workWork is a big part of life. On average, we spend 96,360 hours of our lives at work. The only thing we do more is sleep. Why do we do it? For practical reasons: it pays the bills and keeps us busy. But beyond the practical, work fulﬁlls other fundamental needs: Our need to be creative Our need to contribute Our need to feel part of something bigger than ourselves And when we set our minds on achieving that ‘something’, we’ve proven, time and again, that nothing can stop us. This is the power of the human spirit. This book is dedicated to harnessing that power. Each action in the book is a small gesture that creates connection: Connection to ourselves Connection to each other Connection to the planet We believe that the secret to making the world a better place lies not in grand gestures or lofty mission statements, but in simple shifts in our daily lives. As the Chinese poet, Lao Tzu wrote: Begin difﬁcult tasks when they are easy. Start great things when they are small. For the difﬁcult tasks of the world were once easy. And the great things of the world were once small. And a thousand mile journey, begins with one step. The journey starts here...
Simple Action:Turn off the tap while brushing or shaving You’d be surprised at how much water it saves.BIG IMPACTIn fact, if 200 people were to do this daily, in a year they’d save enoughwater to ﬁll a bucket the size of the average house.That’s one BIG bucket.
Simple Action: Eat a proper breakfast What did you have for breakfast this morning? Be honest. We won’t even ask if you were walking or driving while you ate it.BIG IMPACTStudies show that eating a healthy breakfast increases energy, lowerscholesterol, improves concentration, aids weight loss, keeps blood sugarlevels stable and will undoubtedly improve your ofﬁce olympics performance.
Simple Action:Take public transitAdvantages:It saves money, no one cuts you off,you can read the paper, it’s good forthe environment...Disadvantage:You can’t sing as loudly as you wouldin your car. Unless you form acommuter choir.Bus Gospel anyone?BIG IMPACTSwitching your commute to existing public transportation for a single daycan reduce your CO2 emissions by 20 pounds. That’s more than 4,800pounds in a year (which, simply put, is the weight of one elephant).
Simple Action:Car poolWhat would you do with all the moneyyou’re not spending on gas?Here’s an idea: for around 30 bucks youcan give a goat to a family in a develop-ing country.FYI, chickens are $15.BIG IMPACTCarpooling for a year, with 2 colleagues on an averageshort commute = 6,160 pounds of CO2 saved (which, simply put, isthe weight of one really fat elephant).Not to mention those huge savings on gas, car wear and tear, parking, etc.
Simple Action:Take the initiativeAt school in 2001, Alex (then age 5) heard about alocal project to save a large area of timberland nearhis home from logging.For four weekends in a row he set up a lemonadestand and sold lemonade from sun up to sun down.He made $134.50 and donated every penny.BIG IMPACTA week away from the deadline the project was $175,000 short. Things lookedhopeless. That is until Alex’s Grandma, spurred by his generosity, called up anddonated ALL the needed funds. So pick an action you’re passionate about andtake the initiative.Sometimes the ripple you start turns into a wave.
Simple Action:Don’t go to work Not to be confused with “Don’t work”. What we mean is, discuss the possibility of telecommuting with your boss. Obviously this is not going to work if you’re a bus driver, a ﬁreﬁghter or an astronaut. You get to save on commuting time, stress and cost. Your boss gets to rent out your parking space and cubicle. Everyone’s a winner. BIG IMPACT The average worker spends 12 days a year commuting to work and research indicates that staff who work from home actually achieve more, even if they do it in pink ﬂuffy slippers.
Simple Action:Video conference instead of travelling No, you’re right, it’s just not the same. There’s no jet-lag, no table for one, and no aimless channel surﬁng until 2am.BIG IMPACTFor every 600 airmiles you don’t collect you’ll keep the equivalent of940 pounds of CO2 out of our atmosphere (the weight of your averagemale polar bear).
Simple Action: Take a 5 minute break and do nothing You may be surprised to know that even doctors say doing nothing is really good for you. It reduces anxiety, stress and depression, while increasing self esteem and happiness. So, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Doctor’s orders.BIG IMPACTStudies show that workers who take regular, structured breaks actually get moredone and are happier than those who keep plugging away non-stop all day.
Simple Action:Use a mugNext time you’re out walking, take a look around.We bet you’ll see a few used cups crushed on thesidewalk, under a park bench, or sitting half-full ona ledge. Our culture seems to have this disposableattitude.Maybe it’s time we disposed of it. BIG IMPACT North America uses 50 million trees a year to satisfy its paper cup habit.
