It’s Not Easy Being Green, Or Is It – Part Two

In my last blog article I covered some of the ways an all-in-one, software-based communications platform can assist organizations in reducing their carbon footprint. What I didn’t mention was that a little over a year ago I had the good fortune to meet a scientist attending a conference in Vienna focused on environmental impact. He had some sobering statistics to share, but what stuck with me the most was that he said to help turn things around, we did not need to necessarily radically change our behavior. We could all contribute to positive results by reducing our own individual carbon footprint by as little as 10%. Just imagine—tiny actions by each individual and company adding up to larger, more significant change.

As an organization, Interactive Intelligence has put programs into place to reduce our own carbon footprint. Along with those, there are actions individual employees have taken. My hope is that the very abbreviated list below will inspire others to look for their own ways to contribute to the effort—either by encouraging their workplace to make some changes, or tweaking their own individual lifestyle. Please add your own suggestions to grow the list further.

Virtualization – Our Communications as a Service team is using virtualization to reduce the amount of hardware necessary in the infrastructure, thereby reducing power consumption. If your IT department isn’t using virtualization, it might be worth investigating to see if it can save money, and reduce your company’s carbon footprint at the same time.

Recycling – Yes, there are still organizations out there not recycling. If your company isn’t, perhaps you can suggest that you’ll haul the inevitable plastic water bottles and aluminum cans home to recycle?

Ride a Bike – If you are fortunate enough to live within reasonable biking distance, and in a community that supports safe cycling, find some days where you can ride a bike in instead of driving your car. Your health will be better for it, and so will the environment. We have some employees that bike in together.

Carpool if you can’t cycle – it is easier than you think. Carpooling reduces oil consumption, reduces your gas bill, and the wear and tear on your car. Find a fellow employee willing to compromise just a little on their schedule and make a pact to do it. We have a number of employees carpooling at Interactive Intelligence. An added benefit to the organization is it promotes inter-departmental communications. Developers ride with Product Managers, support engineers, and members of other teams, and we all stay up-to-date on what’s going on throughout the company. Another added benefit—reduced stress! Really! It’s hard to be totally given over to road rage when you’re riding with someone and chatting about work, or the latest cute thing their three-year old daughter just learned. I’ve been carpooling for over a year now, and I think I’ve added years to my life by reducing my stress level on the days I drive.

One of our developers created a web page with a Google map that allows employees to register and request carpool partners. Prospective partners can look on the map and see who lives closest to them. There are plenty of creative ways to manage the “matchmaking” process—this is just one method. Talk to your HR department to see what they can suggest.  And as the old Nike slogan goes, Just Do It.


Rachel Wentink