The responsibility of organisations has become broader and more far reaching. Considerations of sustainable growth of a business will impact and inform decision making. Issues of environmental sustainability are also a main factor to consider – things like paperless offices, considerations of energy resources in the workplace, the need for sustainable travel and thinking twice now whether a meeting actually needs to take place in person or whether everything can be dealt with virtually.
Tip 1 – The sustainability of an organisation is not just down to good financial planning
Organisations can make a positive impact on underserved neighbourhoods and the people who live there by providing jobs and assisting with local projects. They can help with environmental issues such as recycling, community activity, regeneration and ensuring they are purchasing from sustainable sources and reducing the overall carbon footprint of the business. Even utilising technology to carry out meetings worldwide instead of travelling and sending documents via email instead of printing and posting them.
When we are looking at the human aspect of any organisation, the sustainability of your workforce is important. Pushing people to constantly be available simply is not regarded as good practice and can cause burn out. The impact of Covid-19, lockdowns and remote working has brought the issue of mental health and well-being of employees to the forefront.
We are now more aware that by:
- investing in the wellbeing of your employees
- using wellbeing strategies
- occupational health
- offering counselling services
this will ultimately create better and more sustainable workplaces and a healthier workplace culture.
Tip 2 – Hybrid working
Within our organisation and with our clients, we are championing hybrid working.
Not only does this give a degree of flexibility to employees, but it also reduces the organisation’s carbon footprint by reducing travel to and from work. It also helps to reduce commuter travel and congested journeys to and from work during peak rush hour times.
With the introduction of more and more people working from home, and the reduction of traffic as a result of less people commuting, it does mean that there aren’t as many people concentrated in small areas at the same time. Clean air is an important topic at the moment, and the reduction in traffic is having a positive impact on this.
As well as this, we’re pushing the use of technology to conduct meetings instead of travelling. There are so many positives associated with this way of working – not just the environmental impact, but also the impact on the employees. Less travelling means they have more time to complete their work during working hours and outside of working hours there’s a better work-life balance.
Tip 3 – Values and goals
When looking at the sustainability agenda in an organisation, you need to look at what the organisational values and goals.
Are they congruent?
If the organisational goals and values are conflicting, then this will have a negative impact on your ability to achieve this status. In order to get congruency the organisation will need the Senior Management Team and Directors of the organisation on board and will need good buy-in and engagement from all the employees.
Running focus groups to find out what everyone thinks is important is a really good place to start.
Customers / clients are now looking at businesses and expecting them to be able to provide a sustainable service. If you can’t offer that, they will more than likely go elsewhere. In 2021 the profitability vs sustainability perspective is outdated. We all have an individual responsibility to live in a more sustainable manner, and businesses are now expected to live up to their corporate responsibility to trade in a sustainable manner.
Tip 4 – Utilise technology
Video calling technology has been a fantastic resource over the last 20 months and will continue to make doing business much more efficient and effective going forward.
The use of cloud based HR software can revolutionise the way that an organisation of any size manages its HR function, by making the resources and documentation accessible to everyone very easily, but with tight authority controls that are fully GDPR compliant. It also means that the entire HR process can be seamless and paperless from end to end. These systems are continuing to improve over the years and the value they add to a company is huge. Holiday requests, return to work interviews, performance reviews, and even read receipts for policies can be carried out through these systems. No more paper files means that steps in a process happen at a the click of a button, rather than the historical passing of several pieces of paper for several signatures awaiting approval.
As well as HR software you can also use accounting software to improve your business processes (like xero or Quickbooks). These systems even have receipt scanning functionality for you to run your expenses through, which means fewer paper based transactions and increased time efficiency.
We are big advocates of electronic signing of documentation and use a variety of e-signature software that is available at minimal cost, making sure that contracts are legally binding and creating copies at the click of a button. All of this helpful technology creates efficiencies for organisations, saving time and money for the people running them.
Tip 5 – Get involved
Talking about being greener as a business and putting forward ideas is great. But unless we all actually get involved in doing something, then nothing will change.
Why not look at allowing staff time off to volunteer for organisations who are trying to improve the environment? Beach clean-ups, litter picking groups, community allotments, wildlife education programmes, and many more groups are all having a positive impact on the planet as a whole. By allowing your employees to take some time off to help out with community projects like these, it shows that you’re not just talking about doing things; you’re actually making a difference.
Here are just a few of the ways that we can help your business be more sustainable:
- on-line HR management systems
- Hybrid and Remote Working Policies
- Change management
Why not drop us an email on email@example.com or call us on 03300414589