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Green business initiatives need to be considered by all companies. Business leaders have a huge part to play in the conservation of our planet, but with changing consumer attitudes, conservation is no longer just the moral choice: it’s the smart choice, too.

An international study has recently shown that a third of customers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing some form of environmental good, and there is an estimated £866bn opportunity available for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

Many of the biggest and most profitable companies who have adopted sustainability practices have discovered that this doesn’t come at any costs to shareholders or owners: in fact, a strong sustainability track record can account for up to 11% of a company’s value.

So: is it time you now followed the green business trend?

Business gas experts Love Energy Savings looked at some practices that are expected to become commonplace in the office in the near future, and why it may be time for you to begin changing how you work for a greener, more sustainable future.

  1. Paperless offices

Paperless offices are without a doubt, the future of office life. In an article published by Business Week in 1975, the office of the future was predicted to embrace the world of digital documentation entirely. Fast forward to today, and we still have a long way to go to get to the paperless utopia that was envisioned.

In 2018, the vast majority of office work is done on computers, but the average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. That adds up to 15 trillion pages of paper printed in as little as 12 months.

The good news is that the paperless office movement is growing. Businesses are beginning to realise that reducing paper has more than just environmental benefits: it can also result in higher efficiency and increase productivity levels, and dramatically cuts down on costs. Therefore paper-lite offices are becoming the norm, as employees and staff members are encouraged to use online communication apps and emails.

As cloud storage gets more secure and smartphone technology advances further, completely paper-free offices are not too far away. You can begin the process of making your office paper-free today by using a centralised file-storage system (like Google Drive) and ensuring you have adequate security systems in place. Then, foster a paper-free culture by encouraging your staff to reduce their paper usage.

  1. Remote working

2018 has been the year that has brought remote working into the mainstream, with many businesses unshackling workers from their desk in favour of remote working spaces. Modern employees have used new technologies to bring in a new era of hypermobility, which is only set to grow in the future.

This has many benefits for both employees and employers, and also for the environment. Future trends show less and less demand for a brick and mortar office, which is great for sustainability. There will be less electricity used, a reduction in individual carbon footprints thanks to no commute, and fewer offices supplies used (so less waste).

You can join the trend by offering your staff more work from home days, and thinking about the future when you hire new staff – can part of their job be completed from home?

  1. Smart technology

Smart technology is the key to more sustainable businesses across industries. Smart lighting is leading the way in data-driven management, which will self-measure and report on energy usage, allowing business leaders to set the rate of electricity used, cutting down on waste dramatically.

Smart water meters will allow us to monitor water use per building from a cloud-based system, which will make it simple to develop comprehensive smart water management plans. Then, it will be much easier to identify leaks and waste and find systems or equipment that have above-average water consumption levels.

Businesses can now take advantage of searching for cheaper tariffs on water rates, so before installing meters, businesses should ensure they are on the most cost-effective rate to make maximum savings. And thanks to a brand new service offering from Love Energy Savings called Love Water Savings, it’s easier than ever for businesses to find those low water tariffs.

Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings, explained how the new service would change the way that businesses think about water charges. “For years businesses have been tied into contracts from their local water utility provider, but since a change in UK law as of 2017, businesses now have more power when it comes to the price they pay for their water supply.

“By providing our customers with an easy way to compare water tariffs, Love Water Savings can help you reduce business outgoings even further and enable you to save money that you can reinvest into more important things.”

  1. Green procurement

‘Green procurement’ is the purchasing of products and services that cause minimal impact to the environment. It includes anything that’s fully recyclable or is designed to reduce energy or water consumption, such as LED bulbs or flush reducers.

With more and more consumers expecting businesses to act responsibly, green procurement is a key objective for businesses that want to win the trust of their potential customers.

Your business should begin to plan a long-term sustainable strategy which can help play a key role in reducing your environmental impact. It will also help you manage your resources and improve overall efficiency.

  1. Green hosting

The amount of multimedia content on the internet is insurmountable, and continues to expand. This information is currently hosted on servers, which are stored in data centres. These servers need to be kept running in cool, controlled environments, which requires a large amount of energy. This means data centres are detrimental to the environment.

