You may have heard about greenhouses, green gas, and green land but have you heard about green behavior? or employee green behavior? Green behavior is a concept that encourages environmentally healthy practices and consumption that reduces environmental harm.
The concept of green behavior began in the 1960s with the awareness of the necessity to protect the environment. The green behavior approach was based on the theory that if individuals know and understand the environmental issues then change will occur which will ultimately improve the environment. From that time onward, green behavior has become a mainstream idea.
See also: What is green consumer behavior?
In the United States, individual measures of green behavior have been increasingly promoted in numerous sectors, including workplaces, and among employees.
What is employee green behavior?
Employee green behavior is a practice implemented by employees that aim at reducing negative impacts on the environment. Employee green behavior aims to conserve natural resources in order to improve environmental sustainability.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of businesses that have implemented these kinds of activities in their offices. The idea behind employee green behavior is that employees who practice such sustainable behaviors possess specific values regarding their performance and with those values, they perform better in the job.
Let’s look at some of the practices that encourage green behavior among employees.
5 Employee green behavior practices
1. Using less paper
There are hardly any offices that do not use paper except you work in a more practical environment like construction. However, you still have to deal with paper invoices right? It is really hard to avoid the use of paper and pens in any work environment.
Papers are made from trees. Cellulose fibers are extracted from felled trees to make pulp which is then processed to create paper. When trees are felled for this purpose, it leads to deforestation. The impacts of deforestation on the environment include flooding, erosion, greenhouse gas emission, and climate change.
With the advent of computers and cloud technology, the era of using hard copy paper material is gradually fading away. Limiting the use of paper is one of the best ways to save our environment from deforestation and its impacts.
Making use of electronic documents can help to limit the use of paper in workplaces. Sending e-cards instead of paper cards to colleagues on special days, using e-presentation software like power-point, and sharing printed documents with coworkers are some of the best ways to reduce paper use.
2. Reducing energy consumption:
Energy consumption is the amount of energy that is used by humans, animals, and machines in a given period of time. According to the United States Department of energy, energy consumption by individuals and businesses reached a record high of about 101 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2018.
Energy consumption is a factor in greenhouse gas emissions which is increasing our global warming temperature. The use of fuel combustion to produce electricity causes air pollution and increases the global warming effect. Reducing energy consumption is one great way to reduce these negative impacts.
To reduce energy consumption in the workplace, employees can adopt energy-saving practices. This includes using energy-saving bulbs in the office, switching off gadgets when not in use, and using multiple power adaptors instead of one.
Using the stairs instead of the elevator is also a great way to limit energy consumption. Plus you get to work those thigh muscles and keep your heart pumping. It is a win-win situation.
3. Using Reusable and recyclable products:
You know how you buy a jar of ketchup and after it is finished, you use the empty jar in making pickles? That’s one sustainable practice that is highly encouraged. Recycling is the process of collecting, processing, and converting unwanted products into usable products.
Reusing on the other hand is the process of using a product for a different use than it was created for. While recycling turns unwanted materials into raw materials, reusing means using the material for another purpose without converting it into raw material.
Recycling improves our economy by reducing the use of raw materials for production. Also, the cost of producing from raw materials is also reduced when recycling is involved, allowing for more profitable use of resources.
In offices, employees can improve their green behavior by using eco-friendly office supplies. These could be ink refillable pens, old furniture, and buying office supplies made from recycled products. Making use of reusable lunch plates and water bottles is also another way to practice employee green behavior.
It is also important to note that reusing and recycling help to reduce waste thereby reducing land, water, and air pollution.
4. Encouraging practices that reduce carbon emission:
Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxide are some of the most harmful gases to the environment. Among the gases mentioned above, carbon dioxide is the most abundant and dangerous of the greenhouse gases. Sources of carbon emissions include the use of combust engine vehicles, the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, and a host of others.
Reducing carbon emissions is the process of taking steps to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emission. Reducing carbon emissions by employees can help to protect the environment and reduce the impact of global warming.
A good way to reduce carbon emissions is by limiting how many combustion engines are on the road. Walking or cycling to work is a good start and if you live really far from your workplace, taking public transport or carpooling with colleagues is a great way to practice employee green behavior.
If you have the buck for it, using electric vehicles like Tesla will go a long way in reducing carbon emissions; one step at a time.
5. Engaging in sustainable waste practices
Waste is any object that is not needed and can be disposed of. Homes, industries, hospitals and farms all generate wastes that can pollute the air and water which affects the environment negatively if handled improperly.
Disposing of waste in an environmentally friendly manner will reduce the negative impact on our environment. There are different types of waste that we produce in our day-to-day activities at home and in offices. For example, organic wastes like decomposing leaves are recycled to improve soil fertility while solid wastes like plastic bottles are landfilled or burned.
In the office, most of the waste produced can be reused and/or recycled. This includes papers, office furniture, office appliances, and organic materials from food. To enable environmentally friendly waste disposal, employees can separate waste bins. Having separate bins for plastic, organic material and paper can help reduce climate change by limiting how much energy goes into waste processing.
Having looked at the ways green employee behavior can be improved among employees, let us look at how these practices can help improve the work efficiency of employees.
Impacts of green behavior on employees
1. Improved self-esteem
A sense of being able to perform and achieve something gives people a feeling of self-worth. Knowing that they are contributing to making the world better has a big impact on employees’ self-esteem. This improves their work efficiency.
2. Enhanced work satisfaction is a factor of employee green behavior
Employee green behavior enhances work satisfaction. Having to work in an eco-friendly environment gives employees that feeling of satisfaction. This has to be in combination with good pay of course.
3. Improved physical productivity
Due to the physical activities and environmentally positive effects of green practices on human health, Green behavior improves employees’ physical health. A healthier body is more likely to be productive than an unhealthy body.
4. Better emotional and professional wellbeing
Green behavior improves the emotional and professional well-being of employees. Most employees who practice green behavior in the office are likely to practice it in other places like their homes. This can improve how they feel which can have a positive impact on their professional life.
Now that you know some of the employee green behaviors and their impacts on employees, I hope you are willing to join the moving train. Whether you work for yourself, for a small company, or a big corporation, these practices are worth giving a try.
Begin today and employee by employee, we can make that change that will make our world a better place.