Simple Action:Resist the urge to emailWhy not pick up the phone instead?Or if at all possible, walk over and have a face to face conversation.It’s so much more civilized. SendBIG IMPACTOne study showed that it takes an average of 30 minutes for people to getback to whatever it was that they were distracted from when responding toemail.
Simple Action:Praise people I’m amazed at how quickly you’re getting through this book. Well done, you! Did I mention that agenda you sent through was sheer poetry? Rarely have I seen such an organized work-space...Feel good?Psychologists say that in order to have a satisfyingrelationship we need 3 positive interactions forevery 1 negative.Now stop dilly-dallying. Get out there and changethe world.Please.BIG IMPACTWe could point to lots of research about the positive effects of praisingpeople at work. But we felt that would take something away from the realmotivation for doing it.
Simple Action:Have a local lunchWe suppose having lunch would be the ﬁrst step. The second step would be totake your full lunch break to eat it (AWAY from your desk).So, for advanced users who have completed one and two, step three is to avoidfood that’s travelled a long way. Not only does it help the planet, it’s better foryou.BIG IMPACTThe shorter the distance travelled, the more vitamins and antioxidants thefruits and vegetables have. Antioxidant-rich food help prevent various nastydiseases, boost the immune system and slow the aging process.
Simple Action:Ditch polystyrene and plasticAren’t you worth it?BIG IMPACTFor every take-out polystyrene container NOT produced, approximately6 pounds of CO2 is kept out of the atmosphere.
Simple Action:Use both sides The ﬁrst time I tried to print on both sides of the paper I got through 11 sheets before I mastered the machine. It seemed like a waste at the time—not to mention being mighty frustrating. But within a week I’d saved 53 sheets of paper. This year I’ll save 2,756. And that’s just me. By myself. One person, in my little cubicle.BIG IMPACTA company of 500 employees could save approximately 1,300,000 sheetsof paper a year.That’s 162 trees. A year. Every year.
Simple Action:Go outsideTake a deep breath.Cough, hack, splutter …move away from the smokers.Take another deep breath.Feel the peace.BIG IMPACTFresh air cleans your lungs. Deep breaths bring more oxygen intoyour cells. More oxygen brings greater clarity to the brain, whichneeds twenty percent of your body’s oxygen to function.
Simple Action:Drink fair tradeLook deeeeeeplyinto this fair tradecup of coffee.What do you see?If you see afamily able tomake ends meet,send their childrento school and feelproud ofthemselves, great.If you see athree-headed goatin a tutu, you needto get out more.BIG IMPACTSupported by proceeds from the sale of fair trade coffee, the ‘NationalCoffee Fund’ in Colombia has built over 6,000 schools, enabling over360,000 children to attend local primary school.
Simple Action:Turn the lights offWhen you leave a room, turn off the lights.Even if you think you’re coming back any minute.Chances are you’ll get distracted and it’ll take longer.Like the guy who stepped out quickly to buy milk and came back 3 months later... Sorry it took so long, they only had skim.BIG IMPACTBy turning off you’re saving money. You’re saving energy.And you’re giving a damn.
Simple Action:Reduce Re-use...Things that should be reduced: Things that should be re-used: • energy (turn it off) • packaging (boxes, bubblewrap, etc.) • paper (think before you print) • paper (scraps for notes) • travel (video conference) • envelopesExceptions: Exceptions: • fruit & vegetable servings • coffee grounds • kindness • chewing gum • consciousness • toilet paper P.S. Chocolate is NOT a vegetable BIG IMPACT For everything reduced or re-used you are: • Keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere • Reducing the amount of stuff going into landﬁll • Saving money
Simple Action:… RecycleBIG IMPACT • Printer cartridges take over 450 years to decompose in landﬁll, OR they can be used to make plastic decking lumber that will pretty much NEVER rot.• Five large plastic soda bottles can be recycled to produce enough polyester fabric for an XL T-shirt or one square foot of carpet. • If the average westerner recycled all the newspapers they read each year, they would save around ﬁve 35 foot high trees. • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 13 watt compact ﬂuorescent lightbulb for over 30 hours.
Simple Action:Unplug your cell chargerIt sucks power, even when it isn’t powering your phone.And that sucks.BIG IMPACTIf every one of North America’s 100 million plus mobile phonechargers were left plugged in they would consume enough electricityto power 264,000 homes.
