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4 Ways L&D Teams Can Help Create a Greener Digital Workplace

October 20, 2022 | by SumTotal Blog | 3 min read

Business leaders are finally turning their attention towards climate change — but the World Economic Forum cautions that many of us still have blind spots when it comes to our organizations’ environmental impact.

Consider, for instance, digital transformation.

Information and communications technology (ICT) is predicted to consume more than 20% of global electricity demand by 2030. With tech stacks using so much energy (and requiring land to be cleared for server farms), how can companies counter all this consumption? More specifically, what can those of us in the learning and development field do to help?

Simply put, start by voting with your purchasing budget. In addition to evaluating your L&D software purchases against your usual internal purchasing criteria, you’ll want to:

1. Make Sure the L&D Software Is Using Efficient Coding Practices

Look for vendors who practice green coding. Coding has become increasingly sophisticated over time, resulting in complex or redundant code that bogs down software platforms’ back ends and extends processing times. Green coding cuts back on excess code by keeping software simple and streamlined.

While green coding is only just becoming best practice, L&D software that prioritize solution efficiency and reduced processing times is out there. The less time you waste with clunky software, the less energy your business will burn on ICT.

2. Switch to a Flexible Self-Service L&D Solution to Cut Down on In-Person Training

In-person training can have a substantial environmental cost, with the expenses of transporting learners to training facilities, heating and lighting, and providing printed materials all piling up. Without a validated and easy-to-use learning solution, many companies feel tied to in-person sessions — especially for mission-critical learning content like compliance training.

Instead of relying on in-person programs to meet regulations, L&D teams should focus on finding and deploying a learning solution that can deliver consistent results. This way, you can cut down on in-person training needs while increasing average per-person learning hours.

Find out how Encore used SumTotal to transform its information learning technology (ILT) program into a hybrid ILT and eLearning solution, serving more than 10,000 employees and successfully navigating a complex regulatory environment.

3. Encourage Mobile Learning and Ensure All L&D Digital Resources Are Mobile-Friendly

Because mobile is designed to have a long battery life, it consumes less energy than laptops and desktops. However, at companies that rely on learning solutions not intended for mobile use, employees are forced to log onto their computers every time they want to learn. In addition to racking up energy consumption-related costs, this approach is less convenient for learners — and typically, inconvenience translates to low employee engagement rates.

4. Educate Employees About Environmentally Friendly Ways to Use Technology

Knowledge is power. To raise awareness of how to create a greener tech stack, why not integrate microlearning resources within your employees’ existing workflow? If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few quick and easy tips you can provide:

  • Tidy up your email. Data storage takes up electricity. With that in mind, you can reduce your storage by deleting old emails, unsubscribing from newsletters you don’t read, and blocking spam as best you can.
  • Use a laptop. On average, a desktop computer can consume around 60 to 200 watts per hour, while a laptop’s typical consumption ranges from 20 to 50 watts.
  • Maximize device life cycles. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a familiar adage that’s applicable in many settings, and the workplace is no exception. Encourage employees to take care of and repair — rather than replace — their devices when possible.

Believe it or not, simple steps like the recommendations outlined above can have a major positive impact on your organization’s carbon footprint.

Building a Greener Workplace

Members of today’s workforce are increasingly seeking employers that offer attractive employee value propositions and have a proven track record of climate awareness. We all have a part to play when it comes to building a greener workplace, and L&D teams can contribute by providing engaging resources that encourage greener workplace habits and support mobile-friendly, remote learning.

If you’d like to learn more about how SumTotal Systems can help your L&D team meet critical business goals and make a positive impact, click here.

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