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How to Tap into Sustainability to Motivate Your Employees

Today’s leading companies — particularly those here in the Portland area — are tapping into green and environmentally-friendly practices to help motivate and engage employees. Your company can do the same!

Keep reading to learn how sustainability initiatives can boost employee engagement and the steps your business can take to reap these benefits.


The case for going green in your Oregon workplace

Beyond the important environmental benefits of going green, implementing sustainability tactics will help you encourage a stronger, happier workforce. Just consider the following statistics:

  • 51% of employees won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong environmental commitments.
  • Among Generation Y employees, 96% are concerned about the environment and expect their employers to take steps towards becoming more sustainable.
  • 25% of employees say they will look for a new job if they discover their employer doesn’t handle environmental issues well.

At a time when finding and retaining great employees can be difficult, creating a workplace where employee engagement and satisfaction is high is essential for maintaining an effective team.


Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement and satisfaction refer to the extent to which your employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to your company, and take their responsibilities seriously.

Employee engagement is a major focus for companies — from large corporations to small mom-and-pop businesses. That’s because studies consistently show that the more engaged and satisfied your employees are, the more motivated they are help your business succeed.

Knowing that sustainability is very important for today’s employees, it’s no wonder more and more companies are adopting environmentally-friendly practices as an employee engagement and satisfaction strategy.


How to make your company more environmentally-friendly

The best way to implement a work culture focused on sustainability (and at the same time tap into this employee engagement goldmine) is to start with efforts that directly involve and affect your entire staff.

While your approach should be catered to the unique personality and culture of your company, below are 4 widely-used and well-received tactics to try.


1. Create a green team

Invite employees to develop a green team.

What exactly does this team do? The goal of this group is to build internal awareness of your efforts, educate employees on important environmental issues, and provide opportunities for employees to brainstorm and give their sustainability ideas.

This is a great way to gain a better understanding of what sustainability measures are most important to your staff. From there, you’ll be better equipped to develop an approach that fits the needs of your workers.

What’s more, a green team is also a great way to get your entire staff on board with your environmental initiatives.


2. Implement a company recycling program

Not only is a recycling program something many employees want and appreciate, it may also be required. Some metro areas and counties in and around Portland require businesses to meet certain recycling requirements.

You can find recycling requirements for the Portland metro area here. Washington County’s recycling requirements are similar and can be found here. Look at your county’s requirements closely, but most areas expect businesses to…

  1. Give employees the ability to recycle
  2. Recycle paper and containers (metal cans, plastic bottles and tubs, and glass bottles and jars)
  3. Sort and separate recyclables correctly (glass is almost always collected separately)
  4. Set out materials for recycling collection

Above all, make it easy for your employees by keeping recycle receptacles easily accessible. You may even want to place posters above bin showing what should go in each one and what shouldn’t.

While setting out bins seems easy enough, the logistics can be a little tricky. If you need some assistance managing the program, you may be interested in our recycling services. We not only manage your recycling, but make sure the program is working efficiently and that your business is in compliance with local regulations.

How to Encourage Recycling at Work

Need some assistance getting your recycling program off the ground? Check out our guide on how to set up a system that works.

Or call us at (503) 691-0776 to learn how we can help manage your recycling program

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3. Provide employee commuter benefits

Portland has repeatedly been named one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US. Not to mention our great public transportation system. With this in mind, encouraging employees to take advantage of these green transportation methods makes a lot of sense and will be well received.

There are a number of things you can do to encourage employees to use a more sustainable form of transportation during their commutes. Some favorite initiatives include:

  • Providing TriMet passes or reimbursing a percentage of the fee
  • Offering a reimbursement for qualified bicycle commuters
  • Coordinating a rideshare program
  • Providing ample and secure bicycle parking and bicycle repair services

Keep in mind you can also subsidize some or all of the costs of employee transit passes as a business expense. As of 2018, the allowable limit $225 per month, per employee. Learn more.


4. Maintain a clean & environmentally-friendly office

You have a legal responsibility to provide a safe work environment for your employees. But many local employers expand this requirement to include providing a space that encourages a healthier, more productive team. That starts with maintaining a clean office space.

Did you know that a desk is statistically dirtier than the office toilet? Or that most water cooler nozzles never get cleaned? Gross! A clean office improves health, keeps employees focused, reduces stress, and prevents accidents.

However, it’s not enough to simply schedule a cleaner once a week. You also need to make sure your cleaning company is using environmentally friendly cleaning methods and products. That’s because the chemicals found in most cleaning products aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re dangerous for your employees health too.

Consider this list of chemicals below — all which are commonly found in traditional cleaning products:

  • Perchloroethylene — May cause cancer and harm your brain, liver, and kidneys, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Naphthalene — May cause cancer and is considered very harmful to the central nervous system.
  • Ammonium Hydroxide — A corrosive chemical that irritates the lungs, skin, and eyes

Keep your employees safe and encourage a more environmentally-friendly space by only using a cleaning company that uses sustainable products and cleaning methods.

But don’t let these efforts go unnoticed! Make sure to let your employees know that you care about their health and wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of the environment.


It’s easy being green with Cascade Building Services

For over 50 years, we’ve delivered top-quality, environmentally-friendly cleaning services to Portland area businesses. Eco-friendliness and sustainability are important to us. So is the health of our clients and their employees. That’s why we only use products that:

  • Deliver exceptional results
  • Ensure a sustainable workplace
  • Are free from harmful odors and toxins
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Help us provide a clean and safe work environment

Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.


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