Our intern Emily shares some of her tips for making work life more sustainable.

We affect our environment (both in and out of the workplace) as much as it affects us. Therefore, our choices are not just personal, they’re collective, and we’re all impacted by the choices of people, businesses/ corporations, and governments. We all play an active role in building the future — in fact, every day we are faced with micro decisions that directly impact our environment for better or for worse. No, sustainability is not trendy; it is the capstone in building the future for the next generation.

Whether you’re a team of one or part of a larger organization, there are countless ways to foster a sustainable workplace. Here are just a few:

  • Focus on social wellness
    Social wellness plays a big role in leading a sustainable workplace — offering an inclusive and diverse work environment is everybody’s business but we often don’t think of it in terms of sustainability. This can look like: walking meetings, prescriptive breaks, sharing preferred pronouns in meeting introductions or safe space stickers.

  • Provide healthy food for employees
    When it comes to providing meals for employees, whether it’s for a meeting or at your company cafeteria, it’s important to research where the food is sourced from and ensure its quality. Healthy eating not will not only make people more productive at work but will also help prevent lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease. Investing in healthy food options for your employees is also investing in their productivity and quality of work. 

  • Choose fairtrade
    The working world is fuelled by caffeine, whether it be coffee or tea. Choose fair or direct trade beans or leaves. 

  • Create a bicycle-friendly space
    It is becoming more common to show up to work in your bike gear — in some cities, it’s strange if you don’t show up with a bike helmet in your hand! Providing a shower and a comfortable place for your staff to change into their work attire is a great way to encourage employees to bike to work and cut down emissions. Fun fact: we have a shower at Roundhouse so our members can take the greener route to work! 

  • Go green with your office lighting
    A lot of power is required to run an office. Invest in smart outlets that can be set on timers and turned off when not in use. It’s also a good idea to invest in LED lights to light your office. Energy efficient light bulbs will bring your energy bills down in the long run.

  • Hold virtual meetings when possible
    If you have to meet with a client or colleague out of office, hold the meeting virtually. This will save time in your day, as well as prevent you from having to spend money on gas/create more carbon emissions. 

  • Conserve water
    Low flow toilets, onsite dishwashers, providing chilled water jugs and encouraging staff to not leave taps running are just a few of the ways you can improve your office’s water efficiency. 

Being sustainable isn’t a trend, it’s a choice. By breaking some old habits and making new ones, it’s possible for you and your team to significantly impact the environments around us.

Healthy environments foster healthy people, which fosters healthy communities!

- Emily Armstrong
Arts & Cultural Management Intern