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How a Sustainable Workplace Can Improve Employee Productivity

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

A spacious meeting room with an indoor living wall and plants.

We all want our employees to perform at their highest potential. Being the backbone of an organization, staff members play an important role in ensuring goals and objectives are met. Hence, boosting employee productivity is integral in meeting financial targets; a direct impact on the success of a business.

According to HSBC, companies are recognizing the value sustainability brings. Sustainable offices keep staff healthy and happy - increasing employees’ levels of:

  • Morale & Satisfaction

  • Cognition ( Acquiring and processing knowledge )

  • Comfort


An undeniable way green offices can improve productivity is by providing a more pleasant work environment for employees. A survey report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2010, shows that companies with a strong sustainability program have:

  • 55% better morale

  • 43% more efficient businesses processes

  • 43% stronger public image

  • 38% better employee loyalty


Another way to improve productivity is to boost cognition and help employees acquire and process knowledge more efficiently. Cognition is linked to everything from basic comprehension and working memory, to problem-solving, evaluation, and decision making. A study from Carrier found that when we work in green-certified offices, we get a 26% boost in cognition, and 30% fewer sickness-related absences

A comfortable office desk set up near large windows, allowing plenty of natural light to enter. The desk is arranged with a lamp, laptop, notebooks, and a plant.


Another key reason why sustainable businesses can end up functioning as more productive workplaces is by providing increased levels of comfort. When employees feel more comfortable in the office, they tend to be less irritable, less easily distracted, more likely to be able to maintain concentration, therefore, more likely to produce a decent output. Here are some ideas on how to create a comfortable work environment:

  • Better indoor air quality can increase the employees’ productivity by 8-11%.

  • Sufficient access to natural light and modernizing artificial lighting

So by providing a pleasant work environment for employees, they become satisfied and therefore, more motivated and more likely to give full effort. That being said, what actionable steps can we take to create a stimulating and eco-friendly work environment? Keep reading to find out.

1. Use indoor plants

Visual appeal is a major factor in workplace satisfaction. Using plants in the work environment helps to bring in natural beauty and circulate fresh air. Reducing stress and promoting happiness is another advantage of having indoor plants that can offset localized emissions and filter harmful toxins while also reducing the organization's carbon footprint.

White background with three paperclips and a succulent plant in the foreground.

Flowers Generate Happiness. Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed.

Nasa did a study in the late ’80s on plant abilities to purify the air. A healthy environment is vital to a person’s well-being, and indoor plants contribute to it more than you might think.

Toronto, Ontario

Eco Stems is an environmentally and socially sustainable flower shop located in downtown, Toronto. They offer a selection of Air Purifying Plants, such as ZZ plant and Prayer plant, which can be used not only for a change of scevaluateenery in the workplace but also to increase employees’ productivity.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sage Garden specializes in healthy gardening with a focus on sustainability. They grow a huge variety of plants, including Canadian plants using organic and all-natural methods. Here are some interesting facts about Sage Garden:

A Calathea Rattlesnake plant from Sage Garden, a greenhouse in Winnipeg, Manitoba that specializes in sustainable greenhouse production practices and gardening education.
Calathea Rattlesnake - Live Plant CA$14.99
  • They use 100% compost-based fertilizers for all of the plants they grow.

  • They are among the only commercial greenhouses in Canada using zero-emissions geothermal heating and cooling in their production greenhouse.

  • They carefully evaluate supplier inputs so as to avoid harmful chemicals such as neonicotinoids in the cuttings and young plants we get from third-party propagators.

2. Use eco-friendly paper

Paper and cardboard come from processing trees, using chemicals, energy, and water. Paper and paper products account for more than 1/3 of Canada’s waste and only 1/4 of Canada’s waste paper and paperboard is actually recycled. Being a severe problem in many industries and offices, paper waste is commonly caused by printing mistakes, junk mail, billings, and packaging - comprising up to 70% of a company’s total waste. Did you know an average office employee uses up to 10,000 sheets of paper in a year? Luckily, there are ways to lower your business’s paper waste.


