The hybrid work model provides the platform to realise innovative ideas and practices which can reduce everyone’s use of the earths’ resources and make business more sustainable.
With COP27 refocusing the world’s attention on the state of the planet, it’s clear that organisations of all kinds have a challenge on their hands to reduce their impact on the environment and operate in a more sustainable way. Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) targets are now high on the business agenda and since buildings are responsible for around 40% of global energy consumption and 33% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is only natural that how offices are created and used should fall under the spotlight.
Recognising this impact and working towards greater sustainability has become an essential part of business strategy, as companies increase their focus on meeting and exceeding ESG expectations.
One way of addressing the impact of your business is by considering a hybrid working model. So how can this way of increasing flexibility around how and where people work help? Here are some of the key wins:
1: Cut the Commute
The hybrid work model reduces the amount of commuting, as employees no longer need to travel to their central HQ each day, with the option working from home or at a local flexspace. As a result, hybrid work also helps companies cut their carbon footprint. IWG research shows this aspect of work-life to be significant among employees too – 76% of office workers believe cutting the commute is an important step in fighting the climate crisis while 84% consider it to be one of the benefits of hybrid work.
The ability to work closer to home can also unlock greener ways to travel to work. Public transport may be an easier option, for example, while local flexspaces can allow workers to walk or cycle to the office. Like many IWG locations, Spaces House Modernes in Utrecht has room for 900 bicycles, including power-points for e-bikes. Many office locations now provide electric vehicle charge points, and this feature will continue to grow in the future.
2: Better Buildings
Thoughtfully designed office buildings can reduce environmental impact and the fabric of office buildings can be a source of sustainable credentials. The IWG Spaces Tullinløkka location in Oslo is built from 100% reclaimed or recycled materials, many of them saved from refurbished or demolished buildings from across the city. Through this use of existing products, the build was achieved with a 95% reduction of CO₂ emissions. Having shown what is possible, this building now presents an exciting blueprint for the future.
3: Employee behaviour
Employers can reduce their business’ environmental impact by introducing workplace policies to help everyone work more sustainably. Simple steps such as sharing documents electronically and collaborating online reduces dependency on paper-based hard copy.
General office materials can be responsibly sourced, recycled and/or reduced in their use – no single use plastic cups, for example. A large number of small adjustments made across different practices reduces the impact of your business on the planet, and reduces cost at the same time.
4: Optimised use of space
Environmentally friendly workplaces and buildings are designed closely around actual use. This means there are less wasted resources from the start. Office management which considers who could be in the building in blunt numbers rather than looking at what those employees may be doing, or whether they will be there at the same time, will always overestimate what resources that office needs to operate.
Even the initial figures for how many office workers will be in one space at one time will not necessarily be correct. By understanding how and when work is carried out, by whom and what they require to be successful, the office, both in building and in operation, can be matched far more closely to a business’ true requirements. Doing this will automatically result in less waste, greater efficiency in term of energy and facilities use and better value for money for the business.
Delivering a better environmental impact is an ongoing journey rather than a destination and IWG is continually improving the performance of its operations, specifically aiming to reduce energy and water consumption as well as improving its recycling and waste services. Every time improvements are made, everyone who uses the centres also benefits and, of course, the planet benefits too.
IWG is at the forefront of improving the environmental impact of the office – and by working with us, you can be there too.