What "The Office" Can Teach Us About Sustainability
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What “The Office” Can Teach Us About Sustainability

Ryan Manse

Ryan Manse, Associate Technical Consultant

A typical image of an office is desks, computers, copious amounts of paper printing, coffee cups, water bottles, and an endless list of other items that may or may not be sustainable.

Here at Perficient, we have a dedicated group of individuals who we call the “Perficient Green Team.”

One of these team members is Ryan Manse. Ryan is an Associate Technical Consultant. He produces client deliverables, gains an understanding of the unique business and technical requirements to facilitate the most appropriate solution design. Ryan also has more tasks aligned to helping assist in the technical implementation process. 

The Surplus

Ryan told me that explaining sustainability concepts comes easier to him because of the regular “translations” he provides as part of his job as a consultant, humorously similar to the clip below from “The Office, starring Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, the enthusiastic, albeit misguided, regional manager of a mid-level paper supply company.

The Office – LI5 Surplus from Ryan Faucett on Vimeo.

In this scene, Michael Scott is having one of the company’s accountants, Oscar, tell him that the company has a surplus of funds that has to be spent by the end of the day. As Michael is unfamiliar with the exact meaning of surplus, he says to Oscar, “Why don’t you explain this to me like I’m an eight-year-old.” After he still doesn’t fully grasp what the company surplus means, he says again to Oscar, “Why don’t you explain this to me like I’m five.”

In Ryan’s words, being a technical consultant at Perficient has the same sentiment. He works to understand the business needs and communicates that to both the developers and the client. If he doesn’t ask the right questions of the developers on the backend, it may lead to the rework of components that are already done. This means more money and time are spent on a project. He’s able to take this same skill set and apply it to educate others about sustainability.

Dream Team

Outside of Ryan’s regular office duties, he serves as the President of the Green Team, which he explained: “means THE WORLD”. Emphasis on all caps. For many reasons, this is true for him.

As we sat at lunch, I asked Ryan why he felt so strongly about his involvement with the Green Team.

Ryan said that he feels it is important to do something more than just your job at work.

He explained that being involved in organizations, like a Green Team, at work allows you to meet other people across your company. For instance, I’m in marketing so without the Green Team, Ryan and I may never have been able to meet.

“By making these connections, you get the chance to meet other engaged, conscious employees that have vast talents outside of their day-to-day responsibilities.” 

Green Team at Recycling center

Green Team members take a tour of a local recycling center.

Going Beyond the Day to Day Tasks

Take Ryan as an example. While great at his technical job, he is also an avid researcher of sustainability issues and matters.

He even challenged the readers of this blog to look up the fact that “sustainability is cheaper.”

He explained there are scientists out in the field, researching and collecting data to better understand sustainability and our impact on the planet. As Ryan has delved deeper into this research, he has found that it is vital to take care of Earth. In doing so, sustainability becomes the cheapest option we have. Although the cost may not seem “cheap,” we have to take these steps for the future.

The Alliance

As the Green Team president, Ryan takes his role seriously to ensure that Perficient is doing its part to create a better, more sustainable world. That begins with creating a unified message across the company that is collaborative to gather more members to enact more change. While the Green Team started with an initiative to get rid of disposable cups in the office, he enjoys seeing it grow and evolve within the company. 

Green business challenge st louis

Ryan, with other members of the Green Team, posed alongside an alpaca from the St. Louis Zoo at the Green Business Challenge Awards Luncheon.

Starting Your Personal Sustainability Journey

But where can we all start on our personal sustainability journey?

Ryan suggests we bring the idea back to a basic understanding. It’s like Oscar explaining surplus to Michael as if he were five. We have to teach ourselves the basics of living a sustainable life before we can affect change at a larger level. As the mission of the Green Team develops at its base level, the group will create an understanding ready for a five-year-old, an eight-year-old, and beyond.

So, what don’t you know about sustainability and how can we help? Let us know in the comments below! (Bonus points if you also list your favorite episode of The Office!)

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