Small steps to make your office space greener

The founder of an HR firm in Chennai describes how she motivates her team to adopt environment-friendly lifestyles and take concrete steps to reduce waste generated at the workplace.

There is a conscious effort by many Chennaites to go green. One sees an increasing trend of people trying to move to a zero-waste lifestyle by eliminating plastic from their lives, segregating and composting waste religiously and likewise. 

But how easy is it to follow the same steps in an office space, especially when it involves motivating all employees to switch to eco-friendly lifestyles? When your mind is constantly keeping tabs on your employees’ efficiency, the profit-loss margin and the end goals? Going green at work seemed like an impossible task, until we set up a new office for Skylark, an HR company now in KK Nagar. I was certain that it was either now or never. 

That’s how Skylark’s journey towards an eco-friendly office space started.

I believe my existence has a purpose.

I will pursue my purpose, spreading goodness in tune with nature

From who I will learn and grow

I promise to be the change.

This pledge of Skylark is what I insist that my employees take. Every small, baby step to expand the organisation is taken only after doing good by nature. 

Skylark family eats together. Pic: Balaji V T

Flowering plants on the terrace garden are a treat for the eyes. Pic: Balaji V T

Food waste is a crime

We try to inculcate ‘green values’ among our 23 employees, as much as we believe in taking them out on a trip. As part of it, here is the rule: The Skylark family eats together. That is a great way to create a bond among employees. Also, it ensures that no food is wasted. It is either shared among the employees or stored in the fridge for anyone to eat later. 

We maintain separate bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Food waste is composted and used it for our terrace gardens.  The sight of the flowering plants and the vegetables (we have lemon, bitter gourd and tomotoes to name a few) on our terrace is a real stress buster. And anyone in the office can take the veggies home. All they have to do is share the food cooked with the veggies from the terrace garden. 

Even before the Tamil Nadu government banned plastic in January 2019, we at Skylark stopped using it. And when we go out on a trek or to the beach, it is a mandatory, yet fun activity to pick up the plastic covers littered by the tourists. 

Vehicle pooling is another important concept. Those who stay in the same neighbourhood share the same vehicle, rather than contributing to the city’s traffic and air pollution. 

Motivating employees

Motivating employees to follow a green path in an organisation is a challenge, especially when there are new joinees. So we make it a point to have back-to-back awareness sessions on waste management, sustainable menstruation and conservation of water. 

A menstrual cup user for two years, I strongly propagate the idea among newbies. It is a challenge to root the idea because it is their personal choice and there are a lot of myths to bust. Despite the odds, a lot of women employees have switched to menstrual cups at Skylark. I make it a point to stock a few cups and gift it to the employees and friends when the time is right (that is when I am done convincing them).

It is easy to think that we are being hard on our employees, but then again, our vision statement makes them understand the importance of staying in tune with nature.

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