Creating a sustainable workspace: Tips for a healthier working environment
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the crucial link between sustainability and well-being in the workplace. The idea of sustainability is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Whereas well-being is defined as being healthy, happy, and comfortable.
When it comes to the workplace, sustainability and well-being are closely intertwined. A sustainable workplace not only lessens the negative impact on the environment, but it also contributes to the physical and mental well-being of employees. Here are some tips to create a sustainable workplace:
Implement a recycling program: One of the easiest and most effective ways to make your workplace more sustainable is by implementing a recycling program. Make sure to place the recycling bins in easily accessible locations and put-up guides for employees to practice. Let your employees know what can and cannot be recycled, and place recycling bins in easily accessible locations.
Use energy-efficient lighting: Switch to LED lighting which last longer up to 25,000 hours and saves 90% more energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. This is a much more environmental-friendly than traditional bulbs. Another option is installing motion sensors to switch off lights when not in use. Not only able to save money on your energy bills but also reduce the carbon footprint.
Reduce water usage: Install low-flow toilets, faucets and showers. If found leaks in pipes, faucets, and toilets, repair promptly to prevent water wastage. Apart from that, always encourage employees to be mindful of their water usage. Besides, use greywater such as water from a coffee pot or dehumidifier, to water office plants instead of using fresh water.
Reduce paper usage: Digitize documents and communications such as notes and reminders as much as possible to reduce paper usage. If necessary, only print double-sided on paper or use recycled paper. Additionally, set print quotas to limit the amount of paper employees can use for printing to make sure efficient use of paper and reduce waste.
Encourage sustainable commuting: Provide incentives for employees who use public transport, walking or cycling to get to work, such as bike racks, showers and changing rooms. Other than that, provide petrol allowances to encourage carpooling between employees which can reduce congestions and air pollutions.
Promote healthy eating habits: Encourage employees to bring in healthy food options and provide reusable dishes and utensils to reduce waste. Offer healthy refreshments, such as nuts, trail mix, and granola bars in the pantry, instead of high-calorie snacks and sugary drinks. Keep employees hydrated by installing water coolers or water filtration systems in the office.
Maintain a green space: Create a green space around the workplace to provide a natural environment for employees to enjoy. Consider planting low-maintenance trees or flowers not only can lighten up the environment but also make indoor spaces healthier for employees, both in terms of physical and mental health.
Use green cleaning products: Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products which are made from renewable resources, such as plant-based ingredients and recycled materials. They are often low in VOCs, which can improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of health problems. Ensure that the products are used regularly to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.
Measure and track progress: Track your progress in implementing sustainable practices and measure the impact regularly. A few data that can be tracked are the reduction in utilities bills, petrol bills and employee’s health & well-being. Use this information to make continuous improvement and set new sustainability goals.
Creating a sustainable workplace takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. By implementing these sustainable tips, you can create a workplace that is good for the environment, good for your employees, and good for your business.