Much to our relief, there is less climate change denial than we had a few years ago. Between 2011 to 2021 in right-leaning newspapers, the ratio of editorials arguing for less climate action to those calling for more has gone from 1:9 to 5:1. Let’s be clear, the environment needs more than dialogue, it needs urgent action. But, considering the power of the media to shape conversations and help people form opinion; it’s a start.
Enter the doomsday cycle
While awareness and dialogue help galvanise meaningful action, it can also affect our minds. From an individual perspective, it can feel a little like a constant torrent of negative news about the future of our planet. Depending on your preexisting values and context, this can lead to climate anxiety, which can be debilitating.
Effects on wellbeing
As you can imagine, this anxiety is bound to translate to employee’s headspace and their productivity at work. If you thought the world was ending, you’re probably less likely to give that presentation your best, or double check that spreadsheet. And while it’s tempting to dismiss this as hyperbole, the facts say otherwise. In an October 2022 survey by the ONS, climate change was a significant source of worry for people in the UK; second only to the cost of living crisis. The reality is that we don’t suspend our natural selves on the clock, so issues that are on our minds affect our wellbeing in all contexts.
How can leaders help at work
Most organisations have programmes that cater to employee wellbeing, yet unless the environment is directly linked to your business model, connecting climate anxiety to employee wellbeing may not happen naturally.If you are considering a way to better support your employees through climate anxiety, climate employee engagement programmes are your best bet. This is backed by data: 77% of users on DoNation programmes reported feeling an increase in wellbeing after a three month programme. By empowering them to go beyond doom reading to taking meaningful action for the environment, employees can become part of the solution. Those who are particularly passionate, can even run campaigns of their own to engage their social network. For even more impact, you can brand your programme to your climate or net zero strategy, so that they are being stimulated to take action at work in addition to their personal lives, which can unblock barriers to achieving your sustainability goals.
For more data about the link between climate change, productivity and profitability, you can download our Greenprint report for free here.
For a chat about what an employee engagement programme can do for your organisation, you can book a short chat.