Twenty years ago this year I completed my Masters in Environmental Studies and the focus of my work on topics including climate change, biodiversity, sustainability and community involvement was quite significant throughout the first decade of my career. Although I don't spend a much time in this sector anymore, I do get to still work with organizations thinking about, and acting on, sustainability and impact.
As team leaders and team members there are a number of things we can do to minimize our impact:
* Go virtual with meetings wherever possible - Technology provides us with so many opportunities to connect without having to travel. As a former team leader myself with staff in more than half a dozen countries for 3 years, I've enjoyed my time in the last decade being able to connect with professionals in the same number of countries many days, without having to leave my office! And I do believe we get just as much done many times as we would in person, perhaps even more! The reduction of our carbon footprint can be significant with a shift to more virtual working, and the enhancement of professional virtual relationships.
* Encourage telecommuting where possible - As someone who operates out of Toronto as a "home base", the cost of commuting is visible on so many levels. Toronto has one of the highest commute times in North America, and it's common to see neighbors in my community leave before the sun comes up and return after the sun is down. The cost of commuting is not only on the individual, but also the family and community. While Toronto is starting to think about how to improve the commuter system, we've also got to think about redesigning work.
Questions you may start dialoguing around include: Is everyone really needed in the office every day? What approaches can you use to keep people feeling connected with others they may not see? What does productivity look like when people do work virtually - whether it's from a home office or a satellite community location?
* Consider minimizing other impact - Our small steps around recycling - paper and waster - and also power management (through power saving, LEDs) - does have an impact cumulatively. What systems do you have in your office to support these small changes.
As you move through Earth Day today, what's important for your team? What impact can you have?
Have a great day,
Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Author of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching(Jossey-Bass, 2013) and Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Team and Leadership Development | Coaching | Retreats
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