Humans by nature are pretty selfish and have short-term views (me included)! So how could we align our green ideas for work and employees to our organisation’s goals on the environment? Well, one thing’s for sure, telling them to eat less meat will not cut it! And for that matter, neither will asking them to think about the impact of leaving PC’s and laptops on when they know it can take 15 minutes of valuable time when they’re faced with deadlines to get the thing up and running!
So what could work?
Well it’s all in your gift to create an environment that supports the behaviours you want.
1. Specify what is bought so that it:
2. Measure and report on full costs of impacts, and benchmark against other similar companies
3. Take desk bins away and provide clearly marked recycling bins into which segregated wastes can go if you have a waste target and mark the rubbish bin as Landfill so everyone knows where the waste is going to go
4. Install a system that shuts down all non-essential energy use at the end of a typical day if you are concerned about people leaving equipment on. This means no one really needs to worry about making sure the printer has been turned off – invariably it’s the same person who does that and they invariably get cheesed off if no one else is pulling their weight.
5. Select your offices and locations near to public transport
6. If you plan on having plants in the office, grow food like beans and tomatoes that people can pick once ready and eat
7. Reward people for ideas that work – not necessarily with money but through some form of recognition
BUT remember, nothing happens without talking to people, so whatever you choose to do, it is important that you talk and listen before acting. The key focus should be on corralling the mass majority rather than pandering to the grumblers or pushing the environment manager to do more. This is a journey and we all know that Lau Tzu was correct, as each…. journey starts with the first step.