Sunday, June 26, 2011

values and vision: creating happiness at work

Blue sky thinking
We've written about happiness at work a few times: when we wrote about flexible working increases employee satisfaction and about counting the right thingssuch as employee satisfaction. It is a subject dear to our hearts as we are convinced from the countless studies and personal observation, that employees who are satisfied with their work are better contributors and colleagues at work and that they are happier in general.

We are also quite excited about how thinking sustainably helps both the environment and ultimately the bottom line of business. What can we say, we like things that have dual benefits! It seems to make sense to us.

So, we were quite pleased to read a recent study by Cassandra Walsh and Adam Sulkowski published in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review. Using regression analysis and other statistical methods, they found in their survey of 113 companies, that, "there is a significant positive relationship between perceived environmental performance and employee satisfaction." Or, in more concrete terms: "having a reputation for being a relatively more environmentally-friendly company can result in having happier employees." This is great news of course!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Whoever is the last to leave, don't forget to turn the computers off!

Just a quick follow on from last week's post about green buildings and work cultures. This is a finding from a staff habits survey at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Scotland on Sunday, they found that of the agency's 1,700 computers, 400 were regularly being left on at night and of those only 100 were deemed necessary to do so. So, at least 300 computers were being left on when they didn't need to be. Of course, many people are aghast that the agency meant to protect the environment was wasting so much energy. I think though it shows how hard it is to change work cultures and how easily we slip into habits. Sometimes, it is as simple as people not realizing it is their responsibility, sometimes it is about scheduling whereby someone leaves their computer on thinking they will be back in the office before the end of the day but isn't, and sometimes it is simply a habit. SEPA discovered these habits through a staff survey and have now taken measures to turn their computers off at night. Seems like a good idea to me!

J2 Research can help you do a similar investigation in your business. Are your employees turning off their computers when they leave?

back to J2 Research

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Green buildings and work cultures

We have been thinking this past week about green buildings and work cultures. As we mentioned last week, green buildings are an important part of being a green company and should be a focus for any green minded business. While we both love the creativity and cleverness of the engineering and architectural solutions of green buildings, it occurs to us that the humans who use those buildings are often left out of the picture.  Indeed, even the United Nations Environmental Programme in their report, "Buildings: Investing in energy and resource efficiency"  note that "when considering the environmental credentials of buildings, the true measure of their performance only becomes evident with occupation, given the impact of factors such as behaviour (cultural habits, environmental expectations and life-style), climatic changes and particularities of the control of technical systems in buildings" (p.339). Although clearly the human side is important to measure, the UNEP points out that most do not.

So, since most people are not thinking about this, we will. In particular, we want to focus our thinking on green office buildings and work behaviours and cultures. Here is a list of some of the issues we think are important to consider: