With many large corporations going green, from HP to McDonald’s, and many smaller businesses adapting their offices to be eco-friendly, their primary aim is to benefit the environment.
Motion-sensored lighting, introducing plants into the office and more extensive recycling are just a few of the ways businesses have begun to enforce eco-friendly policies. Yet, despite the looming threat of climate change, these measures go beyond simply helping the environment – they can also have a wide range of positive effects for companies and their employees. Here’s how going green can benefit your office as well as the environment.
Increased employee productivity
One of the most effective ways to make your office eco-friendly is to improve ventilation, which will boost air quality to control any indoor air pollutants. Research has shown that this improvement to air quality can also substantially improve staff productivity. A study by Harvard University and others found that those who work in well ventilated offices have significantly higher cognitive functioning than those who work in offices with typical levels of ventilation, allowing them to do more constructive work.
Investing in lighting systems such as LED bulbs can lead to a significant improvement in energy efficiency, but they also have effects on productivity. Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago found a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life. This in turn makes them more productive at work.
Simply using less space and utilising flexible working arrangements like coworking and professional business lounges can reduce the amount of energy used by a company, while also enhancing productivity. Research by Deskmag and Deskwanted found that 74% of co-workers were more productive after working in a coworking space, and over two thirds felt more creative and collaborative on projects.
Improved staff health
Going green in the office is also beneficial to your employees’ health. Indoor air pollutants from heating and solvents from cleaning can lead to sick building syndrome and generally poor health of workers. An improvement in air quality prevents these pollutants from harming your staff.
Having plants around the office can help to improve ventilation and remove harmful toxins from the workplace. A now-renowned NASA clean air study found that certain species of plants are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and ammonia from the air—chemicals that have been linked to headaches and eye irritation.
As well as the higher cognitive functioning and sleep benefits that can come from better-ventilated offices, it can also lead to reduced rate of illness in workers. As a result, staff are likely to take fewer sick days and will be more productive by virtue of working in a happy and healthy workspace.
By using less energy and water, going green in the office can reduce monthly bills. For example, the headquarters of the Co-operative Group has been designed to use half of the energy and 80% less carbon than the company’s previous HQ, through measures such as heat recovery from IT systems and a high-efficiency passenger and service lift. Operation costs have dropped by a third as a result. Similar methods have been introduced elsewhere, with Silicon Valley-based Hanover Page Mill using 40% less water thanks to using taps that restrict water flow.
There are a number of ways to use your resources more efficiently. When it comes to printing, buying and using recycled ink, reducing paper usage whenever possible and recycling any paper used can help both your budget and the environment. Buying energy-saving light bulbs can also save you substantial money on replacement costs, as they typically last significantly longer than standard bulbs.
Enhanced brand image
Going green can also enhance your business’ image. According to a survey by video conferencing company Tandberg, more than half of global consumers prefer to deal with companies with a strong environmental reputation. This has been primarily driven by millennials, 73% of whom are willing to spend more on a product in the knowledge that it has been made sustainably; by drawing in younger consumers, green companies encourage customer loyalty from a younger age.
It isn’t just the customers who see the appeal in environmentally-conscious companies. The Tandberg survey revealed that eight in ten workers surveyed said they would prefer to work for an eco-conscious organisation. So consider the benefits—not just on the environment, but to your bottom line. You can help save the planet and attract customers and employers to your company.