Paint your office green
Offices with green policies have fewer work-related illnesses and happier staff, according to a 2006 study run by Maria Shirey in the American Journal of Critical Care. Here are five tips for a greener, perkier office:
88 Use water to save water
“The solutions are all around us,” says Niranjan Khatri, general manager of WelcomEnviron Initiatives at the Gurgaon-headquartered ITC Green Centre. For instance, placing a one-litre bottle of water in the flush tank of the toilet reduces the amount of water flushed each time. The solution works based on the simple principle of water displacement. “It’s a no-cost idea, and it works.”
89 Adopt recyclable products
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), for example, takes back injured or spent printer cartridges. Manu Sharma, HP’s country category manager of commercial supplies, says companies returning spent cartridges to HP earn loyalty points which can be redeemed for a whole range of products including microwave ovens, cars and television sets. The recycled metal and plastic components of the returned cartridges are used to manufacture products such as clothes hangers, shoe soles and fence posts. (Cartridges available at www.hp.com/cartridges)
90 Compost waste
Daily Dump’s Leave-It pot costs Rs400 and can be used to dispose of everything, from used tea bags to paper waste and food remains. Company founder Poonam Bir Kasturi says the thread and paper in a tea bag are actually good for the composting process because they are a source of carbon, which aids the process of aerobic decomposition—a chemical reaction that breaks down materials in the presence of oxygen. Offices can either use the resulting manure for their gardening needs or ask Daily Dump to take it. The company currently offers its services in Bangalore and Chennai and will make its products and services available in New Delhi and Mumbai by March. (www.dailydump.org)
91 Give people light
“Reverse the trend of giving the bosses the corner offices with the outside view,” says Gaurav Shorey, area convener at the The Energy and Resources Institute’s (Teri’s) Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment in New Delhi. This and knocking down those partitions in the office space will enhance the flow of air and provide natural light through the office.
92 Paint the roof white
Pearly white high-albedo paint reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere, thereby cooling the interiors and lowering the need to have air-conditioning on all the time in the work space. Shorey explains the concept with the analogy of sitting in a black car versus a white car on a hot summer’s day. Use a coat of chuna (whitewash) or broken china mosaic tiles to achieve a similar effect. (Chuna is available at most paint retailers. High-albedo paint has to be imported.)
93 Forget the house in the country
Commuting may be the worst possible contributing factor to unhappiness in developed nations. In fact, Colombia has jumped up the happiness scales in large part thanks to the eclectic former mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa, who subscribed to “hedonics”, a philosophy focused not on economic growth but human happiness. In 1997, in the Colombian capital, he instituted Dia Sin Carro, a car-free day on 1 February every year, and limited the amount of driving time for the rest of the year. Less traffic has created a drop in murder rates and a hike in happiness.
94 Set free your inner actor
Acting coach Smriti Agarwal shapes the future management of the country by making them play games, get up on a stage and improvise emotions to work on their interpersonal skills. Agarwal conducts one-month and three-month acting courses for small groups of people to “increase their capability of leadership and managing the team.” Groups consist of six to eight people and courses are held four times a year. Contact Creative Colony at www.creativecolony.org or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
95 Give your money away
If you manage to get your bonus this year, give it away. Really. A 2008 study at the University of British Columbia in Canada showed that people who spent even as little as $5 (around Rs250) on other people or on charity were far happier than those who only spent it on themselves.
Happy at the top
Corporate bigwigs weigh in on what makes them smile
96 I think self-belief is what makes us happy and successful. I have seen this everywhere, from the cricket field to the current terror attacks in Mumbai. Every single person you’ll meet in the city will say that we will not take this lying down, but it will not kill us. The world suddenly loves all things Indian—Kerala, Rajasthan, Ratan Tata, the IT industry, Indian authors. I think it all comes from self-belief.
Darshan Mehta, CEO and MD, Reliance Brands Pvt. Ltd
97 Food and alcohol make Indians happy. After a great meal, for the moment, everyone is in high spirits.
Ashwin Deo, CEO (South Asia), Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd
98 In our business, when the markets fall, people think it will never go back up again. And then it goes up, they never think it will fall again. What goes up will come down. And what goes down will go up. Knowing that alone will make you happy in any situation.
Motilal Oswal, chairman and MD, Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd
99 I’m very happy partly because I’m an optimistic kind of guy. I tend to see the glass half-full instead of half-empty. And I see my purpose as ‘How do I make the half-full glass full-full?’ I try to look for a silver lining.
Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman, Infosys Technologies Ltd
100 Well, there’s this book, ‘Notes to Myself’ by Hugh Prather, which has this small paragraph that starts: ‘I shall give up the pursuit of glory, and seek pleasure in the sunset, in the rain on the window...’ and so on and so forth. As you get older, you realize that the pursuit of glory never gives you happiness. It’s the other things—the pleasure of the sunset, or the rain on the window—that gives happiness.
Prahlad Kakar, CEO, Genesis Features
101 What makes Indians happy? Cricket, monsoon, movies and religion. What makes a businessman happy? Profits, growth and respect.
Anurag Behar, MD, Wipro Infrastructure Engineering