The link between an eco-friendly office and workplace well-being – words Alexa Wang
Employers are facing greater pressure than ever before to be environmentally responsible. Often, this is presented as a cost, to be tolerated. But, in many cases, an eco-friendly approach can improve the performance of your office – not least in terms of the benefits it can confer to your staff.
Lower lighting levels
The availability of ultra-bright, ultra-efficient LED bulbs has led many offices to become almost distracting in their brilliance. But prolonged levels of high light can cause headaches, particularly as we move from one brightly-lit area to another. Installing dimmer switches which progressively mute the lighting as evening rolls in will provide your employees with the sense that time is, indeed, rolling on in their absence – and it’ll slash your carbon footprint in the process.
Choice of Paint
Certain sorts of paint are better for the environment than others. Even water-based acrylics will still contain a proportion of harmful solvents. If you’re running a large office where you’re often getting the decorators in, then this will statistically increase the prevalence of headaches, respiratory problems, and ultimately absenteeism. Plus, bare brickwork can look very stylish, if you know what you’re doing.
Working from Home
This is a bit of a contentious one, as working from home doesn’t suit all of us. But working from home confers a number of benefits to both the environment, and your worker’s well-being. For one thing, it eliminates the cost of transport. Even one day at home every week can eliminate hundreds, or even thousands of miles from an annual commute. That can work out to more than a metric ton of CO2.
Home-working will also reduce the number of staff you have onsite, decrease your power bill, and allow you to downsize your premises.
Working from home is, obviously, a perk for employees. It helps you to demonstrate your trust in them, and allows them to get the job done in an environment that suits them. Of course, there are some jobs for which this isn’t suitable, and some employees will enjoy the responsibility more than others. But the merits, for the most part, outweigh the downsides.
We’re all more environmentally-aware than ever before, and this includes office-workers. When workers participate in an activity that they know is environmentally destructive, even if it’s something seemingly trivial like profligate use of disposable plastic, then they may become demoralised.
After all, there’s nothing more likely to generate antipathy than the repressed sense that you’re a cog in a very harmful machine. Just think about how much less enjoyment you get from feeding bread to ducks after learning that bread is bad for ducks, or how sullied your experience of Sea World might have been after watching ‘Blackfish’.
Switching over to environmentally-friendly workplace practices like recycling, therefore, is likely to bolster ailing morale amongst an environmentally-conscious workforce.