Many web hosts are now actively trying eco-friendly alternatives to data centres that can help to mitigate the impact data centres have on the environment, something which is referred to as green hosting. The technologies which are currently being developed are only set to improve over time, and green hosting will become the common option for the majority of industries that operate online.

  1. Alternative energy

Currently, around half the power in the UK is generated by low-carbon sources. Many businesses worldwide have pledged to only use renewable sources, including Walmart and Apple, but there is still a long way to go.

Companies that switch to renewable energy such as solar power or wind energy, will enjoy consistently lower energy bills, less service disruption and a great ROI.

The good news is that it’s becoming easier than ever before for businesses to switch to green energy. Companies that make the change now will see a greater benefit — both for the environment and for their overheads — in the long term that those who delay.

  1. Meat-free cafeterias

Livestock production has a bigger impact on the planet than anything else. Meat production and meat consumption need to change if we want a fairer, more sustainable world.

Global office-sharing company WeWork, for example, has decided to go entirely meat-free. The company says that they will no longer serve or reimburse expenses on meals containing meat in a bid to “leave a better world for future generations”. It’s a controversial move and has lead to some criticism, but WeWork has estimated that the ban will save 16.7 billion gallons (63.2 billion liters) of water, 445 million pounds (202 million kg) of carbon dioxide emissions, and more than 15 million animals by 2023.

With an increasing number of business cafeterias offering vegetarian options, meat-free offices could become the norm.

Phil Foster believes businesses can begin making the changes today that will have a huge affect on the environment in future. “Some of the changes mentioned, like green hosting and meat-free offices, will take a while to bed into the culture of businesses around the world.

“However, when it comes to paperless offices, remote working and alternative energy, there are steps we can all take now to ensure we look after the future as best we can.

“Even energy-saving practices around the office in our day-to-day — whether it’s as simple as ensuring that lights are switched off when they’re not needed or that computer banks are shut down when everyone goes home — can have a massive impact in the long run.”

As a business owner, there are many steps you can take now to help your company become more sustainable, which will help you save money and become more attractive to clients in the meantime. Find out about how switching your business energy can help, or take a look at our blog for some more energy and money saving tips.

 

Phil Foster, Managing director at Love Energy Savings 

Wednesday 31st October is Halloween! For many people, it’s a day that conjures up images of scary costumes, trick or treating, or a lot of sweets and chocolate.

But for someone who’s just landed a new job, Halloween could be a scary time for other reasons; saying the wrong thing to your colleagues, showing up late on your first day, or even the fear that maybe you’re not good enough for the job.

In the run-up to Halloween ,marketing, digital and technology recruitment agency Forward Role took to Twitter to find out what people were most nervous about when starting a new job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While being late on the first day and messing up at work were concerns that the majority of people seemed to have, only a handful of respondents said they weren’t worried at all. Clearly, the new job jitters is an almost universal feeling.

However, facing your fears might be one of the most important things you can do when starting in a new role. Brian Johnson, Director of the marketing, digital and technology recruitment agency Forward Role, says: “Starting a new job is one of the biggest life changes you can make, so it’s no wonder that people can fear the worst. Luckily there are some great ways to combat those first day worries, that will allow you to enjoy the experience of starting a new role as much as possible.

“We’ve put together our ultimate success guide for conquering your deepest fears on that first day in your new job so that you can come out on top.”

“What if I’m late?”

This is the fear that topped Forward Role’s poll, and it’s a fairly rational one; with any new job, it’s unclear how long it might take for you to get to the office.

It’s a good idea to reduce the risk you’ll be late on your first day by doing a test run of your commute in advance. That way, you get an idea of which routes to avoid due to the rush hour traffic, or whether that 3-minute transfer between trains is actually long enough.

However, you might still hit standstill traffic on your first day, or your train could be unexpectedly cancelled. If you do happen to be running late on your first day, the most important thing to do is to communicate. Speak to your new company’s HR department before you start to make sure you have a number you can call in the case of a delay and let them know in plenty of time.

“What if people don’t like me?”

This is probably one of the biggest fears we all have on the first day of a new job but put into context, it’s a bit of an odd one. After all, on your first day, you’ll probably get introduced to a lot of people, so there won’t be enough time for anyone to gather a solid understanding of who you are.

