Bringing people on your carbon journey

Module one

While you're working on reducing your company's impact, bring your teams along with you.

Working sustainably wherever you are

With dispersed, remote and blended workforces now the norm, business have changed their approach to challenges, including the way they talk about and focus on sustainability. So, have a look at how you can encourage your teams to work more sustainably and what individuals can do to reduce their carbon emissions when working from home.

Sustainable home working is great for employee engagement and supports your good business initiatives. There’s a strong business case for embedding sustainable working practices: attracting and keeping people who want to work for a responsible business, cost savings from energy bills, gaining a competitive edge from your peers and being able to demonstrate your commitment to green initiatives.

Engaging your employees

So how can you support your employees to work sustainably, both in the office and when they’re working from home? Follow our tips:

  1. Develop a policy for energy efficiency. With most employees working from home at least part of their week, businesses will see an indirect impact on their carbon footprint. You could help your employees to reduce their energy bills by switching to a renewable energy provider.
  2. Communicate your longer-term goals to reduce your carbon footprint and achieve net zero – and showcase to employees how they’re contributing to that. When reviewing these goals, consider how fluctuating levels of working from home will impact your carbon calculations.
  3. Look at the equipment you provide in the actual and virtual office. Are they fit for purpose in the longer term? Can energy efficient equipment help your teams to work more effectively? Ask people to update their settings to energy saving modes for laptops, computers and printers. Finally, encourage your teams to work ergonomically by providing desks and chairs – this will support people’s health when they’re working from home.
  4. Maintain a culture of sustainability. Engage with your people through virtual workshops and events by sharing ideas and initiatives to get people thinking about sustainable working. You could launch a team steps competition to encourage people to use transport less often, run a meat-free MasterChef style lunch online or host a monthly ‘ugly jumper’ day. This can encourage people to layer-up and turn down the heating – and you can keep it social by asking people to share photos!
  5. Tell powerful stories about what your business is doing – it’ll give your employees a nice boost! To get people engaged, you could run a Do Nation Campaign. If you focus it on homes, you’ll indirectly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
  6. Encourage your people to measure their personal carbon footprint. It only takes moments and is a powerful way to get people thinking about their personal impact and how to start reducing and offsetting.

Saving and reducing

Make sure your teams know how they could be saving and reducing. Suggest to people some ways they could decrease personal carbon emissions and save money:

  • Claiming a tax relief of up to £26 per month if they work from home
  • Reducing waste, reusing products and recycling them if you can’t
  • Eating less meat
  • Washing clothes in cold water and air drying them
  • Installing a new boiler can save £220 a year
  • Turning off appliances fully instead of leaving them on standby
  • Turning down the heating thermostat by just 1 degree can save up to £90 a year
  •  Using LED lightbulbs
  • Cycling or walking to the shops
  • Draft proofing the home can save £4 a year
  • Adding loft insulation can save £135 a year

This was last updated in September 2021 by Heart of the City. We’ve created these resources for individual SMEs to use. None of our content is to be adapted, reused or repurposed for commercial use.

Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action is funded by the City of London Corporation in support of its Climate Action Strategy targets for a net zero and resilient Square Mile.