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  • Writer's pictureLynsey Woods

How To Achieve A Sustainable Workplace



According to JLL, commercial real estate is responsible for 40% of carbon emissions #yikes. A staggering statistic; collective efforts are being made to drastically reduce this figure, from the materials used in construction to everyday operational energy needs — businesses are uniquely positioned to pave the way toward a healthier, more resilient future. Although, there is still a way to go.


On the people front, a massive 65% of employees say they are more likely to work for a company with strong environmental policies (Rueter); meaning workers are concerned about how their employers address this global issue. As a result, sustainability is now playing a role in talent attraction and retention, with a growing trend of workers turning down job offers when a company’s ESG commitments are not in line with their values.

The value proposition of sustainable design and practices is undeniable – having a positive impact on the environment, business, and people with a strong link to productivity, wellbeing, and profitability; it is the way of the future, and it’s time to get on board (if you haven’t already).


The good news is, by 2025, 90% of CRE leaders will be on track to reduce operational energy use (smart heating, smart lightning, smart building technology, utilization tracking) - JLL, and the even better news for businesses; sustainable companies outperform industry peeps on key profitability metrics - according to Ernst & Young.


In this article, we dive into the benefits of going green, the steps you can take, and the areas of focus when creating a sustainable workplace.


BENEFITS AHOY!

The advantages of a sustainable office are widespread, affecting everything from employee wellbeing to the talent you attract, from social impact to smarter operational costs. Benefits of a sustainable workspace include:


HOW TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE OFFICE?

Designing a more sustainable space that promotes the well-being of people and the planet can be challenging. Project stakeholders often have different thoughts about what qualifies as healthy, sustainable design. A myriad of certification systems can make it difficult to compare the health and environmental properties of building materials, and it takes a lot of buy in, effort and investment. Here are three steps to get you started:


STEP 1: ESTABLISH GOALS

Establishing and emphasizing the importance of business sustainability goals is essential for long-term success, positive impact, and responsible corporate practices. You can start by:

Assessing your current efforts

Engaging employee and stakeholders

Setting SMART goals

Creating an action plan


STEP 2: IMPLEMENT

A multi-tiered and holistic approach is needed to properly execute a sustainable focused design within the workplace that aligns with a brand’s corporate social responsibility goals. Whether you are refurbishing or rebuilding, sustainability must be built-in to the heart of your office with design, construction, operations, and processes are all areas that need to be considered. Here are three areas you can focus on:


STEP 3: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Sustainability is never set-and-forget. The best way to ensure you keep up with truly sustainable office design is to instill a mindset of continuous improvement. Smart office technology will continue to improve; find new ways to implement tech to reduce your carbon footprint. There will be opportunities that arise to reuse and recycle in new ways; be sure to keep your eyes and ears open, so your company can take advantage. Prioritize educating the leaders and employees at your company to build meaningful, sustainable practices into their everyday activities. Continuous improvement is a sign of a company who truly cares about their impact on the world.


THE TIME IS NOW!

This new generation of passionate workers are demanding that their employers act on the pressing issue of climate change. If the numbers are any indication, these young professionals seem determined to make a difference by seeking out companies that share their dedication to this new era of sustainability, and you can too.


Sustainable choices don’t have to cost the earth and can organically evolve over time. You can begin small, by making intelligent furniture choices that utilize natural materials, for example, and by showing your workforce that you are taking strides to protect the environment and promote wellbeing will result in increased happiness, productivity, and loyalty. In turn, you will be contributing to a substantial reduction in waste, harmful chemicals, and pollution thanks to well-informed design.


WHAT CAN *YOU* DO?

Dive in. Start small, go big or go home, or just start. What’s the worst that could happen? You make a difference to the environment, and your people.


In your current office?

If you have an existing office and no immediate plans to refurbish, you can weave values of sustainability through the heart of your workspace and team. Check in with employees to learn what would improve their office experience; find opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle more; and plan how you’ll meet future ESG goals.


Starting from scratch?

The potential for sustainability is limitless if you are refurbishing or relocating entirely. Building a sustainable office starts *before* the construction does; a workplace design strategist will assess the needs of your business and team, then custom-build a sustainability plan to reduce your impact to the environment.


WHAT CAN *WE* DO?

PLENTY! Like you, we care about the planet, and we are passionate about creating future-proofed workplaces with people, purpose, and the environment in mind. To get you started, we can design a tailored road map to you achieve your sustainability goals, just drop us a line here.


One last word… Creating and implementing new sustainability processes takes time, but we hope the information we shared here demonstrates it’s worth doing. Don’t feel you need everything mapped out to begin. Think of one or two ways to improve the health and wellness of your office, document the process, and build from there.






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