2020 has brought about significant changes to the daily routine of small businesses – working from home being one of the biggest. This has provided small businesses an opportunity to explore a new way of working which subsequently can reduce overheads.
The change in routine has also had benefits beyond business outcomes, with major strides made towards a greener and more sustainable environment. It’s important for businesses to consider the benefits of sustainability for a business, and what they can do to contribute to the preservation of the environment.
Here are simple measures small businesses can take to ensure they are fostering a positive sustainable environment for themselves, their employees and the environment:
Embrace the remote workforce
Though we’ve been successfully getting some types of work done remotely and over video, people will come into work primarily for creativity and collaboration purposes. We’ve been missing the intrinsic human experience of working together – face-to-face – in workspaces that were designed specifically to foster the creativity, agility and innovation that businesses need to be truly productive and grow.
To succeed in this new phase of hybrid work, businesses need to think about investing in an agile setup that will drive collaboration between teams in a sustainable way while improving business efficiency. Office spaces need to be reconfigured to ensure more collaboration can happen and to a certain extend reducing real estate where it makes sense. In addition, collaboration platforms will continue to be a sustainable option for businesses, as it allows remote teams to connect with each other quickly and productively when they are at home. Utilising cloud technologies also has the additional benefit of reducing the physical waste that is traditionally produced in offices such as paper.
Engage employees in sustainability
Every step taken to be more conscious of the environment starts a chain reaction by bringing it front of mind for employees. Whether its purchasing recycled paper products, becoming a paperless workplace or investing in sustainability training, these decisions will improve the knowledge of positive sustainability practise.
It’s important to involve employees in the creation and implementation of a sustainability policy to make it part of the daily routine. LogMeIn have started an initiative where employees are asked to develop a personal pledge to reduce their own emissions whilst working from home, and for every pledge card completed, the company will plant five trees. This is a simple way small businesses can motivate employees to be environmentally conscious and take part in a global movement.
The little things count
Small businesses may be small in employee size, however, the impact they can have on the environment is by no means small. When it comes to sustainability there doesn’t need to be large financial investments, teams can make small adaptions to their current processes.
Some examples include reducing travel to and from meetings by hosting them virtually, using recycled paper and supplying plates/cutlery and cups to reduce single-use items. Another measure could be working with landlords to ensure low energy light globes and appliances are used to reduce energy use. There is no need to make large sweeping changes the simple things can make a big difference.
Sustainability should not be a tick-the-box item because it can have a significant impact on small businesses by reducing their overheads with reduced office space and reduced need for travel. Developing a strong sustainability policy also delivers intrinsic value to your business, employees and those you do business with
Lindsay Brown, Vice President – Asia Pacific and Japan, LogMeIn