Across Europe, the way in which we design, retrofit and improve office spaces is changing, with a major focus now on sustainability. Green offices are not only environmentally friendly and cost-efficient, but they also help to attract and retain talent from a generation of professionals who are passionate about carbon reduction.
Did you know that humans are currently consuming enough natural resources to exhaust 1.8 planets? In other words, if we continue with this rate of consumption, by 2050 we will need three planet earths to maintain the way we live (rootAbility).
It is statistics like this which have driven governments around the world to begin the regulation of carbon emissions, with an ultimate aim of achieving net zero in the medium to longer term. Setting out guidance and formalising deadlines is an essential part of worldwide progress, but so too is encouraging a total shift in how we think about our working environment and how we can create green offices that make our teams healthier, happier and more profitable.
Educating our employees and making the notion of green offices a part of company culture will elevate businesses above the basic necessities of achieving carbon reduction simply because they’ve been told to. It will create communities of people who are empowered to take those teachings further afield into other facets of their lives, making positive environmental changes such as improving their domestic recycling or choosing to drive an electric car.
Organisations which embrace the concept of a truly green office will attract and retain talent from a generation of workers more attuned to environmental preservation, as well as customers who share the same green ethos.
Green Offices: The Regulations
Commercial offices have been identified as a major contributor to carbon emissions in the UK and the industry has been forthcoming in its efforts to support the country’s net zero target in time for the deadline of 2050. The offices sector has worked closely with the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) to formulate strategic and achievable carbon reduction targets for offices all over the country.
Developed as an addition to the UKGBC’s landmark 2019 report ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition’, the targets are designed to encourage offices of all sizes to strive for net zero carbon emissions in operation.
Empowering Your Workforce
Regulations aside, empowering your workforce to make greener choices for the good of the planet and your company should be a key driver for business sustainability strategies moving forward. For example, implementing convenient recycling processes for lunchtime, choosing a sustainable stationery supplier and switching your fleet of company cars to electric vehicles (EVs) are actions with immediate, positive impact. Thinking green from the moment your colleagues leave home for their commute to the moment they return home again, will really boost your offices environmental credentials.
Green Offices, Inside and Out
Choosing to install electric car charging points in your car park is a clear demonstration of a progressive and environmentally conscious business. Not only will it enable you to switch your fleet to more cost-effective electric or hybrid vehicles, which are cheaper to maintain and use less fuel, but it will also attract customers who require these facilities and lower your National Insurance contributions too.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) has been set up to offer financial incentives to those businesses wanting to offer electric car charging stations as part of their green office initiatives, allowing you to claim up to £14,000 depending on the number of charging sockets you need.
Remember, green offices require more than regulation. They require leadership towards a complete mind shift. Empowering your workforce to strive towards greener processes both within the office, traveling to meetings and commuting will elevate your organisation towards achieving a higher level of environmental responsibility.