Environmentally friendly offices could be next big trend

On the Job


April 25, 2007|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,Sun Columnist

Everything "green," from our homes to cars to clothes, is all the rage these days.

And a green office might not be far behind.

In a recent survey of 2,473 workers, 33 percent said they would be more inclined to work for a green company than for one that does not make environmentally friendly efforts. (The survey by employment agency Adecco has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.)

"People are becoming more sensitive and connecting the dots on how the company behaves," says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer at Melville, N.Y.-based Adecco. "Do I think a vast majority of employees will only work for a green company? I think we're a long time from there. I think it'll be a dramatic increase from where we've been."

The survey also found that 52 percent of workers believe that their company should do more to be environmentally friendly.

If anything, the green movement is trendy: Former Vice President Al Gore was perhaps the most talked-about celebrity at this year's Academy Awards. The documentary based on his lecture on global warming won the namesake prize.

And corporate America is joining the movement to reduce its waste as well as its costs, as my colleague, Meredith Cohn, wrote in a recent article. For instance, Wal-Mart is promoting energy-efficient light bulbs, while furniture giant IKEA is charging customers a nickel for its blue plastic shopping bags.

So, it's not surprising that employees want to work for a company that promotes clean air, recycling and safe waste removal, among other things.

In fact, as employers struggle to find qualified workers amid a fierce competition for talent, workplace expert John A. Challenger says that being a green company is becoming a selling point to attract and retain workers.

"Creating a culture or an environment that fits with employees or potential employees' values is one of the keys of attracting and retaining the best people," says Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago outplacement firm. "Employees are becoming demanding that their companies recognize the importance of going green."

Here are a few easy tips from Adecco to make your office green:

Print double-sided copies of internal documents.

Turn off lights when you're not in the office for an extended period of time.

Use real mugs and cups instead of paper or plastic foam.

Recycle paper, plastic, batteries, toner and ink cartridges.

Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun. com. Please include your first name and your city. On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com.

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