Fostering Behavior Change in the Workplace

Based on a feature article originally published in Sustainable Brands

There are about 80 billion square feet of commercial building space in the United States — that’s the equivalent of over 1,388,800 football fields.

It takes a lot of energy to power that much space. About one fifth of all energy used in the US is used by commercial buildings, and that number is growing faster than in any other sector. The federal government is working hard and investing heavily in commercial facility-centric conservation initiatives and programs, but there’s a problem that’s causing the efforts to stall — the conservation goals of companies and business owners are rarely, if ever, the same goals that their employees have.

Align Conservation Mindsets

The solution to this problem, namely working to adjust the ideas about and attitudes toward workplace energy and water conservation that are held by your workforce, is also its primary hurdle. Yet with businesses standing to save anywhere from 4% to 75% on their energy costs — not to mention additional savings on water, gas, and oil costs — it becomes an important one to surmount.

Luckily, using the right tools and methodologies, it can be both simple and cost-effective to instigate a switch in your employees’ attitudes and, consequently, their behaviors. In fact, initiating a behavior change and integrating it into your corporate culture can be as simple as a three-step approach:

  1. Link Behavior to Savings — Find what helps your employees appreciate the importance of energy savings and link it to their behavior.
  2. Make it Fun — If you can make energy consciousness enjoyable for your employees, as opposed to another duty or rule, they will be more likely to pick up and retain beneficial behaviors.
  3. Reinforce with Reward — With conservation-minded behaviors established, be sure to support and reward them to sustain their long-term practice. Pre-assembled energy conservation kits are a good option, for example.

To learn more about how you can foster behavior change in the workplace, read “More Recycling Evangelists, Fewer Space Heaters Under the Desks” by AM Conservation Group Director of Strategy Danielle Marquis, on the Sustainable Brands website.


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