Earth Day made its debut in 1970 when Americans decided it was time to take action and bring light to their growing concerns about climate change. Since then, generations of concerned people have demanded social and policy changes all year long to protect the green spaces we love.
As the workforce has transformed and gotten younger, concerned employees have also demanded changes in their workplace. In fact, a recent survey indicated that 71% of Gen Z employees would refuse to work for a company they felt was not doing enough to deal with climate change—and their leaders agree that climate change is serious. Another survey by Deloitte indicates that 89% of executives agree there is a global climate emergency.
One way to help the earth is by promoting a remote and hybrid workplace. Check out our complete guide to hybrid work strategy to get started. 🌳
So what does this mean for the modern workplace? In an already competitive hiring landscape, employers must consider the benefits of implementing sustainable practices into their workplace culture and the costs associated with losing employees who are motivated to do more.
In recognition of Earth Day 2022, there are many steps you can take to share in your employees’ concern and commitment to battling climate change. Although changes in company culture can’t happen overnight, there are tangible things you can do now to show your employees that you care, and are willing to do whatever it takes to move the needle on sustainability in the workplace.
To keep the celebrations going, see the list of best workplace holidays by month with guides to help you plan in advance in our recommended calendar.
How to celebrate Earth Day at work
1. Volunteer as a team 🙌
Volunteering as a team is beneficial for employee engagement and morale, motivation and productivity, and so much more—and there are many things you and your team can do together to build a more sustainable community.
Plant trees together in partnership with an organization like the Arbor Day Foundation. This is a great choice for hybrid and remote teams because employees will feel more connected while also boosting employee awareness and activism around global reforestation efforts.
Host a community cleanup along busy roadways, in community parks, or along riverbanks or creekbeds where trash tends to accumulate.
Grow a community garden. You can work with your team to build a garden of your own or help tend to one that already exists where you live.
2. Introduce composting to your office space ♻️
Another great opportunity to help support sustainability is by hosting a composting class for your team and, if you work in an office, introducing the practice there. Composting is a natural way to provide nutrients to the soil and also reduces methane gas and the volume of waste in landfills.
Composting classes will train your employees on topics such as the importance of composting, acceptable and unacceptable materials for composting, and proper compost collection including the use of compostable bags.
3. Offer remote work 🚗
It’s no surprise that remote work is growing in popularity—and that’s happening for more reasons than one. In addition to the flexibility and improved work-life balance that remote work offers your employees, it also helps reduce the number of harmful emissions released into the air and excess fossil fuel use caused by long, daily commutes. The commute to work accounts for more than 98% of an employee’s work-related carbon footprint—so just imagine the impact you could make by allowing your employees to work remotely even part of the time!
4. Encourage greener internet practices 👩💻
Even small changes in your work habits can make a difference. Did you know that an average Google search uses as much energy as illuminating a 60-watt lightbulb for 17 seconds?!
While the energy required for one search may not seem like much, when you consider that Google processes about 63,000 searches every second, or about 5.2 billion each day, that translates to a lot of energy used. Consider talking to your team about using environmentally friendly search engines (yes, they exist!) like Ecosia or OceanHero.
5. Partner with vendors that have sustainable business practices 💚
Have you ever inquired about your business partners’ sustainability practices?
Oftentimes, when people inquire about Bonusly, it’s because they want to improve employee engagement, embrace peer-to-peer employee recognition, and streamline manual rewards and program administration. That’s what we do, after all!
The thing is, sustainable solutions can come as a surprise. Bonusly’s platform supports high-level business goals and related outcomes, like employee morale, while also diverting plastic waste from landfills. Since the global Bonusly Reward Catalog provides digital gift cards, not physical ones, companies can readily offer digital rewards and donation and cash-out options alongside creative company swag items produced on-demand instead of in bulk.
For Natalie Breece, Senior Vice President of People at thredUP, an online consignment and thrift store, every vendor relationship presents an opportunity for environmental savings:
As a mission-driven company, thredUP looks for vendors that help us in our goals of doing good for the planet and our people. Bonusly is a great tool that has contributed positively to thredUP’s company culture, especially in our distribution centers.
Next time you evaluate vendors for your business or renew contracts with your current software and service providers, ask about their green practices. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you learn!
Planting the seeds of sustainability 🌱
While a shift in culture can’t happen overnight, these are just a few easy steps you can take to begin building a more sustainable workplace. Whether you’re with a large company or on a small team, everyone can do something to make an impact on the effects of climate change.
Do you have any other ideas for implementing sustainable practices at work? Share them with us! And while we have you, check out this latest and greatest resource below.