Creating a healthy, eco-friendly workplace is becoming ever more of a priority for many businesses. Savills reports that demand for green certified office space is growing across the globe, with cities like London, New York, Paris and Shanghai leading the way.
Fuelling this demand is today’s eco-minded workforce. Research confirms that 90% of office workers believe a sustainable workplace can positively impact on their wellbeing and that of the planet. For 34% of that cohort, a sustainable workplace is of more importance than an annual bonus payment. Perhaps of greater concern for businesses navigating the talent gap is the confirmation that around three in 10 workers would consider handing in their resignation letter if their company didn’t demonstrate a tangible commitment to sustainability.
Additional research reveals that around 80% of people want to see their employers investing in an eco-friendlier workplace. The good news is that creating a greener, more sustainable office space doesn’t have to be as much of a challenge as you may think. Here are a few easy ways to make your existing workplace more sustainable:
Maximise natural light
There’s a growing awareness of the link between our own individual health and the health of the planet. So much so, 83% of us now believe the environment plays a direct role in our wellbeing– and 37% of us think a lack of natural light in the office has had a negative impact on our health.
To ensure that your teams are happy and healthy – as well as making your space more sustainable- consider how you can maximise natural light within the workplace. If feasible, installing skylights and larger windows allows light to flood in, and can keep energy costs down.
Using glass panels rather than plasterboard or brick walls to create internal offices and meeting spaces is another easy way to ensure an optimal flow of natural light.
Keeping clutter to a minimum and avoiding large, bulky items of furniture also opens up the space while mirrors can bounce light around, creating the illusion of a lighter space.
Embrace renewable energy
Getting some of your energy from renewable sources is another easy way to bolster your office’s green credentials. Having solar panels fitted to the roof is one option, but you can also factor renewable energy into your interior office design – for example by having a low carbon heat recovery pump installed to capture excess heat in the building and use it to heat water for bathrooms and radiators.
Install a green wall
Bringing the outside inside in the form of a living green wall is a small but powerful way to boost both sustainability and wellness. While plants are said to help reduce stress levels, promote calmness and aid in relaxation, they also fulfil a practical function. A vibrant living wall can muffle sounds, meaning they’re useful for reducing noise levels in busy offices and they improve air quality by absorbing CO2 and dust.
When installed outside, living walls absorb sunlight, therefore helping to keep the interior of the building cooler. This can remove the need for energy-intensive cooling systems.
Swap to eco-friendly lighting
Swapping out older light fixtures and fittings for more energy efficient options can also boost sustainability levels. Consider using zone and task lighting, with longer lasting LED bulbs installed throughout.
Be mindful of material origins
Many materials travel great distances to end up in our offices, increasing their carbon footprint. Their manufacturing and production processes can also be detrimental to the environment. When sourcing fixtures, fittings, and furniture – whether for a brand new fit-out or as items need replacing – consider the origin of the material and how it’s transported. Simple swaps such as opting for bamboo over some woods or metals can have a big impact, while recycled and upcycled materials sourced locally are also more sustainable choices.
When considering floor and wall coverings, seek out low VOC materials to positively impact air quality.