Being socially conscious means being aware of your surroundings and the impacts your actions make. Social consciousness is what brings about social change, which Southern New Hampshire University describes as the changes in human interactions that transform social and cultural institutions.
Such change brought about movements in women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, demonstrating the impact it has.
Of course, it is overwhelming for an individual to be tasked with accomplishing great social change. However, there are simple ways one can practice social consciousness that would still bring about social change in smaller ways, such as practicing sustainability.
While one can be socially conscious at home or in outdoor settings, it can also be practiced in the place where many spend the majority of their days: at work.
Today, we’re going to cover some of the easy ways you can adopt a more socially and environmentally conscious way of life in the workplace.
Let’s take a look!
Skip to What You Need
- 1 8 Simple Ways to Be a Socially Conscious Employee and Colleague
- 1.1 1. Listen, and Be More Aware of What You Say
- 1.2 2. Participate in Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
- 1.3 3. Start Going Paperless
- 1.4 4. Purchase Secondhand Office Supplies
- 1.5 3. Speak Up for Ethical Labor
- 1.6 4. Care for Your Devices
- 1.7 5. Think About Your Commute
- 1.8 6. Encourage Colleagues to Join Your Socially Conscious Journey
- 2 Final Thoughts
- 3 About the Author
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 References and Useful Resources
8 Simple Ways to Be a Socially Conscious Employee and Colleague
To get started on becoming a socially conscious employee, here are some simple actions to take:
1. Listen, and Be More Aware of What You Say
Being socially aware is the ability to promote compassion and empathy when you interact with others, allowing you to build better and stronger relationships with the people you work with. Therefore, practice active listening. Understand what they have to say. By doing this, you can better make sense of others’ situations instead of judging them right away.
Take a look at this short video by MindToolsVideos for more on active listening and how to do it:
Think carefully before you answer. While it can be tempting to be frank, you have to consider their feelings, too. For example, you wouldn’t want to be blunt with someone who is clearly in an emotional state. Being aware of other people’s feelings and emotions makes you more socially conscious.
2. Participate in Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
Some companies show their support for certain causes by holding initiatives. For instance, Johnson & Johnson regularly holds community campaigns for marginalized factions such as the LGBTQIA+ and the partially blind.
If your company is one of those, start participating in their events — volunteer to organize or simply attend them. Not only are you supporting your company, but also involving yourself in a great cause. It may also help you in becoming more aware of the reason behind the event.
If it is an initiative like donating a small amount of your paycheck to a charity, consider doing it. You don’t have to do it regularly either. Participating in company initiatives is a convenient way for you to become socially conscious.
3. Start Going Paperless
It is no secret that businesses use paper for a multitude of things. Although times are changing as paperless alternatives have helped promote sustainability and reduce waste, especially in “paper environments” like the office.
Business cards, for one, need to be replenished once they run out. However, Doorway notes that 88% of paper business cards are discarded without the person even taking note of your details. This only contributes to paper waste that could have been avoided. Instead, you can create a digital business card and send them over via email or a communication app.
Another way to go paperless is by using online internal communication channels. If you still use paper to pass information or send tasks, switch to digital options instead. Slack is one app that is used by many businesses. With it, you can send messages, create group channels, and hold calls. It replaces the need for physical notes in the workplace.
4. Purchase Secondhand Office Supplies
Desk supplies like corkboards and organizers are important for many employees. If you’re someone who uses them on a regular basis, consider getting secondhand ones.
Before making a purchase, decide if you really need it. Otherwise, it may just end up in the trash. But if you do need it, check first if your workplace has it. Some offices have stocks full of your standard desk supplies. This save you money and reduce the waste that your purchase would create.
If this isn’t possible, then try to get some secondhand. These days, people usually post their things up for sale on Facebook Marketplace or eBay. So, buying secondhand is both cost-effective and sustainable.
3. Speak Up for Ethical Labor
Part of being socially conscious includes being aware of injustices happening around you. There are many injustices in the world but start with those close to you — or, more specifically, around the company you work for.
If there are instances within your company that go against ethical labor, speak up. Talk to the HR department or your boss about what you’ve observed. Report any cases of harassment, discrimination, unfair wages, and the like.
People experiencing these issues may be too anxious to address the problems themselves. This is due to being threatened, or perhaps they simply do not notice they are being treated unfairly, so it important that you do it in their place.
4. Care for Your Devices
Many electronic devices are used in the office, such as monitors, keyboards, and laptops. Maintaining their state prevents them from becoming electronic waste, which is considered toxic.
For example, if you’re using a device with a battery, such as a laptop, avoid overcharging. This can lead to the battery deteriorating, which will mean it will need replacing at some point. Unplug fully charged devices. Organize your cords and cables, too. This reduces the damage caused by them getting tangled.
Taking good care of your electronics at work reduces the chances of them breaking and ultimately becoming electronic waste.
5. Think About Your Commute
Car emissions are one of the contributing factors to environmental degradation. Reducing it is one way to become environmentally responsible. Thus, we suggest carpooling or taking public transport on your way to work. Another is to walk or bike if your workplace is close to your home.
If you have the option to work from home, consider doing so on most days. The aforementioned options are both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. By actively choosing greener options for seemingly trivial things like commuting, you become socially conscious.
6. Encourage Colleagues to Join Your Socially Conscious Journey
Lastly, get your workmates to join your social consciousness journey. Social consciousness also means caring about the people around you. If they follow the same principles, they could also become socially conscious employees.
For instance, you can get them to participate in company initiatives with you. Convince them to carpool or take public transport on the way to work. Teach them how to maintain their electronics. Encourage them to speak up for ethical labor practices within the company. Persuade them to switch to digital business cards. Motivate them to buy secondhand supplies. The more people practice social consciousness, the better it is for the world.
Becoming a socially conscious employee will take some time and effort. However, doing this will make you not only a better employee but also a better person overall, making the world and the environment a better place for all.
About the Author
Lydia Hall. I am a freelance writer who likes to write features on sustainability, business, and leadership. When I have free time, I like to tend to my home garden and paint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Being socially conscious means that you are aware of your surroundings and how your actions can affect them. This applies to a multitude of things, from the environment to the people around you. A socially conscious person is someone who is fully aware of their surroundings and takes action. Read the full guide to learn more.
It depends on the person; however, we suggest being more aware of other people. This is a practice that you can do almost immediately. It only requires a change in the way you listen and become more sensitive to other people. Try active listening techniques. Read the full guide to learn more.
While there is no exact measurement to know whether or not you are, you can be more mindful of the actions you take. These include actions towards the environment and the people around you. As you become more aware of social and environmental issues you will have a better understanding of where you are and where you can do better. Check out the full guide to learn more.
References and Useful Resources
Business Impact NW: 5 Ways to Become a More Socially Conscious Business
Investopedia: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
ResearchGate: A Practical Approach for Developing Social Consciousness and Responsibility