Simple Action: Take the stairs Everest = 29,028 feet high 1 ﬂight of stairs = 12 feet Did you hear that? That’s the sound of the gauntlet being thrown.BIG IMPACTStudies show that the risk of cardiovascular disease and death is loweramong those who are regular stair climbers.
Simple Action:Shut down your computer before you leaveHere are a few fun things you can plan to do when it’s booting up again in themorning: 1. Make a paper airplane and sail it across the ofﬁce. 2. Make two cups of coffee, one for you and one for someone who looks like they need it (NOTE: Don’t say “you look like you need this” when making the delivery). 3. Sing happy birthday at the top of your lungs. It’s bound to be somebody’s.BIG IMPACTBy shutting down computers at night, a business with 100 computerscould save up to $1,650 a year in electricity costs and keep approximately6.5 elephants worth of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Simple Action:Walk more“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – NietzscheEither there or on the toilet.BIG IMPACTWalking reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lowers bloodpressure, reduces high cholesterol, reduces body fat, enhances mentalwell-being, increases bone density, helps to prevent osteoporosis, helpsﬂexibility and co-ordination, AND you get where you wanted to go.
Simple Action:Don’t take work home“Does anybody have anything toadd to the agenda this evening?”“Joey, you’re on minutes.”“Katie, could you action icecream for dessert?”BIG IMPACTThe average ofﬁce worker could increase their family timeby 6 hours a week if they stopped taking work home withthem … that’s 300 hours in a year.
Simple Action:Turn your cell offBeing available 24/7 is nothingto be proud of.Being present in the moment is.BIG IMPACTYou’ve got to admit that it feels pretty special when someone starts aconversation with “I’m just going to switch my cell off so you can have myfull attention”.
Simple Action:VolunteerWhy not start by volunteering to get a coffee forsomeone who’s busier than you?That’s how Mother Theresa got started. (Allegedly.)And then when you get back to your desk, type“volunteering in <<YOURCITY>>” into yourfavourite search engine.BIG IMPACTStudies show that volunteering improves health, increaseshappiness and lengthens life expectancy.It’s amazing how much you get when you give.
Simple Action:Ask someone how they areMeaningful conversation is a casualty of ourspeed-dial, fast food, 24/7 culture.So the next time a telemarketer calls offering youyet another credit card: “How are you today, Mr.Mispronouncedname?”Lay it on them, baby. Tell them about thatpersistent spasm in your left eyeball, thequestionable sushi you had forlunch, and your aunt’ship replacement.And if they’re still on the linewhen you’ve had your say,give them a chance ...“but enough about me now,how are you?”BIG IMPACTAsking gives a person the feeling that they are important to you.This leads to improved self-esteem, which, studies show, leads to ahappier, healthier person.
Simple Action:Spend some quality timeStart with yourself.Then focus on someone you love.Make a list of everyone who isimportant to you and then gothrough the list one by one. Kids Mom Dad Bro Sis Auntie Minnie Geor Clooney ge Angelina Cameron DiazBIG IMPACTResearch indicates that giving quality attention (not to mentionreceiving) leads to better mental health and reduced stress.
Simple Action:Say thank-you“I’d like to thank the academy, momand dad, my babysitter from grade6, and everyone who made this bookpossible…”BIG IMPACTGrateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction,vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
Simple Action:Rip up this bookTear out these posters (carefully please).If they’ve inspired you they are bound to inspire others.So go crazy – ﬁnd a location and then pin it, stick it, tape it etc…BIG IMPACT“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro
Now what?1. Take Action2. Measure Small actions have a BIG impact. We’ll prove it to you. Set up your own company Action Tracker at www.InspireEnterprise.com.3. Involve Involving colleagues is key to making change. It also makes it a lot more fun. Ideas and initiatives available at www.InspireEnterpise.com. Need support? Inspire Enterprise will help: Workshops to explore and measure organizational vitality (Are you ready for change?) Consulting (How to make it stick.) Inspiring speakers (Ra, Ra, Ra.) Contact us: info@InspireEnterprise.com
Inspire Enterprise connects, empowers and inspires people to change the world at work.Looking at the world with levity, and using inspiration rather thanalarmism, our objective is to encourage you, the people who make organizations what they are, to simply change the world at work.At Inspire Enterprise we recognize that the issues of environmental impact, team building, change management, and health and wellness are all interconnected. Organizational change is a journey, not a destination. This book is the ﬁrst step. $19.00 ISBN 978-0-9811596-0-7