Green ultimatum: 1 in 5 workers may quit unless their office gets eco-friendly


NEW YORK — Is your office green enough for you? America’s workplaces are still “shamefully” eco-unfriendly — according to 58 percent of office workers who took part in a recent survey.

A lack of recycling waste bins, computers constantly running, and printers endlessly churning out paper are some of the top gripes among the 2,000 office workers polled. The survey also found 34 percent believe that the introduction of green initiatives in their workplace is an “afterthought,” while seven in 10 claim employees are left to take the lead themselves.

More than a third are disappointed their employers didn’t implement or improve eco-friendly practices during the past two years of the pandemic.

Do companies care about the environment?

The Tork Eco Office Research, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of hygiene and health company Essity, also reveals that 51 percent of adults became more eco-conscious while working from home. When they returned to the office, more than four in 10 say they became more aware than ever before of how green their office really is. Forty percent acknowledge their employers don’t even bother to go green – perhaps because of cost.

A further 37 percent aren’t sure their bosses know how to implement eco-friendly measures, while 45 percent say they don’t appear to care about the planet at all.

“We spend so much of our time in the workplace, so it’s a perfect place to set an example,” says an Essity spokesperson in a statement. “There has been a definite shift over the past 18 months in our general attitudes towards how to be environmentally friendly – people now seem to be taking the issue more seriously than ever before.”

“Working from home has led to people giving more thought to their own actions towards the future of the planet, and it seems many had assumed their employers would give the same attention to the workplace.”

Go green or I’ll quit!

A resounding 75 percent of adults want to see a more environmentally-friendly office — and an end to running taps, driving gas-powered company vehicles, using paper water cups, and electric hand dryers in the bathrooms.

Measures such as desk plants to improve air quality (19%), bringing in use of recycled products — from paper towels to printer paper (22%), and turning off all lights, electricity, and heating every evening (19%) would be well received by workers.

While one in five would like to see the use of eco-friendly cleaning products, one quarter would welcome green initiatives to get everyone involved, and 16 percent want to see employers encourage green commuting. In fact, adults are now taking their carbon footprint so seriously, one in five are considering leaving their job due to the lack of green practices in the workplace.

“There are small measures employers can take to be ‘greener’ without breaking the bank,” the Essity spokesperson continues. “Being eco-friendly can be a daunting task, particularly if you don’t know too much about how to improve things. But there are simple steps, such as improving recycling practices and reducing use of energy, which cost very little.”

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