That said, first impressions do count, but thankfully, it’s pretty easy to introduce yourself well. Be polite: it’s always safer to treat people formally at first and adjust how you speak to them as you learn more about them. Also, don’t forget to smile, even if you’re nervous. It’ll make you approachable and increases the likelihood that other people will get a good first impression of you.

If you want more advice on creating a good first impression, check out this great guide on how to introduce yourself by Kara Cutruzzula.

“What if I wear the wrong thing?”

If you’re not sure of the dress code, dress formally. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed: it shows that you care about coming across professionally.

Even if you’re pretty sure that the dress code is pretty casual, double-check with your new HR manager in advance. Leave nothing to assumption and there’s no chance of you missing the mark.

“What if I don’t know what’s expected of me?”

When you start in your new role, it’s normal to feel a little out of your depth, since you won’t be used to the way the company works yet.

However, it’s not okay to feel unsure of what’s expected of you.

Organise a meeting with your manager as soon as possible to go through any questions you might have. Write them down in advance and take them to the meeting: it’ll show your new boss that you care about using their time effectively.

Not only does this help you get clarity on specific questions you might have about your role but it also encourages your manager to be more proactive in being clear in future, saving you both a lot of hassle in the long run.

“What if I mess up?”

It might not sound very reassuring, but the truth is this: we all mess up at some point. And unless you’re working for robots, the people you work with will have messed up too.

You should embrace failure early on; otherwise, the fear of failure will make you hold back. By holding back, you limit your ability to be creative, which ultimately puts a cap what you’re able to achieve.

Embracing failure stops you from playing it safe, so you can bring value to your new company.

“What if there are unspoken rules I don’t know about?”

Every company has its little quirks. You won’t be able to figure them all out at once but you can accelerate the rate at which you learn them by asking your colleagues.

For example, you might notice a pattern in who gets teas and coffees in and when they do it. Rather than wait a few weeks to figure it out for yourself, ask someone in your team what the deal is. That way, you turn an unspoken rule into a spoken rule and there’s one less thing for you to worry about.

“What if I’m not good enough?”

This is probably the biggest, deepest fear you’ll have going into a new job.

It can come from all sorts of places. We live in a time when imposter syndrome — the feeling that your success is down to luck, not skill — is rife, so one of the best ways to get past this fear is to sit down with your CV or portfolio before you start your new job and read through it. You’ll remind yourself of all that great stuff you’ve achieved previously, and that you impressed your new employer enough to land the role.

Alongside this little confidence booster, you should ask for feedback constantly to catch any small errors you habitually make and nip them in the bud. Asking for feedback shows a desire to improve; it indicates to your new employer that your skill level is not limited to where it currently stands and that you will improve at your job over time. Be open with them about where you want to improve so they can provide the right kind of support and you’re not left struggling.

Be fearless

No one is 100% confident going into a new job — but that doesn’t mean you should live in fear. Understand that everyone is human, including you, and — importantly — your employer. Hold your head high knowing that they chose you for a reason.

 

 

If you can be fearless in your new role, you’ll tackle every challenge as they come with confidence and perseverance.

 

So go on: face your fears… and beat them.

 

 

Steve Thompson is the Managing Director of Recruitment specialist Forward Role Recruitment.

 

Studying epochs and industrial revolutions, and giving lectures on innovation to business people, I noticed some common traits that distinguished successful societies and states form unsuccessful ones. This observation fascinated me and inspired me to conduct a more detailed investigation. Further examination showed that in all historical periods the differences manifested themselves in four integrated elements: knowledge, systems for ‘embedding’ the knowledge into society, labour management, and money circulation.

The more I pondered, the more closely I studied the various remarkable historical facts and analysed the ideas of prominent scientists, the more question arose. How did we happen to come here, to our planet Earth, at all? At what point of our development are we now? In the process of gathering information, accumulating and analysing knowledge, and correlating scientific and historical facts with hypotheses and ideas put forward by philosophers of both antiquity and modernity, a unified logical system was gradually forming in my mind, which I have set out on the pages of Humanity’s Lucky Clover. On the basis of the system lies a model for assessing the success of development of this or that society based on analysis of the four above-mentioned elements: knowledge, society, business and wealth. I called it a Lucky Clover model.

