As a business leader of an SMB, reducing your carbon footprint may not be on top of your priority list. But green office practices now offer substantial benefits including money savings, improved work culture and productivity and improved brand perceptions. Got your attention now, right?
In the past 20 years, we’ve seen green office practices in commercial environments go from the obscure and unusual to mainstream and popular. This is due to some of the commercial as well as social benefits that green practices can offer to your business.
This post takes a closer look at where these commercial benefits come from, and how you can quickly and easily capitalise on them too.
Workplace culture and productivity
One of the most interesting findings to come from green building and green office practices in recent years has been the measurable impact it has had on employee happiness, health and productivity.
One study at UCLA and the University of Paris-Dauphine, found that employees at environmentally-friendly workplaces are 16% more productive than average.
The report states that employees in ‘green’ organisations are motivated, receive more training and benefit from better interpersonal relationships, and are therefore more productive than employees in the equivalent non-green firms.
A recent report by The World Green Building Council supported these findings, with some gobsmacking documentary evidence of commercial advancement through green practices.
It cites simple steps, such as improving air quality, increasing natural light in your building and introducing more greenery, which have traditionally been known to save business costs, are now direct routes to decreasing absenteeism, staff turnover and medical costs.
Typically, when we think of commercial benefits of eco-friendly practices, we think about waste reduction and energy savings, both of which have a measurable impact on commercial costs. Countless reports have backed this up, with large companies saving in the millions, while smaller businesses citing thousands in savings.
All the usual suspects, like using energy-saving light bulbs, turning lights and air conditioning off at night, reducing consumption of items such as paper, and setting all devices to sleep mode, will all have a measurable impact on your bottom line.
You can also reduce and recycle your waste, purchase energy-saving machinery, and review your supplier’s systems and equipment, ensuring you’re only giving business to the greenest and leanest of them all.
Technologies such as document management systems are paving efficiency inroads for companies of all sizes, increasing efficiencies and decreasing costs of administration, print and storage of documents in commercial environments.
Staff attraction and retention
Here’s a competitive advantage you just can’t ignore. Lightspeed found that nearly 10% of millennials said they would quit their jobs if they found their current employer was not sustainable.
Emphasising your commitment to eco-friendliness connects you at a values level with like-minded employees. Your efforts to go green could become part of your employer brand, with a clear and growing number of candidates preferring to work for a company that is socially responsible.
As sustainability becomes a focus of our global communities, so does the demand for brands that are conscious of their impact on people and the planet.
Signalling your intentions to undertake green practices, and, more importantly, implementing such practices, can be favourable with larger and more profitable customers who not only prefer to work with green vendors, but who sometimes have a mandate to do so.
The commercial benefits of a green office are undeniable - they’ve been measured, proven and are now becoming mainstream knowledge.
While going green may not previously have been on the top of your priority list previously, the commercial benefits are nothing to be sniffed at, and could be just the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.
Sustainability will be an important measure of success for workplaces of the future. Download our Green Office Guide to learn how to improve your environmental impact, while also reducing business costs and boosting efficiency.