Being sustainable on the outside means being sustainable on the inside. That’s why the people who make up the work teams must internalise and implement a work methodology that reconciles current objectives with future ones.
Sustainability applied to work
We understand sustainability as the satisfaction of present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy theirs, guaranteeing the balance between economic growth, care for the environment and social well-being. But how does this affect work? And how does it affect organisations?
Organisations only exist as long as the people who are part of it do.
Characteristics of a sustainable work team
The most important aspect is the existence of a common goal. This is the common link that brings together all efforts and gives work a specific direction. To get there, it is essential to talk about it transparently, to redefine it as many times as necessary and share and explain it so that it is always very present.
Celebrating the objective, and also the small goals within it that are achieved, is essential to maintain motivation, a great pillar of sustainable work teams.
It’s absolutely necessary to be committed to the project, to the other members of the team and, of course, to oneself. This means being willing to talk about challenges, knowing others’ challenges and supporting them. This will at times lead to saying no and honestly explaining why. Learning from conflict and error is crucial important for sustainable and ethical work teams.
The environment is a key part of companies with these characteristics. Non-productive behaviours such as excessive complaining, gossiping, and generally toxic attitudes are unhealthy.
Similar to what happens in society at large, there are often people who expect changes to come from the outside, from others. We want to keep our planet healthy, but we cannot at the same time make excuses not to recycle, for example, due to lack of space. In organisations of this type, the responsibility is to share all those inherent talents and adopt what is possible from colleagues to achieve these improvements.
Look to the future
We should always act under the principle that “no one is essential”. Someone may wish to leave one day due to professional or personal circumstances, and this should impact the company as little as possible. For this to happen, it is essential that everything that is built is sustainable over time. For instance, for ideas pending completion there must be a process in place that allows a colleague to pick up where the previous person left off.
The company generates opportunities for its workers and collaborators for training, growth and professional development in order to provide long-term solidity and stability. Part of this growth is related to well-being and consists of providing the worker with space for family life and other coherent requests that motivate the team to work with passion, leaving their mark on the organisation.
The new generations represent a challenge for sustainability in companies. They have expectations of more rapid changes than other generations and tend to rotate more frequently if they do not feel motivated or do not see challenges; they need to be challenged to overcome, adapt and reinvent themselves every day.