Worklife changes that can help the environment
Did you know that our current Carbon Dioxide emissions have surpassed the Earth’s capacity to absorb it?
Millions of young people around the world are protesting to get policy makers to take quick and effective steps to combat climate change before it is too late.
In India too, most of the cities are seeing the adverse effects of climatic changes. The recent water crisis in Chennai, depletion of groundwater in most of the cities, threats of coastal cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Surat submerging under water, the disturbing smog situation every winter in Delhi NCR region and the rampant deforestation is leading to many protests.
While both local and global protests like #FridaysForFuture are getting a lot of support, it takes time to implement environmentally friendly policies. But one thing is clear; with every melting glacier, with every tree that is chopped, with various species moving towards extinction, the time to make the right choices and to act is slipping away rapidly. It is imperative that we take measures at individual levels to help our planet regain what’s lost.
And it is not that difficult. There are several small changes that we can bring in our daily lives that can contribute significantly in reviving the planet. Since we spend most of our waking hours at our workplace, we have put together a few suggestions that employers and individual employees can incorporate to help the environment.
● Rethink Design
While designing workplaces, one often keeps in mind the comfort and style as employees spend a huge chunk of their time in offices. Employers can incorporate these features along with certain environment-friendly hacks that not only enhance productivity but also promotes sustainability.
One can start by designing spaces that are well ventilated, well-lit with sunlight and adorned with indoor plants. Exposure to these natural elements will not only contribute to the good mental health of employees but also aid in reducing the usage of electricity.
● Nurture a company culture that promotes sustainable living
As more and more people are moving towards work spaces with 24*7 access, members are often found misusing the resources. As an employer or a business owner you can nurture a culture that encourages everyone in the premises to adopt sustainable living by following a few simple steps.
a) Replace all the plastic bottles and cutlery in the cafeteria and meeting rooms with metal or glass alternatives.
b) Save electricity by shutting off the lights that are not in use, regulating the temperature of the air conditioner and shutting it off during post office hours and using energy efficient lights.
c) Limit the number of papers each member of your organisation uses.
d) Use sustainable packaging for your mails and avoid the usage of plastic in wrapping the materials that you wish to post.
e) Use sustainable materials to make company merchandise.
f) Reutilizing the water thrown by water purifiers in washing or washrooms.
● Make changes in the catering options
Agricultural practices have been found to have varied effects on the climate. Amongst these practices, meat production is found to be a leading contributor to global warming. While we are not against eating meat, one can take measures to eat plant-based products with sustainable packaging at least at workspaces. This helps reduce carbon footprint significantly. So, if you have the liberty to make changes in the catering options then do encourage your office members to have meat-free meals.
● Managing Waste
Waste Management is one of the key factors that can help the health of the environment improve significantly. At work spaces, you can start by producing less waste, segregating the waste into dry and wet and then recycling whatever you can and ensuring proper disposal of it.
For Individual Employees
As employees and freelancers in offices or coworking spaces, you can take small measures in your individual capacity to help the environment. Here are some of them:
● Alternatives to Plastic
You can make efforts to reduce usage of plastic in your daily life. This can start by not using single use plastic, carrying reusable water bottles and metal tiffin carriers. In case you order your food from outside then opt for restaurants that do not give takeaways in plastic containers or simply opt for no cutlery.
● Use Water judiciously at work
Water scarcity is one of the leading problems that is being faced by many countries. As individuals, you can use water judiciously by shutting running taps and reporting any leakages in the pipes to save water.
● Opt for carpool or public transport
Work culture is evolving wherein more and more people are choosing to work from coworking spaces closest to their homes or work from home. This reduces the dependency on cars and in turn carbon emissions.
If your workplace is bit far off then you can opt for either carpooling or public transport. You can even save fuel by having meetings over Skype Calls unless it is absolutely necessary to meet.
● Go Digital at workspace
You can reduce usage of paper by going digital. As most of the work happens over digital mediums, you can go paperless by saving data files on cloud. You can even limit the number of paper tissues that you use in a day.
● Analyse your carbon footprint
You can use Carbon Footprint calculators that are available online that tell you about your carbon emissions. Based on the results you can work towards the changes you need to bring daily to reduce your carbon emissions.
● Avoid Food Wastage
Food waste creates lot of harmful gases during its degradation process. One also cannot neglect the fact that the energy used to cook the food also gets wasted if food is wasted. You can avoid food wastage by making sure to eat what you cook or order food based on your appetite.
● Complete your work on time
Completing your work on time will not only improve efficiency and enhance productivity but also reduce usage of office resources post working hours. This will help save electricity, water and paper by significant amount.
● Lead by Example
Many today want to take measures to help the environment but often don’t know the appropriate ways. If you consistently take steps towards a sustainable living then it will definitely grab the attention of your colleagues and encourage them to follow you.
What are the measures that you take at your workplace to help the environment?