Fun Friday: Can a 'green building' bring people back to the workplace?

Forget free breakfasts, eco-friendly incentives might be the future

Fun Friday: Can a 'green building' bring people back to the workplace?

Instead of offering workplace perks, maybe it’s time for employers to go green in order to bring remote workers back to offices.

This is according to University of South Australia human resources expert Subha Parida, after their research suggested green workplaces also offer non-green benefits.

"Our research suggests green human resource management (HRM) that fosters eco-friendly or 'green' behaviours can lead to non-green workplace benefits, such as higher job satisfaction, stronger employee engagement, and increased productivity," Parida said in a media release.

"Green buildings are certified to reduce the negative impact on the environment. By extending green policies beyond the building, we've found that workers will not only have a durable, liveable, and accessible workplace but a safe and healthy one as well."

According to Parida, occupants in green buildings also reported higher cognitive function scores, less sickness, as well as higher sleep quality scores that workers in non-green establishments.

"With organisations struggling to get workers back into offices after working from home for so long, in what some are now calling 'The Great Resistance,' offering a green workplace could be the incentive workers need to go back to the city," she said.

"Organisations need to go beyond the trivial 'perks' like a free breakfast or ice cream to find a meaningful incentive that benefits everyone."

Read more: Fun Friday: Workers are hungry for this powerful perk

But how could employers nurture a "green" workplace?

Parida said lack of knowledge and lack of support from leaders can slow down a green building's performance.

"This is where green HRM comes in. It goes beyond simply reading the building instruction manual, by introducing policies that build greater awareness and practices in line with the needs of green buildings," she explained.

"Green HRM practices create a green corporate culture that motivates employees to be sustainable. While environmental sustainability is critical as we strive to reduce carbon emissions globally, employers who go green also create an attractive space that improves employees' health and wellbeing."

With this, employees might be more inclined to stay longer, feel more productive, and be healthier because of it, she said.

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