How to Make Your Business Last
When you think of sustainability, project management is probably the last thing that springs to mind. But sustainability is a lot more than what you eat and what you wear. More than just your impact on the environment, being a sustainable business includes all your ethical practices.
'I'm already doing it!'
Ok, so you recycle. You're cutting down on plastic. You really do try to remember to turn the lights off when you leave the room. Surely that's enough? Unfortunately not.
Individual actions are great, but being a sustainable business is more than that. Your company values, workplace practices and training schemes are all part of it.
Why should you care?
It might seem like a lot, but making your business sustainable now is an investment in your company's future. You don't want to get left behind. Sustainability is becoming a major priority for businesses and consumers alike. According to The Project Management Institute, '[a]n overwhelming majority of corporate CEOs (93%) say that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies.' If your values and practices don't align, you could be missing out on new opportunities.
More than that, your projects can thrive too. 'Incorporating sustainability into project management helps us cope with the complexity of projects, reduces project crisis situations, project cancellations and interruptions, and the fluctuation of project personnel, creates a competitive advantage and economic benefits, and promotes sustainable project results.' (PMI). Sustainability really is the way forward, for the wider world and your project success.
Want to stay ahead of the curve? Find out what being sustainable really means for you and your business!
Step One: The Environment
These might feel like the basics, but if your business is well-established, old habits can die hard. It's always important to review what you're doing to limit your impact on the environment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us into more eco-friendly practices than ever before. Flexible working and the rise of the Zoom meeting dramatically reduces the amount of travel necessary for work. Of course, a more traditional way of working will resume in many ways post-lockdown, but hopefully we've learnt something. In a globalised working world travel isn't entirely avoidable, but not every meeting has to be face-to-face.
It might feel like a small thing, but minimising the amount of paper used at work can make a difference. With new technology, it's never been easier. At Projects that Deliver we opt for cloud-based systems so you can access the info you need when you need it. Not only can you help the environment, your projects will benefit too. Online systems make storing and sharing vital information seamless. Even if you think you can't quite give up your written notes just yet, any change is a great step to making your projects more sustainable.
So you've made some valuable changes to reduce your impact on the environment. What next?
Sustainability also includes your company labour practices. Do your projects consider the working conditions of your team? Do their hours allow for a healthy work-life balance? Rules and regulations ensure most workplaces are of a high-standard, but working beyond set hours is increasingly the norm. When a project needs to be delivered, it's easy to get caught up in the work left to do. Many project managers can find it hard to switch off, but it can lead to burn out. If you're not planning your working practices to be sustainable, your projects will ultimately suffer.
Engage With Your Community
A sustainable business is one that invests in the future of their community. Providing work, training and career progression can make a significant contribution to society.
At Projects that Deliver, we pride ourselves on our experienced team. Their years of expertise ensures they can adapt their skills to make any project a success. But experience isn't always everything. Where possible, we love to provide opportunities to young people starting out in the workplace. Enthusiasm, creativity and drive can thrive under the guidance of more experienced project managers. Particularly since Covid, where young graduates and apprentices are entering into mass unemployment, we want to engage with our community and create opportunities for career progression.
How could you get involved with your community? Whatever contribution you can make is a step towards becoming a sustainable business and discovering talent that could benefit your work.
Championing Under-represented Groups
Another way to make a difference is to support under-represented groups in your work. Reviewing how your business is accessible or alienating to different people is a great step. We've previously discussed the benefits of flexible working, particularly due to how it taps into a pool of skilled, unrepresented labour. People with years of experience and valuable skills can fall through the cracks due to the rigidity of traditional ways of working. Childcare obligations mean this group is largely made up of women.
Adopting flexible working, even to a small extent, in your business can further your success and sustainability. Not only can you provide opportunities to undervalued people in the community who are keen to work, you can gain real assets to your team.
There is always more to be done as a sustainable business. Every step makes a difference.
If you think our values align or are interested in switching up your processes to become more sustainable, get in touch. We love to help you deliver projects that can make your business thrive.
For more information, this article from The Project Management Institute is a really interesting deep-dive into sustainability and project management.