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Saving Some Green by Becoming Greener

November 10, 2008 - 1 Comment

There’s just too much bad news out there. You can’t turn on your evening news without hearing about stock market gyrations, the credit crisis and housing foreclosures, and the”R-word” (recession, if you haven’t been watching).So what do we do about it? Cut back, reduce expenses, make sure you can survive the storm, and find new and innovative ways to expand your green initiative.Wait-what? Yes, you heard me correctly: Expand your green initiative. (I can hear the objections now: it’s expensive, it’s going to take time and resources we don’t have, and so on).Okay, let me explain: expand those aspects of your green initiatives that will save you money, save you time, enhance productivity and help your valued employees do the same for themselves. It’s not only possible, but it’s not that hard to do.What are these opportunities? Here are two of the easiest to implement with the highest cost-reduction:Travel reductionYou are already probably asking your staff to travel less, and they are probably telling you how much this meeting or that one will help your business. They’re right, but you can’t afford the trip.But instead of just canceling 10-20% of these useful, productive meetings, you can use web-based collaboration tools to eliminate even more trips, and keep all of your productive meetings intact, keep your customers and partners happy, and give your business an advantage in the next growth cycle, and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.TelecommutingThis raises all sorts of issues for many managers. While you may be one who likes your team members in sight, more and more companies, large and small are letting more and more of their people stay home (or work in remote offices).Companies that support telecommuting can reduce their power consumption by not having workers in the office every day. If you move workers to permanent telecommuting status, you can also save on real estate: office space, heating and cooling, and waste disposal. All of which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and environmental footprint.Employees who telecommute reduce their driving time (which in some US metro areas averages over 1 hour each way). This not only saves them the price of gas (and the associated greenhouse gas emissions), but the time they would have spent in the car. The added bonus is the ability to use the time gained back for both work and personal life, and to have the flexibility to be where ever they need to be.Doing this effectively also requires that you provide your people with web-based collaboration tools that let them work with each other almost like they were just down the hall.You can listen to the story of how Continental Airlines made this work for them.These are a good start. But if one of those ideas doesn’t work for your business (or you’ve already done it successfully), there are plenty of other ways you can take steps to become a greener company and at the same time cut costs and improve your business. Two more examples:- Making more of your training available on-line: This also keeps people from having to travel to training courses and lets them learn what they need when they need it. You reduce travel costs, improve your peoples’ skills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can even offer your customers on-line training alternatives that you might be able to offer at lower cost and higher margins- Do you service a complex product? Move some of your tech support on-line. This can keep your technicians off the road, not only saving you the cost of maintaining a fleet (or paying mileage), but lets your technicians make more service calls per day, resolving customer issues faster. Oh, and saving greenhouse gas emissions in the processAgain, this is just a start. If you want to hear how these steps might work for you, listen to how IKON Office Solutions took a few of these steps, saved lots of money and advanced their green initiatives.And start thinking about how greening your business process can help the environment and your business all at the same time.I can’t wait to hear your story of how you’re making this work!by Jeff Weinberger, chair, WebEx Green Initiative

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  1. It’s not only possible, but it’s not that hard to do.