Good news for office workers: businesses large and small are catching on to the fact that going green helps keep them sustainable and saves them money in the long run. Even better news: companies are also beginning to realize that they can improve the physical and mental well-being of their employees through certain green practices.
Staying healthy and being environmentally-friendly? That’s definitely something to get you excited about going to work in the morning. If you want to learn about some of the unique ways companies have found to both go green and promote employee health, read on.
1. Encouraging employees to bike to work. A lot of people balk at the idea of biking to work because they worry there won’t be anywhere to leave their bike, or they don’t want to sit in their sweaty bike-riding attire all day.
However, there are plenty of great advantages that come with biking to work. Employees who regularly bike to work are less stressed out, require fewer sick days, and are not using fuel or polluting the environment.
Employers have started to realize this, and many businesses now offer biking incentives, like secure parking places, a company bike fleet, or a place at the office to shower and change clothes.
2. Using natural light instead of light bulbs whenever possible. Having good natural lighting isn’t always possible depending on the layout of your building and even your geographic area, but many businesses are setting up offices to maximize natural light.
Using natural light means that businesses don’t have to waste energy by using light bulbs as often, and it’s great for employees because natural lighting has been associated with a better mood, better morale, less fatigue, and less eyestrain.
3. Using natural, biodegradable cleaning products. By using natural cleaning products, employers can reduce the harsh toxins and chemicals that other cleaning products release into the environment – and their employees’ workspace.
A lot of the time, natural cleaning products are cheaper anyway because they use simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and olive oil. Many cleaning companies are also offering natural cleaning services to offices.
4. Purchasing snacks in bulk. The days of the office break room being stocked with donuts or having vending machines packed with chips are giving way to healthier snacking habits. Many businesses are purchasing snacks like fruit and nuts in bulk rather than buying processed food, which helps cut down on packaging and also promotes healthier eating and higher energy levels in the office. One more benefit: when businesses purchase local food products, they’re reducing their carbon footprint.
5. Purchasing under desk heaters. The office heating war is an age-old story. One employee gets cold easily and turns the thermostat up, then another employee overheats and goes to turn the thermostat back down, and the passive-aggressive battle rages on.
It’s hard to get an office full of people to agree on a temperature, so some businesses are turning the thermostat down and simply purchasing under desk heaters from Cozy Products or a number of other companies for their employees so that everyone can adjust to the temperature they want. Employers may want to look for an eco-save heater that has a lower wattage than traditional space heaters because these reduce costs, increase energy efficiency, and keep employees happy.
It seems like going green is a win-win situation for companies and employees. If your business isn’t using sustainable practices yet, broach the subject at the next company meeting. Who wouldn’t want to claim credit for being the visionary who saved the company money, developed an environmentally-friendly workspace, and improved employee health and morale?
Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. Together, they offer press releases, blogging, website copy, and other writing services to small and mid-sized businesses. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Along with her husband, Juliana lives in Austin, TX, with their two tiny-but-rambunctious dogs and one tiny-but-rambunctious baby boy. Learn more on WeissRoessler.com, or follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.