Do your employees really care about the latest “eco-friendly” initiative at work? Are they on board with the idea of a mission statement that includes caring for the planet? Would they like to have a say in sustainability in the office? Evidence suggests that the answer to all of these questions is “Yes!”
Workers Love a Giving Attitude
Rena M. Klein at the American Institute of Architects explores a 2008 SHRM study in her article about “Greening the Workplace”. In the study, a strong commitment to sustainable practices was linked to improved worker productivity and higher morale. Energy and resource conservation programs were popular practices, as was support for cycling and other fuel-efficient commuting methods. However, the #1 practice that garnered the most support was reuse of old furnishings.
“Employees were asked which environmentally responsible practices they thought were most important for organizations to carry out. They reported that donating/discounting used office furniture/supplies to employees or local charity was the top environmentally responsible practice.” It’s always nice when what’s good for the environment coincides with what’s good for workers and the local community.
Environmental Responsibility Is a Passion for Young Employees
Sustainability is likely to become even more popular over the next two decades as Gen Y workers will comprise most of the workforce by 2025. According to OXYGENZ (a research project led by Global WorkPlace Innovation), youth believe that the office should be designed with an eye toward eco-responsibility. “Sustainability is highly valued with 96% desiring an environmentally friendly workplace, but not at the expense of design.” Fortunately, the range of choices for office furniture that is well-designed and responsibly manufactured is growing.
Making Smart Green Buying Decisions
Of course, this doesn’t mean buying green is inexpensive—at least for new furniture. Cost can be a significant barrier to implementing an environmentally responsible program. In the SHRM study mentioned above, eight out of ten employees recognized this as one of the reasons such practices weren’t given more weight in the workplace. There is one option that satisfies:
- the requirement of businesses to keep costs low;
- the needs of workers who want (and deserve) ergonomic and finely crafted office furniture; and
- the desire of everyone involved to make sustainable choices.
Purchasing refurbished office furniture is that solution since the refinishing process consumes comparatively few resources. Employers can get their hands on the best name-brand furnishings restored to like new condition at a fraction of the cost of new. Buying items made with pre and post-consumer recycled content (like our panel extenders) is another smart choice. Our products are especially sustainable because they help businesses extend the useful life of their existing desks and cubicles.