Creating a Strong and Sustainable Workforce
The definition of sustainability is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level, which is also closely associated with environmental efforts. There are three pillars of sustainability that represent what sustainability embodies: economy/profit, society/people, environment/planet. According to John Elkington, businesses should not be thinking about a bottom line, but rather the bottom three lines.
With that, sustainability is not just about now, but about the future. The idea of sustainable development brings forth the idea of maintaining needs for the current climate without compromising future climates and societies to come. So, what does this mean for the workforce?
Quick question: if your building were to burn down tomorrow, how would your business handle the unexpected change and tragedy once the dust settled? Stress would ensue, but take a moment to understand where the stress would stem from. With COVID-19, the case is similar. The whole workforce was forced to work from home, forcing businesses to adapt to conducting business away from the office. How did your business fare?
For example, as Imperial shifted its workforce remotely, the staff did not skip a beat because of its previous efforts to move documents and processes digitally. Despite the change in working environment, we have been able to run the business as usual since going remote on March 13, 2020.
There are steps companies can take to create a more sustainable workplace in terms of the environment, but what this also creates is a sustainable workforce as it pertains to the economic climate. The business can withstand any changes that come its way. Many of the actions needed to create an economically sustainable workplace are those needed to aid in helping the environment. A true win-win situation. In doing your part for the environment, you are setting your company up for success should the business need to be conducted elsewhere.
A Sustainable Workforce and Workplace
Numerous sustainable actions can create a strong workforce that can endure any crisis, such as a building fire or pandemic. Here are the top five ways to create a sustainable workforce that positively impact both the business and the environment:
- Move all documents to a cloud or intranet for access in and out of the office.
- After shredding documents, recycle the scraps.
- Shift onboarding to a digital process.
- Make a training manual a PDF.
- Invest and take care of laptops and other digital devices
Fun Fact: American companies alone use enough Paper to encircle the Earth 3x – makes the shift to paperless all the better!
A sustainable workforce, be it environmental, economic, or both, is something to achieve before the pandemic happens before the building burns down. In this case, COVID-19 took people home, therefore, the business was able to make do with the circumstances.