change and COVID-19 on transforming workplaces. Accordingly, 65 percent of the respondents said they are more likely to work with a company with a strong environmental policy. The survey also highlighted 72 percent of respondents were concerned about environmental ethics.


Some other surveys reveal similar findings, making it evident that sustainability plays a decisive role in hiring and retaining employees. 


IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) conducted a survey to understand the impact environmentally sustainable company has on job seekers. The survey concluded 71 percent of employment seekers find environmentally sustainable companies more attractive. 


Deloitte conducted a survey to understand generational tendencies. The survey found 9 in 10 millennials believe that financial performance is only one indicator of a company's success. 


They believe companies should also pay attention to the carbon footprint and care about the social life of their employees. Considering the global “Big Resignation” movement, the findings show companies could risk losing top talent to more sustainability-conscious competitors.


Why do employees and job seekers look for environmental consciousness and sustainability in companies? 


The Network for Business Sustainability lists three key reasons:

  1. Taking pride in working for a prestigious organization admired for its sustainability 
  2. Believing that when a company cares about the wellbeing of the planet, it likely treats its employees well
  3. Feeling that they work in a place that is compatible with their values and shares their goals


Sustainability, employee wellbeing, and the environment


Being environmentally conscious not only works toward protecting our planet but also plays a pivotal role to improve employee wellbeing. Forum for Future defines sustainability as a dynamic process enabling "people to realize their potential and improve quality of life.”


The U.N.'s global goals for sustainable development include not only climate action but also reducing poverty and inequalities. It focuses on improving health and wellbeing and developing sustainable communities. 


Such holistic mindsets are the essence that shapes our ways of doing business at Wellbees. We strongly believe prioritizing employee wellbeing and sustainable practices must be considered in tandem to create a meaningful impact.


Businesses that adopt sustainability practices and generate value through eco-friendly measures give employees a sense of being cared for. 


Enhanced employee morale and engagement improve the bottom line and success of a company over time. Let your employees know their safety, wellbeing, and comfort come first. Also, encourage them to personally engage in greening their ways of working and living.

How to promote wellbeing and sustainability in the workplace


Conversations around sustainability are your starting point:

Eco-aware training and communications through multi-channels, including the company website, social media, regular meetings, and casual dialogues, are essential. 


Define your sustainability workplace goals:


For instance, you can incorporate environmental aims into your corporate values and publish green goals on your website. Developing new policies and codes of conduct to support and further green practices at the workplace is crucial. And include your progress in the annual report to help encourage employees to continue on the path.


Highlighting management’s commitment and encouraging your employees to be a part of the sustainability movement is as much crucial. Make sure sustainable practices get buy-in at multiple levels across an organization, from senior executives and managers to employees.


Create a sustainability council: 


A sustainability council having members from every department will help achieve eco goals. Consider giving out periodical sustainability awards to incentivize environmentally positive behaviors.


Focus on behavioral change through promoting volunteer actions including event-based activities such as planting trees or cleaning up parks or neighborhoods. 


Green offices are improving productivity & boosting businesses’ bottom line as they keep employees healthy and happy, finds a report by World Green Building Council. Bringing behavioral change through promoting volunteer actions, including event-based activities such as planting trees, can impact positively.


Identify inefficiencies:


Do an audit of your current workplace to identify inefficiencies and define a roadmap for improvement.


Start by making small changes towards sustainability if you are not fully prepared to take bolder actions on improving air quality or increasing natural light in your building. 


Cut back on unnecessary office equipment and materials without compromising office productivity and effectiveness. In fact, use sustainable office supplies and purchase from suppliers who are environmentally responsible in their conduct of business. 


Introduce flexible or work-from-home models:


Try to introduce and maintain flexible/remote working for the sake of the planet and your employees. 


Remote working does not only create several benefits for the environment with more cars off the road and offices empty. It can positively influence people’s wellbeing if fair policies and effective technologies are in place. 


Having found themselves in a purpose- and value-driven era, companies are now turning inwards. They are reflecting on how they create value both for their shareholders and society as a whole. 


In a nutshell:


A sustainable business agenda has already seeped into the core of the business landscape. While consumers are demanding to purchase from environmentally responsible brands, employees alike are increasingly becoming more concerned about environmental ethics. They prefer to work in a place that is compatible with their values and shares their goals. 


There will be always room for further development in corporate sustainability. Therefore, it's by no means flawless, as several organizations are working to improve their green reputation according to their needs.


Genuine and resolute actions towards sustainability help develop a deeper sense of belonging in people believing in an eco-friendly approach. And this will translate into a commitment to their employer, a stronger work ethic, and recommendations to both potential employees and customers. 


Motivate yourself by thinking of the prospect of a better future for people and the planet. Care about the wellbeing of your people and environment to thrive in the future of work.


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