QWL and environmental concern

Don’t worry, be happy ?

Let 's face it. We are going through difficult times, whatever point of view we may take :   environment, politics, ethics, health.. And we are crumbling under tons of contradictory information :

“Hurry, the world is burning ! But don’t worry, IA will save us !”

“Be happy ! But don’t forget that the world is burning !”

Still, the Earth is indeed on fire, and people are asked to be happy.

If you have the chance to have a job, you may wonder if your workplace could help you play a more impactful role in the world. Climate change and the quality of life at work are rarely associated, but what if they were connected ?

  1. Bit by bit

A high level of overload at work is likely to give you stress and make you less productive. It is the same with the environment crisis we are facing. The issue seems so intricated that we simply don’t know how to start handling it . But it doesn’t have to be so.

Climate change is often described as a complex problem because its definition is not straightforward and its solution cannot be found in history books. It transcends all political and land borders. It is a problem that requires a collective solution and yet has only led to disclaimers. It highlights all the inequalities linked to economic development, of which all the deeply vested interests prevent any correction.

Climate change is also confusing time scales. We will only see the worst effects of our polluting emissions in a generation, which makes our non-virtuous behaviors more easily rationalized. Still the harm we cause to the environment causes a chain reaction: the rise in temperature melts the permafrost in the Arctic, which in turn releases monstrous amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, accelerating warming. Devastating fires around the world, linked to high temperatures and droughts, have swept away forests that had sequestered carbon dioxide for hundreds of years and released it into the atmosphere. It stays there for millennia and therefore contributes to lasting warming.

This is the grim picture that many scientists and environmentalists have painted for decades. It is clear that neither their cries nor the demonstrations have changed the trend.

It’s time to be pragmatic.

Before tackling an issue, we need a perfect understanding of the ins and outs. We must look at the carbon sources and target them one by one. Almost 80% of the CO2 equivalent emitted comes from fossil fuels burned in around 20 countries and from 4 major sources: power plants, transport, construction and industry. Seen in this way, the global problem changes dimension and becomes simpler. And it becomes even more so when we realize that each of these sectors has a finite number of decision makers…

  1. Change our mindset

When we talk about Quality of Life at Work, we think of human resources, management, work-life balance, but less of the physical environment that hosts us. Yet the environment in which we spend most of our day has a deep impact on our health and our mind: a dark, poorly ventilated, or noisy office cannot positively affect our behavior. And like nature that we pollute little by little, our well-being is slowly deteriorating.
We are connected to the wide environment and the purpose that we have lost somewhere in our workplace can be found again if we change perspective. What if we let our environmental concern be part of our identity ? We need to feel that our behaviour and our values are aligned, we need consistency. Implementing environmental projects can trigger emotions like pride, optimism, enthusiasm, joy that could facilitate this alignment. So why not help our workplace be more environment friendly ? Why not take place in a “Green Team” to spread awareness amongst our colleagues ?

 

  1. Let us be demanding of the indoor environment imposed on us.

The environment in which we work and live has an impact on our well-being and our health. And in this pandemic period, our health is the top priority. We realize that our buildings can make us sick just as they can preserve us. So let's demand better buildings, demand transparency and the guarantee of healthy air. Let us demand virtuous buildings with minimal environmental impact.

Fortunately, data-driven health trends and technological advancements can help build that confidence. From technical building management and automation systems to indoor environment data, office buildings can be smart, healthy and improve occupant comfort, as long as this data is processed in a relevant way and shared with occupants.

 

Once we realize that the problem of climate change is not insurmountable, and that we are in an environment that promotes our physical and mental health, then we have no reason not to stand up for what the nature has given us.

Quality of Life at Work and the climate emergency are not dissociated. We all have a role to play, but for that we must have a healthy mind, in a healthy body, in a healthy environment.

 

GreenMe helps businesses make their living spaces healthier and more energy efficient. Objective measurement of the quality of the indoor environment and employee awareness are part of the actions we take.

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