Lachine, Quebec

Onyx and Green offer a complete range of office and school products made from recycled, natural, and post-consumer materials. By using bamboo, stone, corn starch, sugar cane, and biodegradable fabrics like ramie, jute, and cotton, they’re crafting creative solutions in environmentally friendly ways! When we think of office and school supplies, we immediately think of paper. As one of the most used office items, Onyx and Green founded sustainable alternatives that can reduce harmful deforestation.

Their Stone Paper uses recycled construction site debris to create a paper product without any wood, water, or bleach. Crushed stones are converted into a flawless white paper that is waterproof and tear-resistant. They also utilize sugarcane fibres for their Bagasse paper, another eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood paper. By using the often-wasted byproducts of sugar

manufacturing, they turn sugarcane into a white paper indistinguishable from traditional paper. Plus, the process uses less bleach, water, and energy than traditional manufacturing.

Now, Let’s talk about toilet paper!

Most of us—for a variety of perfectly understandable reasons—give toilet paper very little thought. Even less so when it comes to the toilet paper at our workplaces, which is all the reason why it needs to be brought to light. All the toilet paper that gets purchased, used, and flushed by billions of people every day comes from trees. It’s interesting to know that:

  • A single roll of toilet paper uses 37 gallons of water to manufacture.

  • Most people will go through 1-2 rolls per week.

  • We flush 27,000 trees down the drain every day.

Businesses can lower their carbon footprint by replacing traditional rolls with those made from sustainable fibres, a great way to show employees that the smallest details don’t go unnoticed.

Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull of the Cree Nation explains how we’re destroying Indigenous homelands in the Canadian boreal forest to satisfy the U.S. market for tissue products—and how companies can do better.

Naturolly is an independent, Canadian-owned business founded in 2020 by Angel He. The brand wants the choice of sustainability to be realistic and simple. Here are some reasons why their toilet paper is eco-friendly and toxin-free:

  • The toilet paper and inner core are made from 100% bamboo and it’s tree-free.

  • Their products contain no fillers like sugarcane and recycled wood.

  • They use paper tape instead of plastic tape, and recyclable soybean ink.

  • There are no whitening chemical agents such as chlorine bleach in their toilet paper.

Also, they offer a toilet paper calculator feature on their website, which helps you understand how long the toilet paper is going to last based on the number of people using the product.

3. Gift sustainably

It’s easy to talk about sustainability as part of the company’s policy, but employers need to back their words up with actions. Corporate gifting to employees, clients, and business partners is a small token of appreciation but it can have a significant positive impact on the relationship between a business and its giftees. When employers gift a sustainable product and introduce green practices to the company, they demonstrate that the company is committed to the cause.

So what makes a gift sustainable?

  • Gifts are made from eco-friendly, recycled, or repurposed materials

  • Items that include locally sourced or organic ingredients

  • Items with alternative materials or those made from certified sustainable processes (e.g., free form harmful dyes, bleaching, etc.)

  • Items that can help eliminate single-use plastics (e.g., zero waste alternatives)

  • Products that have achieved certification for sustainable industry standards

Good Earth Gifting

Toronto, Ontario

Good Earth Gifting's Logo. A letter G with a green leaf intertwined on its curve

Here at Good Earth Gifting, we aim to be an educational and informative platform to inspire gifts for the good of the Earth. Our plan is to help businesses build engaged business relationships through a modern approach - sustainable gifting. All products we offer are sourced from sustainable, Canadian brands because supporting local businesses is important to us.

Not only is it a great way to increase your employees’ productivity but it also makes them feel valued and appreciated. Send a gift based on your budget or contact us to create a custom order.

At the end of the day, having a sustainable workplace is a step towards being a better business - both for the planet and your bottom line. There are many ways to incorporate greener practices in your organization - which will you start implementing?

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram @goodearthgifting, and TikTok to stay updated!


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