Tips for a healthy and sustainable workplace
Every business strives to create a “healthy workplace” but exactly what that looks like can often be harder to map out and execute.
CCIWA Member let’s go nature’al has outlined a few simple steps that you can take – from recycling to food choices and fitness – to create a healthy and sustainable workplace.
Choose sustainable materials
When it comes to sustainability in the workplace, there are many easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Choosing sustainable and recycled materials is one area where you can make a difference, with 99 percent of products bought today destined for the trash within six months.
The production of sustainable or recycled materials requires less energy, fewer natural resources, and less water than materials made from artificial chemicals -- making an impact to our ecosystem.
With our landfills filling up at an ever-increasing rate, consider fixing something that is broken rather than throwing it away.
“Instead of buying more, what we should be doing is reducing the amount of stuff we think we need, purchasing new items with intention, repairing the things that we already have when they break, so that we can reuse the stuff we have for as long as possible,” says let’s go nature’al co-founder Ali Sagarwala.
Upcycle and recycle goods
Taking steps towards sustainability can easily be done with a few simple swaps. For example, did you know that more than half a trillion single-use plastic bottles are sold annually all around the world? Yet an estimated 1500 plastic bottles end up as waste in landfills or are thrown in the ocean every second.
By switching to a reusable bottle, the average person could save about 156 plastic bottles from entering landfill every year. Whether your business is large or small, there are a few easy ways to reduce your impact on the environment:
- replace disposable products such as straws, plastic cutlery, paper towels and plastic bags with alternatives made from sustainable materials; and
- Consider bamboo straws, stainless steel forks, knives and spoons, cloth napkins and reusable cloth bags.
Make healthy food choices
Sustainability extends to living a lifestyle that promotes healthy food choices and personal wellbeing.
“So in a way, sustainability and health go hand in hand,” says Sagarwala.
Ensure you have enough fruit and vegetables in your diet, eat seasonally, support local small-scale farmers, and buy in bulk to reduce waste and form healthier habits.
“Researchers recently discovered a lesser-known part of our body’s nervous system in our guts,” says Sagarwala. “The research said this system communicates with the central nervous system in our brains and can actually affect your mental state.”
Making healthy food choices is essential to your overall mood and that, combined with physical activity, can also help improve your cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, lessen anxiety and increase your energy levels.
Find ways to stay active
With nearly 40 per cent of our waking hours and more than a quarter of our lives spent at work, it’s important to find ways to stay active while on the job.
You might be surprised to find out that, these days, more than 80 per cent of contemporary jobs are either completely sedentary or involve very little physical activity at all.
For most of us, that means a day spent sitting, which can be bad for your health.
Some studies show that people who sit all day are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a shorter lifespan.
“This is exactly why we should place great importance on developing healthy habits in the workplace,” says Sagarwala.
Keep up your fitness
There are a few ways you can increase movement while at work.
- Walk or cycle to work.
- If you take public transport or drive, get off a few stops early or park a little farther away than usual to make sure you get some steps in each day.
- Swap out an office chair for an exercise ball to help strengthen your core and improve posture.
- Take phone calls standing up and pace while you talk.
- Avoid elevators; take the stairs to burn a few calories and get your heart rate up.
Moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can do it by taking small steps towards your goals.
“You don’t have to make radical changes,” says Sagarwala. “Rather, take the initiative to make decisions with intention and with sustainability in mind. If you can do that, we’ll all be in for a better future.”
Want help to develop your Work, Health and Safety strategy?
CCIWA has approximately 75 modules available via eLearning for Teams.
We can also create custom eLearning modules for your business, with competitive pricing as well as Member discounts.
For support and advice on running your business contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email email@example.com.