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Becoming a sustainable business can seem complicated if all or the majority of your workforce is remote. But this shouldn’t deter you from taking the leap. Even if your company operates in different corners of the world, your employees can collectively oversee sustainability performance management from the comfort of their home offices. Here are best practices for companies with remote workers to follow when pursuing sustainability.

Complete Assessment Questions As A Team

First, you’ll need to find out the overall status of your company’s sustainability performance. Generate a consensus by answering assessment questions together as a team. Rule of thumb for remote workforces is if 75% of employees comply with a particular initiative (e.g. Use eco-friendly cleaning products), then answer ‘Yes’.

Ideally, all remote workers will be able to complete each initiative but the reality is that achieving sustainability will vary from person to person due to their financial capabilities, access to resources and circumstances at home. So, use the 75% rule to develop a general understanding of where your company stands.

Additionally, answering the sustainability assessment together encourages employee engagement which can be especially difficult for remote workforces to maintain consistently. You could hold a group virtual meeting via Zoom or Microsoft Teams and use the web meeting features to collect the answers. Another option is to share an online survey.

You can also use this time to get an idea of how knowledgeable your staff is on sustainability and which topics need further discussion. This will be one of many collaboration opportunities to come as you continue along your sustainability journey.

Empower Your Employees Through Sustainability Training

As you progress through your sustainability program, it’s common for some employees to be confused or misinformed about green practices. For many employees, sustainability is a foreign topic whereas it may be a passion and a lifestyle for others.

Providing sustainability training on topics such as waste management, resource use reduction and efficiency, or communication and reporting can ensure all employees are knowledgeable and can be confident in their green decision making. Training will provide the structure and guidance that your company needs to make consistent progress in your program.

What’s more, you can utilize the team and resources you already have to conduct effective training. Open discussions, documentaries, peer-to-peer training – These are just a few ways to educate your team on sustainability.

Hold Routine Checkpoint Meetings

Successful sustainability performance management requires routine monitoring and reliable communication. Checkpoint meetings allow you to keep track of goal progress and invite employees to share their questions, concerns and ideas. This creates valuable time to pinpoint challenges and develop solutions together. Google Calendar makes it easy to check others’ availability and schedule recurring meetings with auto-reminders.

Stay Motivated and Inspired

Working remotely is not for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic showed just how difficult the abrupt shift to remote work was on workers’ emotions and mindset. Virtual communication technology simply cannot take the place of in-person interaction and being able to socialize with your peers. This risk of feeling “detached” can threaten the motivation of your employees and the progress of your sustainability goals, therefore it’s critical to boost employee morale and avoid burnout.

Adding fun into your program such as watching documentaries or gamifying certain initiatives (i.e. Who can collect the most recyclables?) as well as giving rewards and recognizing your hardworking staff are some ways to keep your employees motivated and engaged.

Amplify Your Green Impact

While achieving sustainability as a remote workforce has its challenges, it also has one significant advantage – More opportunities to make a positive impact. With employees working in different parts of the country or even the world, there is a greater diversity of environmental and social initiatives available to your workforce. From outreach events and local businesses in need of support to different types of clean energy and eco-friendly products unique to an area, there should be plenty of opportunities for your employees to engage in sustainability within their communities.

Further, remote workers can carry their green thinking into the rest of their home and lifestyle, doubling the impact of your sustainability program. Better resource use and proper recycling and waste practices will spread from the office to every room of the house, and may even inspire family members and friends.

It’s amazing how impactful a sustainability program can be when companies and their employees treat sustainability as more than just business but rather as a purpose.

Conclusion: Remote Workforces Can Achieve Strong Sustainability Performance Management

Remote workforces are not at all disadvantaged when it comes to pursuing sustainability. In fact, they have many resources and opportunities that onsite workforces may not. Companies with remote workers can achieve strong sustainability performance management by:

  • Answering assessment questions together as a team
  • Providing sustainability training for an empowered workforce
  • Holding routine checkpoint meetings
  • Boosting employee morale and encouraging engagement
  • Applying green practices beyond the home office

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