5 ways to prioritize office sustainability in 2019

December 26, 20184 minute read

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Has your office already started putting some sustainability measures in place? If so, congratulations! That’s a terrific sign of progress both for your company and the planet.

If you’re like most companies, though, office sustainability is likely just a side project, not a key business objective. But 2019 may be the year to change that. As trends evolve and the importance of sustainability in business becomes clearer to both customers and employees, prioritizing sustainability has become advantageous to your business—and there are some simple ways IT can make sustainability a reality.

Saving the planet can give your business a competitive edge

Embracing sustainability as a key objective isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also a smart business decision. According to Ethical Corporation, customers are “increasingly likely to look for a brand that better aligns with their values.” In other words, organizations that focus on sustainability can distinguish themselves from the competition, winning business from customers who want to purchase products and services from companies doing their part to save the planet.

Sustainability can also help you attract and retain talent. Millennials get an unfairly bad rap for supposed “entitlement” at the workplace, insisting on a personally meaningful work experience their elders may not have thought to ask for. But the reality is millennials care greatly about working for forward-thinking, innovative companies reflecting their values. You can make a direct appeal to them by reducing your environmental impact.

Claire Jones, associate director of employee engagement at global PR firm Weber Shandwick, explains this trend in a recent Mashable article: “Millennials want to work for employers that show good corporate citizenship, are fair in their behavior, that communicate with openness and transparency, and that have values-driven leaders who really do walk the talk.” By making sustainability a formal business objective, you can demonstrate to these employees that your company is invested in creating a better future. This will resonate with the top talent you want to hire and retain.

5 ways IT can improve office sustainability

When done right, sustainability is an ongoing, company-wide business objective that engages everyone with participation and collaboration. That’s where the IT team comes in—they can become the office sustainability hero by advancing the company’s sustainability profile in five key ways:

  1. Partner with sustainable vendors. Just like customers vote for a sustainable future with their dollars by purposely purchasing products and services from businesses with a good sustainability track record, your company can do the same by choosing to partner with sustainable vendors. Doing so will create a virtuous ripple effect, boosting your own company’s sustainability while proving there’s a robust market for companies with environmentally conscious business practices.
  2. Responsibly recycle electronics and other e-waste. According to The Global E-Waste Monitor, just 20 percent of e-waste is recycled—a terrifying statistic when you consider the environmental impact of all that trash. Recycling your old laptops, printers, and toner cartridges will go a long way toward reducing e-waste. Some vendors offer closed loop recycling programs that can reduce it even further.
  3. Upgrade to environmentally responsible tech. One of the keys to IT sustainability is making sure you use eco-friendly tech. Do your company laptops, desktops, printers, and other gadgets have Energy Star designations? You’ll also want vendors that make sustainability a priority when manufacturing their products and supplies. Forward-thinking companies produce an annual sustainable impact report, which will give you insight into how much they walk the walk where environmental sustainability is concerned.
  4. Empower employees to work from home. Working from home reduces the carbon footprint impact associated with commuting to and working in a traditional office. Your company can also enjoy cost savings related to office space, electricity, and office supplies. Employees will appreciate the flexibility and productivity benefits telecommuting allows them, too.
  5. Capitalize on managed print services (MPS). Ever looked over at a printer cranking out one print job after another and wondered if there wasn’t some way to streamline your company’s paper consumption? You might want to check out managed print services (MPS), which can offer insightful analytics that help you identify ways to optimize your printing environment to achieve sustainability goals.

The importance of sustainability in business has never been clearer. With so many pathways to sustainability available, your business has a terrific opportunity to gain a competitive edge, fulfill customer expectations, and boost employee satisfaction while also securing some appealing efficiency gains and costs reductions.

For these reasons and more, you may want to consider making sustainability a key business objective in 2019. There’s never been a better time to go green.

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