Climate change took the spotlight at the 2022 Australian federal election – with a number of voters pushing to prioritise the environment in the country’s political agenda.
Apart from the clear advantages of climate change mitigation, University of South Australia human resources expert Dr Subha Parida says adapting a green strategy could also help employees return to the office – a problem that many businesses must resolve as pandemic restrictions slow down.
While sustainable environments are critical to erase carbon emissions on a global scale, employers who are going green can also develop an attractive space that can better cater to employees’ needs.
The importance of a clean and green workspace
Dr Parida says their research suggests green human resource management (HRM) that fosters eco-friendly or ‘green’ behaviours can lead to non-green workplace benefits, such as higher job satisfaction, stronger employee engagement and increased productivity.
Going green can not only save the environment but also help employees function better – as workers in green buildings have better sleep, less sickness and higher cognitive function scores, says Dr Parida.
With the right human resource policies, Dr Parida says providing green spaces could help employees make a safe return to the office – while also providing a boost to the company’s net income.
While green buildings are sure to lessen the negative impact on the environment, Dr Parida says that expanding green policies beyond the building can create a durable, liveable, and accessible workplace for employees.
“Our research found that many workers don’t even realise they work in a green building, which means the buildings don’t function as they’re intended,’ Dr Parida adds.
Dr Parida believes that green buildings won’t be effective in real life unless the people using the office space know how to use it and maximise its potential.
Lack of training, knowledge and support from leaders can significantly slow down a green building’s performance, according to the HR expert.
Here are some tips on how to build an eco friendly workspace:
How to build an eco-friendly office
Promote green challenges. Challenging your employees to adhere to sustainable policies can be fun when you give them incentives. For instance, whoever goes a month without using non-compostable plastics can win free coupons or tickets as a reward. If everyone understands the benefits of going green, employers can motivate employees to follow sustainable policies.
Conserve your energy. Turn off the lights when no one’s inside the room. Installing a motion detector that switches it off when there is no movement for five minutes can help your workspace conserve energy. Ensuring the responsible use of energy throughout the organisation can help develop a drive for sustainability in the workplace.
Compost food waste. Setting up a food compost in the office can be good to avoid being wasteful. Bring your food waste home and use it as fertilizer. Donating the food waste to local farms can also be a great way of helping them out.
Use green cleaning products. Cleaning products have chemicals that can harm the environment just as much as in your food waste. Use nontoxic petroleum-free cleaners along with washable microfiber cloths for a more sustainable working space. This can then help you reduce toxic waste and overall improves your working space.
Building a clean and green workspace can be an easy and effective way to improve workers’ welfare and reduce expenses while helping to save the environment – offering a green space could be the incentive workers need to go back to the city.