Earth Day provides us the opportunity to take a look at our daily practices in our workspaces to evaluate how we can improve for a better world. And if that isn’t reason enough, research shows eco-friendly businesses may be more attractive to Millennial job seekers. In fact, most Millennials would take a pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible company. According to FastCompany, nearly 40 percent of Millennials have chosen a job because of company sustainability practices. This represents a big increase when compared to less than 25 percent of Gen X respondents and 17 percent of Baby Boomers, and becomes even more significant when we look at our future workforce trends. Millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce in the next six years. Here are four easy changes small business owners can make that can make a big difference to our environment.
Today’s employees have a strong desire to be associated with socially responsible businesses that place a high value on having a positive impact on society. Find out the top three things employees really want from work in this blog post.
Reduce Use or Go Paperless
The greenest office paper isn’t recycled paper, it is making the decision to not use paper at all. But if paperless isn’t an option, simply reducing our use of office paper can reap great environmental rewards. Consider this information via Forbes — a 2014 study by Catalog Spree and PaperKarma revealed if the U.S. alone cuts its office paper use by just 10 percent, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.45 million metric tons — the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for an entire year!
Chill Out on Over-Cooling
Offices are almost always over-cooled during the summer months. How many of us have even worn a sweater or jacket while in the office during peak summer months? Sound familiar? By turning down the thermostat or investing in a thermostat lock box to prevent employees from adjusting it to their liking, not only will you save on your energy bill, but can help reduce the number of greenhouse gases released into the environment. Every adjustment counts, so even increasing the thermostat one degree during the summer months can help.
The benefits of recycling are immense and the practice is anything but new. While already adopted in the U.S. and around the world, it was in the 1960s when we first saw curbside collections of yard waste, metals and paper products in the U.S. According to ThoughtCo., recycling one ton of paper has the potential to save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton! But recycling extends beyond office paper. Beverage containers, printer cartridges, computers, and other electronics can also be recycled. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates about 80-90 percent of the average workplace’s solid waste can be recycled. To find out how to start an office recycling program, check out this Inc. article.
Natural Lighting Increases Productivity
Not surprisingly, employees who work in natural lighting conditions, near sunlit windows, have a 15 percent higher production rate. The ideal location of employee workstations would be within 25 feet of those peripheral walls with windows. Other lighting tips include replacing bulbs with LEDs, installing a motion sensor on lights and turning lights off when team members are out of the office.
At Axcet HR Solutions, we support “Earth Day, Every Day” initiatives. Our team is proud to be part of a workplace committed to recycling and is fully committed to helping the environment whenever possible. At our Lenexa, Kansas headquarters, we recycle paper, cardboard, plastic and cans, opt for web-based meetings and conference calls when possible and have motion-detector lights switches in all offices and storage rooms. When it comes to paperwork and forms for our clients and client employees, we strive to minimize or eliminate the use of paper. We make available electronic W-2s and we are proud to offer web-based applications as much as possible, including our Instant Axcet Portal, Prism Hiring and Online Benefits.
For more information on Earth Day, or to join the world’s largest environmental movement, visit www.earthday.org.