Is your return to the office sustainable?

General | 26 July 2021

Is your return to the office sustainable?

Whilst the guidance for office workers in Northern Ireland remains to be stay at home if possible, the hybrid working model is likely to be adopted across many businesses across the UK. This allows employees to combine office working and home working as they and their employees see fit. With this in mind, it is likely that businesses are thinking of returning to the office, at least part-time.

Is your office sustainable for this change? Whilst the split between office working and home working has its own environmental benefits like reduced commuting to the office and therefore reduced emissions, it is important to encourage energy efficient behaviour for this return. In addition to saving your company money and reducing emissions, employers are under pressure to make sure their environmental stance is clear to current and potential staff. According to The Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study, 64% of millennial workers won’t take a job if the business does not have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Encouraging reusable face coverings

Face masks have become part of our everyday lives and are unlikely to go away fully any time soon. In spite of significant progress made over recent years to reduce single-use plastics, disposable face masks have had a harmful effect on the world’s plastic waste problem. Washable, reusable face masks are much more environmentally friendly. Providing your employees with these initially is a great first step towards a sustainable office and a gesture to welcome back staff whilst also reminding employees of expectations when it comes to Covid safety at work.

Using eco-friendly cleaning products

Cleaning has become more important than ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, with hand sanitiser stations in every shop, restaurant and soon – every office space. It is important to research which sanitisers and cleaning products are best for the environment when choosing for your office space. Using biodegradable and non-harmful disinfectants can both help keep staff safe as well as being environmentally friendly and less triggering to those with allergies or pre-existing breathing difficulties.

Implementing screens in-between desks

Having seen many cafes and restaurants across the UK introduce screens as safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, many businesses will also implement screens between desks. Whilst many of these screens are acrylic, there are more eco-friendly options available such as cardboard, glass or repurposed plastic screens.

Going paperless

The home working set up has led to less paper waste. Many businesses have gone entirely digital-only for ease of sharing. This has positively impacted the environment and many businesses’ contribution to sustainability and carbon emission reduction. Upon returning to the office, it is important to maintain this positive change and if cutting out paper fully is not an option, make sure you recycle all paper and print paper on both sides. Switching to hand dryers is also a great way to reduce paper waste in company restrooms.

Introducing plants

As well as making your office look brighter and trendier, adding plants to your office space is a simple change that also has environmental benefits. Plants emit oxygen and reduce air pollution, making your workspace cleaner and healthier to breathe. A simple but effective change!

The past year has hit the reset button for many local businesses through a forced step back from what we once considered standard working practices. As businesses continue to welcome their staff back into the office, 3T Power is partnering with business leaders to support their sustainable journeys back to work. The team at 3T Power is encouraging business leaders to not lose sight of the environmentally  positive changes made in the past year. Contact our team for a conversation about how we can help to support your green objectives.

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