Last year, we wrote a blog about how to green your workplace. It was about making sure we all played our part in cutting carbon at work, and making sure your employer does too.

Well, it’s fair to say things have changed quite a bit since we wrote that! If you worked in an office, you’re probably now working from home at least some of the time. That means a lot of our previous advice doesn’t apply at the moment, so we thought we’d revisit it and see how we can apply it to a world of home working. While COVID-19 is at the front of everyone’s minds, it’s important we still do what we can to support our fragile environment.

Winning hearts and minds

The first major tip was about how to change staff attitudes towards making greener choices at work. These things are now not really choices anymore – remote working and video conferencing are essential parts of work for many people now.

But just because people don’t have a choice, doesn’t mean you can’t get them excited about it. Introducing new technologies and approaches to a workplace can be a really great opportunity to try new things or do stuff differently. That meeting you’ve always had to travel to and resented? It doesn’t seem such a drag now you can arrive right on time and get back to other work as soon as the meeting is over.

The key question will be how these practices are carried over once offices start to reopen. When these conversations start to happen, it’s worth asking what lessons have been learned and how they continue to be applied. If it saves time, cuts costs and protects the planet, while still delivering your goals, why would your employer not want to keep it going?

Establish a Green team

We don’t know about you, but we miss seeing our colleagues! Changeworks has a fabulous Green team, and their initiatives in our offices were crucial in making staff change behaviours to cut our carbon footprint.

Not being in the office doesn’t mean that has to stop, or that it can’t start! Green team tips can be applied to home working just as easily. They can encourage staff to turn off devices, lights and heating when it isn’t required – just because it’s not in the office doesn’t mean it isn’t just as useful. In fact, employees can see the direct impact of those actions in their own electricity bills. Applying those behaviours when working at home can help make them second nature once they come back to an office setting.

Greener transport

We also talked about ways to make work travel more environmentally friendly. That included changing or cutting fleet cars, and looking at whether or not all travel is essential. Again, a lot of this has been forced upon us due to COVID-19. But where work travel is still required, there’s never been a better time to make use of active travel like walking and cycling.

That emphasis on active travel is also great for staff wellbeing too, mental and physical. Working from home can be isolating and draining, so staff should be encouraged to get out and about.

As offices start to reopen across the country, there will be opportunities to see if business fleet cars or travel in general is still required to be effective – building on what’s been learned from remote working.

Whether you’re back in the office or still at home for the foreseeable future, cutting the impact your work has on the environment is important. Small changes can make a big difference – and when it comes to working from home, you can see that impact in your own bank balance!

Changeworks can offer support to your business on achieving greater sustainability and cutting carbon. That includes behavioural training and advice for staff and management, tailored to your specific circumstances, to show you what improvements you can make to your sustainability and how to make them a success. Get in touch to see how we can make it happen. Zero Waste Scotland also offer free advice on carbon-cutting improvements, so direct your employer to their advice and support.