Sustainable workplaces are high on the list of requirements as employees return to the office after three years of working from home, writes Greg King-Evans.
As increasing numbers of workers return to offices in 2023 following three years of COVID-19 restrictions and working-from-home arrangements, Australian businesses are being urged to put sustainability at the forefront of post-pandemic workplaces.
“The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime so making offices sustainable should be a priority for all companies,” says Jenny Folley, founder and CEO of @WORKSPACES.
“As staff return to the office post-COVID-19, they are demanding companies take action to ensure their workplaces are eco-friendly.
“In the current environment of labour shortages and the desire to work from home, staff are warning businesses that if they don’t improve their approach to sustainability, they won’t return to the office and they will look for a job elsewhere.”
With sites across Australia and overseas, @WORKSPACES is a premium private office and coworking space provider offering flexible office arrangements, shared facilities, business support services, and health and wellbeing services.
“Our business has been implementing sustainable operating practices for many years,” says Folley.
“We will soon be rolling out a new private office and coworking model powered by renewable energy and supporting 100 per cent recycling of all waste and used materials.
“All offices should be making a commitment to going green.
“There are so many ways companies can make a difference, many of which are easy to roll out and implement so everyone can jump onboard immediately.”
Simple ways for offices to go green
Plants and natural light
“Bringing plant life into the office is one of the easiest things you can do, and the benefits are boundless,” says Folley.
“Having greenery in the office space has been linked to workers being more productive, healthier and less stressed. Indoor plants also improve air quality.
“Natural light in an indoor space is not just an economic benefit, it’s a natural enhancer of human life.
“Our bodies are intrinsically linked to circadian rhythms pertaining to the light cycles of day and night. [Artificial] indoor light is a major disruptor of our body’s circadian rhythms.”
“Where possible, remove old energy guzzling machines and replace them with efficient models,” says Folley.
“Turn off machines when they are not in use. If you can turn off your computer instead of letting it go into sleep mode, this saves 40 watts of power per day.
“Also, ensure lights are power saving, and convert lights to sensor lights to ensure power is being minimised.”
Reduce, reuse and recycle
“Remember the ‘3Rs’: reduce, reuse and recycle,” says Folley.
“It may not be possible to go completely paperless, but companies are able to reduce their paper trail by using e-documents.
“Beyond just recycling paper, companies can implement recycling for printer cartridges and toners, batteries, mobile phones and stationery such as used pens, markers, correction tape and mechanical pencils.”
Eco-friendly cleaning products
“Using environmentally friendly cleaning products is a simple change to make, but it can make a difference,” says Folley.
“There is such a great range of eco-friendly, natural-based products on the market so it’s easy to get the office clean without nasty chemicals that pollute the environment.”