Earth Day is April 22 — did it sneak up on you? No worries, we’ve got last-minute ideas for fun, easy employee activities for Earth Day!
Everyday employee engagement is built through rewarding, everyday activities. Even the simplest team-building activities can energize and bring people together.
And celebrating Earth Day in the workplace isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for people, too — and your business, according to USA Today columnist Steve Strauss, a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship.
Some benefits are obvious, as Strauss writes in a recent USA Today column.
Reusing and recycling are money-savers, there are tax benefits for going green, and green practices are good branding and popular with consumers.
But there are other benefits that are more behind-the-scenes.
“Healthier work environments work better,” Strauss writes. “According to the Green Business Bureau, there is a 20 percent decrease in number of sick days for companies that actively promote a healthier workplace.”
Last but not least, “going green will boost employee morale,” he writes. “Having a green workplace is increasingly an important consideration for employees. In-demand millennials especially will appreciate your efforts.”
Read on for employee activities for Earth Day that are fun for your staff and easy for you to coordinate. You may even be inspired to make Earth Day every day!
5 Employee Activities for Earth Day (or Any Day!)
Most of these activities require little to no advance planning and can be picked up on the fly. But they all celebrate what Earth Day is all about — appreciating our planet and keeping it beautiful.
1. Go Outside
If your team spends most or all of their day inside, just get outside — take a meeting outdoors to a picnic table on company property, or encourage everyone to participate in a brown-bag picnic for lunch and bring treats to share. If your workers spend most of their day outside, try a change of scenery: get off the job site and explore a nearby park or wildlife area.
“If we have a relationship with the planet, we are more likely to identify as connected to it, and feel a responsibility to protect it. Go outside every day and get up close and personal with nature, don’t wait for Earth Day to make it a priority,” career coach Kathleen Ventura writes for HuffPo.
2. Reward Walking, Biking or Carpooling to Work
Reducing carbon emissions by walking, biking or carpooling is just one benefit! Exercise boosts endorphins and will put everyone in a great mood for work. Carpooling can be a fun, social activity that brings together employees from different departments within the company. Reward these choices by handing out water bottles, energy bars, bananas, stickers or gift certificates for fruits and vegetables.
Want a few weeks to coordinate a bike-to-work promotion in your company? Bike to Work Day is coming up in May (3rd Friday in May each year). The League of American Bicyclists has details and free resources.
3. Pick Up Trash Together
All you need are gloves and bags. Make it a social outing like these residents in Madison, WI who call themselves “trash talkers” and “trashionistas.” Beautifying their city by picking up garbage just feels good, one said. Plus, the reward is instantaneous: “There are so many things we do nowadays where you don’t see the result right away and this is just very direct. There’s a mess. The mess is gone.”
4. Collect Recyclables for a Good Cause
Does your business produce a lot of recyclables, like aluminum cans? Make a commitment to collect recyclables over the next few weeks to sell, then donate the money to charity. You could also make a game of it: pledge to donate a certain sum of money if employees meet recycling goals.
5. Plant (or Weed) a Garden on Company or Community Property
Get out a shovel and get some starter plants from your local nursery for a team planting event. Already have a garden? Spend the lunch hour weeding it. Don’t forget to bring in some Thank You treats for employees who participate.
Invite everyone to participate — it’s especially important that company leadership take the time to work alongside entry-level employees in volunteer activities. It speak volumes to your company’s commitment to building a “we’re in this together” culture.
Want more ideas? Inc. has a list of Earth Day inspiration for your workplace. And be sure to check in with the Earth Day Network as well as your city parks department, neighborhood association and local conservation groups.
Happy Earth Day!
Free Resource: Your Day-to-Day Employee Engagement Calendar
We all need inspiration to make employee appreciation a daily habit. gThankYou’s Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Be inspired; download yours today, absolutely free.
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
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