A year ago I set my team of direct reports the goal of examining the environmental and ethical impact of our workplace. OK, it was a bit of a nebulous title, but the idea was to get them working as a team and to think of something for an hour every other week that was not directly related to their current roles and that may spark a bit of interest. Any environmental or cost savings would be an added bonus. This was a group of people that had different experiences, different roles in the site and, different levels of knowledge and interest in the environment, sounds like the perfect team!
I have to admit, that at times it has been an uphill struggle and, my idea of letting them find their own way has led to fewer results than would have been ideal in the space of a year, but, all in all I would say there have been a number of successes, and I am keen to continue the work for a second year, but with some modifications.
We work for a service provider, with sites around the country, but with only a small number of employees. We don’t make anything, so there are few benefits to be gained in terms of reduction in waste materials, and the small number of employees at each site means that the energy consumption from IT equipment is minimal. (This is particularly so when one of the machines at site uses a massive amount of electricity every time it is turned on.)
Our main issue has been the apathy of people who don’t necessarily feel that they can make a difference at work, and the management of the Company for whom this does not seem to be a priority. Our main mistake has been that we did not start out creating the right kind of PR so did not counter the apathy and get others’ buy in at an early stage.
Over the coming weeks I will let you know how we have progressed, what has worked, and what has not and, hopefully, if any of you have any suggestions then you will let me know. I will be detailing our site surveys by external agencies, our attempts at recycling, our progress on energy usage and the payback we are hoping to get from our efforts.
If you have had any experience attempting to improve the environmental credentials of your workplace please leave a comment to let us all know how well it has been received and whether you feel that you are making a difference.