5 Steps to Starting an Office Recycling Program

According to a recent study, Canadians produce about 31 million tonnes of garbage a year, and only about 30 per cent of that material is recycled.

Thankfully, you can take five simple steps to help the environment by starting an effective recycling program at the office.

  1. Mobilize a team of coworkers for the program. You can’t do it alone. Put together a team of coworkers from various departments to help you come up with an office recycling program and successfully execute it. Include the janitorial staff and make sure they are also invested in making the project work.
  2. Determine the type and amount of waste the program will manage. Consult your waste hauler to find out how you’re required to handle your recyclable items as this varies with municipalities. Carry out a waste audit to determine what portion of your waste is recyclable. Determine the flow of waste traffic and place bins in strategic locations throughout the office.
  3. Consider implementing a centralized recycling program. Here, office workers take the waste in the mini bins by their desks to a central location and sort it. This system fosters accountability in workers for the waste they produce and boosts diversion rates by decreasing stream contamination.
  4. Choose the most suitable bins. Go for bins that collect all stream of waste in a single container. Having separate bins for recyclable and non-recyclable waste discourages people from using the right bin because they will use the nearest one instead. Use bins that can adapt to changes in the type and volume of waste managed by your program. Use easily recognizable images to label your bins.
  5. Finally, implement the program. Educate workers in the office to make sure everyone is on board with the program. Use signs and posters as reminders and schedule meetings to discuss the results of the program and steps to improve it. These regular audits help the program grow increasingly effective.

Once you have an established program that’s woven into your company culture, you’ll find it easy to maintain in the long term.

Tips for Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. All over the world, people gather at a variety of activities to learn, celebrate and demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day includes events in more than 193 countries and is the largest secular observance in the world. It’s estimated that more than a billion people each year celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day in Canada

Although Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, the first Canadian Earth Day was held on Thursday, September 11, 1980. Earth Day Canada founded in 1990, helps people across the country celebrate this special holiday. Earth Day Canada has created an award-winning employee engagement program called EcoConnexions, which is designed to encourage environmental and sustainability values and initiatives in the workplace.

EcoConnexions emphasizes three pillars of environmental responsibility: conserving energy, reducing waste and improving housekeeping. If you’re looking for fun and interesting ways to celebrate Earth Day in your workplace, plan educational workplace events and celebrations around these three pillars.

Conserving Energy

Help employees understand how they can conserve energy in their homes and the workplace with tips from an organization such as Save on Energy. Hold a free lunch seminar to discuss these ideas and improve team spirit at the same time.

Reducing Waste

To celebrate Earth Day this year, consider providing each employee with a reusable water bottle branded with the company name. It’s a thoughtful gift that also prevents waste and saves money because they will use fewer cups, straws and other one-use items.

Employees are more likely to recycle bottle, cans and paper when it’s convenient. If you haven’t already provided recycling bins in employee break areas and around printing stations, consider adding them and asking employees to use them considerately as part of your Earth Day celebration.

Improving Housekeeping

When discussing housekeeping in an environmental sense, you’re not just talking about washing up. Housekeeping is a concept that involves improving work efficiency, utilizing assets and making advances in safety. Even small changes can have a big impact.

Consider replacing light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones, asking employees to shut down their computers at the end of the day and changing company-wide cleaning products to more eco-friendly options. You could even provide incentives for co-worker carpooling or organize a workplace volunteering event with a group like TreeCanada.

4 Tips for Being Aware of Your Stress Level… and Reducing It

Being Aware of Your Stress

Stress is emotional and mental pain resulting from adverse circumstances. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. It’s normal. But it can get out of control and cause serious problems. It’s important to monitor your stress levels and watch out for signs such as headaches, acne, chronic pain, poor general health, fatigue, lower libido, digestive problems, poor appetite, depressive moods, rapid heartbeats and uncontrollable sweating.

If your stress becomes unmanageable, seek the services of professionals, such as licensed mental health counsellors, social workers, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Also, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress. Let’s take a look at four important ones.

1. Breathing Exercises

Stress-relief breathing is one of the quickest and easiest ways of reducing your stress level in any situation. These breathing exercises reverse your physiological response to a stressful situation by relaxing your body and mind. They’re great for relieving chronic stress, promoting clear thinking and reducing overall stress.

Take a five-minute break and pay attention to your breathing. Close your eyes and sit up straight with a hand on your belly. Gently inhale via your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and proceed up to your head. Reverse the process as you breathe out through your mouth.

2. Exercising

Exercising reduces stress and promotes overall wellness. In addition to stress relief, regular workouts help you manage your weight and improve your longevity. Exercise is highly effective at reducing stress because:

  • It’s a physical outlet for frustrations and stress.
  • It distracts you from stressful thoughts.
  • It gives you a natural endorphin high.
  • It improves your mental wellness in the long term.

3. Adopting an Optimistic Perspective

Research shows that optimism reduces stress. When exposed to the same stressful situations, optimists tend to be less reactive than pessimists because optimists interpret challenges and threats as opportunities. Optimists are also more likely to believe that they have the power to change their situations.

4. Meditating Regularly

Meditation has a variety of benefits, one of them being stress reduction. Taking a few minutes to meditate can center you in the present, pushing away worries about the future and regrets about the past. Like optimism, meditation can shift your perspective of a stressful situation and help you identify opportunities rather than fixate on seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

Ways to Get to Know Your Customers Better

The Business Development Bank of Canada suggests that all customers are not equal. While it’s important to treat all business connections with deference, it’s vital that you identify your top customers and give them most of your attention because they are likely the ones filling your coffers. Try to group your top clients by gross margin impact, then sort them into categories by geography, demographics and preferences. This type of analysis lets you develop targeted marketing strategies and research that produces insights beneficial to you and your customers.

Turn Negative Reviews into Repeat Customers

According to Inc. magazine, a personal touch often wins back disgruntled customers. Sometimes, picking up the phone and making a connection helps the customer realize that there are caring people behind your company’s logo. It’s also a great way to find out more about what matters to consumers and how you can better meet their needs.

Learn More About Your B2B Customers

Finding out why your B2B clients went into business gives you valuable insight into their ultimate goals and motivations. Here are a few essential questions you can use to suss this out via a survey or, better yet, a quick phone call:

  • How did they get started in their business?
  • Why do they believe their product or service is superior to competitors?
  • Why is their offering better than their competitors?
  • How can you make their lives easier?

Keep your objectives in mind throughout this discovery process. At the end of the day, you are collecting business intelligence to improve or expand your product line and make more money.

Create a Customer Advisory Board

According to Small Business BC, you can get to know your customers by including them in the process. This approach may work best for larger businesses that provide products and services directly to the public, such as schools suppliers, subcontractors for municipalities, commercial developers and transportation businesses. Here are some ideas for whom to include on your advisory board:

  • Current Customers. Choose a group of excellent customers to provide valuable product feedback.
  • Potential Customers. Find out why they don’t use your products yet.
  • Agents/Distributors. Include agents or distributors so they’re tuned in to customer needs.
  • Investors. Investors may have important insights into current market trends.
  • Strategic partners. Any business that serves the same market segment, such as suppliers, can be considered as strategic partners.

Whether you choose to approach this challenge from a personal or technological perspective, getting to know your customers better is the key to providing them with products and services they want and fatten up your revenue stream at the same time.