Sustainable house

Employees want sustainable workplaces, but it’s up to management

Australian employees are showing a keen interest in making their workplaces sustainable, but want senior managers to drive the shift to sustainability, a survey has found.

The ‘Sustainability in the Workplace’ survey of 1043 people was commissioned to help businesses to gain an understanding of workplace attitudes to sustainability and how to promote positive behavioural change.

It found that the majority of employees felt they engaged in more positive sustainable activities at home, than at work.

“While 77.1 percent of those surveyed believed their environmental performance was ‘good’ or ‘very good’, just 57.5 percent believed their results at work were similar,” Sustainability at Work director Tania Crosbie said.

According to Crosbie, whilst people feel they made more sustainable choices at home than at work, this didn’t mean they felt behavioural change should start with them.

“Of those surveyed, 54 percent wanted better systems and 53 percent wanted stronger commitment from management to sustainability. Visual reminders, rewards and recognition also ranked highly,” she said.

Only one-third of people expressed confidence that their company had a sustainability policy, whilst 12 percent said their employer had a sustainability induction program and reporting.

Productivity suffers

The survey revealed that over 75% of respondents said they felt their workplace productivity was being undermined by the workplace itself, with many feeling their workspace contributes to headaches, fatigue and eyestrain.

According to Fellow Director of Sustainability at Work Melissa Houghton, poor indoor environment quality in buildings – which leads to health problems – is often connected with poor environmental performance of the buildings themselves.

“Health and well-being of staff plays an important role in workplace productivity – which in turn affects the long-term sustainability of an organisation. Even minor complaints can have a damaging affect on performance and workplace morale,” she said.

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