Environmental Protection

Survey Finds Many Working Americans Want to Improve Green Practices on the Job

This month, many Americans are not only evaluating their personal lives but also their places of business. According to OfficeMax's 2011 Green Workplace survey, companies are making strides in adopting environmentally-responsible business practices, and many employees make it their personal mission to be mindful of the environment at the office. But as far as the average working American is concerned, U.S. companies and employees could improve greatly when it comes to "going green" at work, and it's up to every single person in the workplace to make it happen.

Nearly two in three (64 percent) working Americans think their current employer could do a better job of being environmentally-responsible, such as recycling paper or refilling ink cartridges. This may result from companies not effectively encouraging "green" business practices with only about one third (39 percent) promoting recycling bins around the office, nearly one in seven (13 percent) assigning someone to oversee "green" practices, and only eight percent (8%) of companies offering incentives or rewards to employees for participating in "green" programs.

The majority (84 percent) of working Americans say they personally recycle things such as paper at work, and four in 10 (40 percent) of these employees are motivated by their desire to set an example for coworkers. Others admit they are motivated to personally recycle by wanting to help the environment (64 percent) or have a personal desire to make a difference in the world (58 percent). Yet, scrutiny among fellow coworkers is high with nearly three quarters (73 percent) of professionals saying their current colleagues could improve their habits to reduce their company's environmental footprint.

Sixty-three percent (63 percent) of professionals who aren't already doing everything they can to be environmentally-responsible agree they would be more motivated to adopt environmental practices at work if their company offered incentives. While a cash incentive (61 percent) is nice for some, it doesn't take a lot to motivate most employees. An extra vacation day (46 percent), free lunch or party (44 percent), or special "green" gift (39 percent) would be all they need to take part. Yet, with or without incentives, nearly seven in ten (68 percent) surveyed professionals believe everyone is responsible for carrying out environmentally responsible behaviors at work.

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