Happy Earth Day! While the buzz of “going green” has seemed to fade a bit in recent years, the reasons to celebrate Earth Day and have an earth-friendly business are more important than ever. Earth Day is the perfect time to review your small business’s operating plan with an environmentally-conscious eye and see where you may be able to make changes that will not only help your business’s bottom line, but help the environment, too. Here are a few areas to consider.
4 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in Your Small Business
Become More Energy-Efficient
Making your commercial office, home office, or retail shop more energy-efficient isn’t as difficult as it may seem. It may only require small tweaks to things you are already doing. Some possibilities include changing out regular light bulbs with their energy-efficient counterparts, using power-saving settings on office computers, and upgrading to a programmable thermostat. For more ideas and a checklist to help you execute efficiency in your business, download the ENERGY STAR® Action Workbook for Small Business.
Going paperless, or even moving to a more “paper-reduced” business, comes with significant environmental benefits while saving money for your business. With the technology we have today, such as the cloud, going paperless is no longer unachievable. In fact, you probably already have a good deal of the technology needed for a paperless office in place. With some changes—like moving all contracts and invoicing to a secure online platforms—you can slowly move your business closer to a paperless state.
Telecommuting is good for the environment, saves your employees money, and reduces overhead expenses in your business—not to mention productivity has been proven to soar when employees work remotely. You can start on a small scale by allowing a few employees to work from home a few days a month to see how it goes. If it works in your business, you can create a telecommuting policy that allows your employees to work remotely on a part-time basis. Offering this type of benefit can even help you attract and retain talent in your business.
Set the Expectations for Your Team
Going green only works with consistent effort from everyone on your team, so you need to get your entire staff on board. Set office-wide rules for recycling, conserving energy by shutting off lights, and guidelines for purchasing supplies and working with vendors. You may also want to give your employees a chance to weigh in and offer their own suggestions for creating an earth-friendly office. You can even consider offering an incentive for the best green idea for the office or an award to one employee a month who goes above and beyond in improving the eco-consciousness of your business.
Your business—and the environment—will get the most benefit when you focus on implementing these ideas all year long, so celebrate Earth Day and use it as a catalyst for creating your “go green” plan. Start rolling out environmentally-friendly changes in your business this year!