Let’s face it: most of our time is spent at work. If we’re not at work, we’re driving to work, getting ready for work, relaxing after work, thinking about work, stressing about work, or escaping from work. This means the people we interact with in our day jobs, are humans we see a lot of. Whether it’s Sally at the water cooler, or Bob at the printer; we cannot avoid them. With this in mind… what better way to convert more eco warriors than in your office?
If you’re passionately on that ‘eco buzz’, chances are you’ve already bored your work mates with ‘how to compost’ videos and bought them all KeepCups. But if you’re the shy eco angel in the room who wants to be more strategic in encouraging your eco conscious colleagues, this is for you.
A great way to inspire your colleagues to reduce their environmental footprint without having to blatantly preach, is to share rides. Suggest carpooling as a way to save petrol money and avoid lonely a drive. If appropriate, propose the idea that you both jump on the bus and spend your parking money on a coffee together instead!
Put your hand up
Sadly, some offices aren’t cool enough to have a sustainability representative allocated. One day I’m sure it will be compulsory, but for now, you’ve got to put your hand up. Be that person who volunteers to organise a recycling bin, or the one who provides paper desk streamers so balloons are avoided when it’s a colleague’s birthday.
Be proud of your waste free lunch
Are your sandwiches wrapped in beeswax wraps? Is that a metal straw in your morning smoothie? ROCK IT. Without shouting across the lunch room “my food is plastic free!”, let your delicious meal speak for itself. Take it from someone who used beeswax wraps for weeks, and watched the CFO unwrap a groovy superman beeswax wrap just one month later: it works.
Related Post: 20 Items That Should Be On Your Zero Waste List
Celebrate green days together
From World Oceans Day, to Plastic Free July, there are many celebrations your office can be involved in. Not only will this spread education and provoke positive eco habits, but your internal culture will benefit too. Nothing builds team spirit more than a competition over who can avoid the most plastic straws during the month of July. Request a staff lunch budget, pop up educational posters, and paint the office green!
Purchase indoor plants
Is there anything better than an office with indoor plants? Probably not. Indoor plants are shown to reduce stress, increase productivity, reduce noise levels, purify the air, and generally make an office space more attractive and enjoyable to work in. Plants will bring your office to life.
Related Post: 8 Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants for Your Office
Team up with admin
If you aren’t already on the administration team, they’re the ones to buddy up with. Office administrators are usually the ones who order soap, paper towels, condiments, and all shared utilities in the office. The decisions they make may seem mundane, but they’re responsible for a large majority of the company’s environmental footprint. What if they made their office decisions with the environment in mind? The office would scream ‘eco’ and spark unconscious ideas that can impact colleague’s home lives too.
Convert your local cafes to discount BYO cups
Story time: I used to work as the administrator for a large IT company in the middle of a city. Every morning I would watch nearly a hundred employees walk through the door with their takeaway coffee cups in hand. It. Made. Me. Sick. I could not just sit there. After a month of thinking, I visited the local cafe where most employees purchased their brown medicine, and I made a deal with the manager. If an employee showed their work lanyard, and bought their own coffee mug, they would receive 50 cents off their coffee. It worked a treat. No longer did I cringe as hundreds of coffee mugs walked through the door. Instead, I watched as colleagues raised their reusable mugs at me and thanked me for the discount! This method is tried and true in several workplaces, and I’m sure it will work for you too.
Influencing your workplace is a massive task, but it’s an opportunity you simply cannot pass up. Enjoy ride sharing with your workmates, volunteer to spearhead eco initiatives, don’t hide your waste free lunch, celebrate global eco-days, deck out your office in plants, get friendly with the admin team, and try to sneak a discount with the local cafe when your eco conscious colleagues BYO mug.
However when you decide to encourage your eco conscious colleagues, be compassionate. Your colleagues will not adopt eco-friendly habits if you ram plastic waste and other environmental facts down their throats while they walk to the bathroom, and please be patient if at first they are resistant.
Remember what Zero Waste Chef Anne-Marie Bonneau said: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
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All images via Pexels and Unsplash.