It has been well documented that to preserve the global ecosystem we must find new ways of living sustainably. This means that we must also find more environmentally friendly ways of working too. After all, green living shouldn’t stop when we leave the house.
Some businesses have been taking matters into their own hands and looking to offset the carbon footprint of their enterprise: Clearance Solutions practise rigorously efficient approaches to reuse and recycling to save far more CO2 than they produce. Other companies have partnered with environmental projects for the good of the ecosystem: the SAP recruitment agency Eursap recently pledged to plant a tree in The National Forest for every consultant placed.
It’s important to note that employees of a greener business can also feel some of the benefits of contributing to a more sustainable planet. Here are four eco-friendly practices that lead to a happier working lifestyle.
Cycling to work has health and financial benefits
Regular physical activity is important in keeping physically fit and is also proven to have several benefits for mental health. Exercise can help boost mood, energy levels, self-esteem and sleep quality. However many modern workers find themselves stuck behind a desk for most of the day and struggle to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
One way of doing this is by cycling to work. A recent survey of 10,000 London commuters found that cycling into work rather than driving, taking the tube or using other public transport was one of the leading factors of a happy lifestyle. Many bike manufacturers have specifications suitable for commuting that can be customised to meet a customer’s specific needs.
The carbon emissions from cars and other vehicles contribute to global warming, so by cycling to work you are reducing the impact on the environment while reaping several benefits for yourself.
Health benefits aside, without the added costs of petrol and parking cycling to work can save you a substantial amount of money.
Telecommuting increases mood and decreases carbon footprint
Telecommuting and hot desking are increasingly popular ways of a business reducing its carbon footprint and the need for extra workspace. Hot-desking can reduce costs by up to 30% each year, with UK businesses saving a total of £34 billion annually. Allowing staff to telecommute could also reduce carbon emissions by over 51 million metric tons a year.
It can also rejuvenate employee morale. Two thirds of workers would prefer to work from home and 36% of employees would even shun a pay rise in favour of telecommuting. Being closer to home makes things such as childcare easier to manage, although it is important to separate work life and home life.
Working from home is becoming much more stress free with an increase in cloud-based services. For instance cloud-based accounting software allows home businesses and freelancers to keep on top of finances without the added stress of meeting with accountants as noted by contractor accountants 3 Wise Bears.
Eating unprocessed and organic food boosts energy levels
Employees that eat a balanced diet and avoid processed foods have higher levels of energy and concentration. Nutritionists recommend organic food as studies have found it to be higher in vitamin C, antioxidants and several minerals. Many pesticides commonly used on non-organic produce carry neurotoxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells.
Foods that are high in natural fibre including fruit, vegetables and unprocessed grains such as brown rice and quinoa help you to stay satiated for longer and also increase alertness and levels of concentration. Workers who eat natural foods in their unprocessed state are likely to be more productive than those that do not.
Organic food production is the sustainable choice for the future. Modern agricultural practices can be destructive to the environment through the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
Plants improve air quality and employee productivity
The air quality of an office plays a huge role in the productivity of a workforce. Having a healthy office environment is crucial as absenteeism costs UK businesses an estimated £36 billion each year.
Many offices use air conditioning to regulate air quality but a cheaper and more eco-friendly solution is to introduce plants to the office. Plants absorb toxins from the air and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. This benefits both the environment and the productivity of your employees.
A study also found employees working in offices with one plant per square metre were 15% more productive than those without. Memory retention and concentration were proven to significantly improve.