The Secret to a Strong Team...Going Green?

Last Updated Mar 15, 2010 9:33 AM EDT

Being aware of your team's impact on the environment might be politically, spiritually and economically correct, but there's an equally compelling reason for managers of remote teams to think about reducing waste: it's good for team morale and results.

I recently interviewed Rich Maltzman and David Shirley of the EarthPM blog for The Cranky Middle Manager Show and came away very impressed with just how much sense it makes to focus on sustainability when putting a remote or virtual team together. Here are three reasons you might want to include "going green" as part of your team's charter. (You do have a team charter, right?)

  1. Teams are more engaged when they are about something besides a list of tasks. People are funny creatures. We do better work and care more when there is a higher calling than just "get me the Johnson file." When managers are competing for mind share with other departments and priorities, one more reason for people to care about your team and your project is never a bad thing. Also, rewarding great money- and resource-saving ideas is great for morale. At least it will offset some of the whining about the canceled quarterly meeting.
  2. Working within constraints is actually good for creativity. Believe it or not, restrictions like reduced travel or being as paperless as possible encourage people to look beyond the same old ways of working. While it can seem like reduced travel is a bad thing, productivity can actually be increased by things like file sharing and recording webmeetings and conference calls. Don't believe me? How much time have you wasted trying to find out what happened on that call you missed, or trying to remember which email had the latest version of that spreadsheet you need?
  3. It's good for the budget. As Maltzman and Shirley point out on a regular basis, reducing waste reduces, well, waste. Whether your motives are altruistic or just watching your shrinking budget, I don't know any manager worth her salt who doesn't need to manage her budget and watch every penny.
Paying attention to more than just the immediate task at hand is another way smart leaders keep their remote teams engaged, enthusiastic and focused on getting results.
Photo from flickr user Woodleywonderworks CC 2.0