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How Coworking Spaces Are Leading the Way in Sustainable Office Design

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When most people think of sustainability, the word ‘office’ isn’t typically the first that jumps to mind. With environmental, social, and governance factors at the top of the priority list for many businesses, and a workforce only increasing in the number of socially and environmentally-conscious Gen Z-ers, corporate decision-makers are now turning to workspace providers that can offer a sustainable office solution. 

Pair this with the ever-rising pressure of the current climate crisis and the need for a workspace that has a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing, and you start to understand why traditional office stock is falling behind in the race towards occupancy. 

For many coworking providers, implementing sustainable design is their bread and butter, and they have the right skillsets, stakeholder engagement, and networks to create sustainable office solutions that are genuinely impact-driven. The result? A happy planet, and happy (and healthy) employees. 

Here’s how many coworking providers are leading the way when it comes to sustainability. 

A view of a Hub Australia coworking space.

A Hub Australia location offering members plenty of natural sunlight.

They make the most of natural light

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many offices don’t make use of the ever-abundant resource that is sunlight. 

In the initial construction phase, many coworking providers ensure they implement sustainable office solutions, utilizing north-facing areas, ceiling-to-floor windows, and plenty of glass to let the optimum amount of natural light into a space. This means they rely less on using power to artificially light a space, reducing the carbon footprint of both themselves and their occupants.

They also apply sustainable office design, both from an aesthetic and environmental perspective, using shiny surfaces, light-colored reflective flooring, and light and bright interiors throughout. 

Natural light in a workspace doesn’t just do wonders for the environment, though. An abundance of studies have found that natural light makes happier, healthier, and more energized employees. It’s no wonder that 78% of employees say that access to natural light improves their well-being. 

They make ‘green’ commuting easy

A lot of thought has gone into where most major city-based coworking spaces are located, and it’s not just because of convenience. Coworking spaces tend to be thoughtfully placed to make ‘green’ commuting easy—that is, commuting via bike or foot—being located near bike paths, thoroughfares, and easy-to-get-to routes.

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What’s more, their amenities are built to support bike commuting, with state-of-the-art end of trips facilities including showers, lockers, and even hairdryers, as well as secure bike storage and bike repair kits.

A view of a Hub Australia coworking space.

Another Hub Australia coworking location, featuring sustainable design elements.

Your carbon emissions are offset 

Like many other businesses—including airlines, hotels, and even online retailers—carbon offsets are important to coworking providers. Offsetting carbon emissions in a home office setting can be hard to navigate, and many traditional commercial offices simply don’t have the resources or expertise to track the offsets of their occupying businesses.

Coworking spaces have the unique advantage of being in close contact with their business community, putting them in the ideal place of being able to monitor carbon footprints with regular surveys and consistently tracked data. As a result, all carbon emissions created by coworking space staff and members are offset, including emissions when commuting to and from work. 

They open themselves up to audits and certifications 

Coworking providers take their sustainability practices one step further, committing to globally-recognized certifications and audits to support their impact goals. Certifications such as B Corp, carbon neutral by Climate Active, and WELL Health-Safety are all common certifications seen in the coworking and flexible workspace industry. They all do their bit in communicating to coworking communities that they are working from a space that meets the highest global standards of social and environmental performance, and health and safety. 

They’re committed to creating the best workplace experience  

Above all else, coworking spaces exist to provide a space for businesses to carry out their best work. This mission is weaved into every element of operations at coworking spaces, and it’s clear that sustainability and employee health and well-being go hand-in-hand. 

Unlike their traditional office stock counterparts, coworking spaces are built for optimizing the workplace experience of their members, including looking out for the communities and surrounding environments of where their members call home. 

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About Author

Brad Krauskopf is the founder and CEO of Hub Australia, Australia’s largest privately held coworking space provider, providing premium spaces to growing businesses across the country. Hub Australia has seven locations across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, supporting over 3000 members and businesses.

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