Our Lucky Clover model is based on innovation cycles that rest on four elements that can be compared with the four leaves, because it is growing and evolving.

  • Science as a source of discoveries and inventions;
  • Society as the recipient and custodian of newly created goods; changing society determines the content and form of wealth at any given moment;
  • Business practices (entrepreneurs who set up ‘innovative charges’);
  • Wealth (capital, the material basis).

To have a successful innovation cycle, it is required that all four of its key elements – knowledge, society, business, and finance – successfully interact with each other and develop consistently. In other words, just as in nature, a plant can be considered health if the development of all of its leaves match each other agreeably. A healthy organism of this sort is a ‘lucky clover’.

However, any organism must fade after the flowering phase. This means that a new lucky clover must take root and emerge somewhere else.

The first leaf, knowledge, enables us to understand how the world works, and helps us to get new knowledge. Innovations are needed to ensure that new scientific knowledge is converted into production opportunities and brings commercial profit. With the arrival of profit, production grows, and as a consequence, so does people’s wellbeing. Innovation is closely associated with invention, with new ideas or methods, because it implies their practical application.

But knowledge alone is not enough, since it does not work on its own. To make proper use of it, high-quality human resources are needed, created in the presence of developed and well-functioning social institutions in society. Therefore, society is the second leaf of the lucky clover.

Human society is characterised by interaction between its individual members and group within social institutions. As it has been observed, there is a stable relationship between the density of settlements and the intensity of innovation-based growth. A greater population concentration expands the boundaries of the possible for brilliant minds that are able to generate remarkable ideas. The interaction between such minds increases the probability of useful discoveries being made and disseminated among the general public. It is exactly this that makes modern global market society valuable.

An invention is the creation or realization of an idea. Inventions are always plentiful, but not all of them come to be used in practice, and not all of them produce surplus product in the economy and provide added value. Some people must take this risk of implementing innovation. These people are entrepreneurs, people who form a special class, without whom the scheme does not work, and the clover does not blossom. Business is another leaf of the lucky clover.

The fourth leaf of the lucky clover is wealth or money, an element that brings into focus the interesting question about the measure to be used to evaluate the success of innovation. In modern economic theory, this measure is economic benefit, which performs the function of maximizing shareholder’s means, and also serves to achieve a satisfactory level of economic development (featuring sustainable annual growth, an acceptable level of unemployment, etc.) on the macroeconomic level. Different organisms have different survival strategies, but the main result must be continuation of life in a particular environment. If you want to survive, you will have to adapt. In the Lucky Clover model, money works as a kind of ‘amplifier’ by making it possible to obtain and combine resources to produce new knowledge and successfully take commercialized inventions to the next development cycle.

But not only the Lucky Clover model helps us to analyse the past, it gives us an opportunity to try to look ahead and think about what awaits us in the future, what our society will be like, what will surround us and make part of our everyday life, what will the next innovation cycle be about, and where mankind’s demographic development curve will go. It could be a link that gives us a hand to generalize our ideas about the past and take a look beyond the horizon.

Vadim Makhov has a PhD in Economics, and is a well-known entrepreneur and expert innovator. He has taken an active part in many innovative projects carried out by various Russian and foreign companies, and initiated the development of many new products. He founded the Bard Worldwide Investment Fund, which is concerned with the development of future technologies.

Strategy is a much-abused subject.

An online search of the word alone produces over 93 million references.

A similar search on a popular retail site shows that there are over 120,000 books written about it.

So, there is no shortage of opinion on the topic, but are they any help?

How many times have you bought an earnest book on strategy and not finished it because it was too long-winded?

A good strategy needs to be short, clear, and easy to understand.

Smart, and original if possible.

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Babies laugh on average 400 times a day. Once you get to over 35 this has dropped to 15 a day – and, a recent US Gallup poll showed, we laugh less on a weekday than a weekend. Is this because we are at work and so often work is not fun?   Is humour something that is no longer relevant in a politicised workplace? Or should leaders be thinking about the role of humour in their organisation culture and in their approach?

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