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Why Office Sustainability Is No Longer a Nice-To-Have, But a Must-Have

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As the world grapples with climate change, businesses and individuals are becoming increasingly conscious of their impact on the planet.

Flexible workspace providers are now stepping up to the challenge of reducing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices for the sake of both their own operations and those of their members. 

Why is office sustainability important?

Sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years, but what does it actually mean in the context of flexible workspaces? In an office setting, implementing sustainable practices can cover everything from taking the steps to reduce carbon emissions to using sustainability-focused suppliers for fit-outs and construction services. 

The importance of office sustainability can’t be overstated. Commercial buildings account for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and a huge 24% of a country’s electricity use. This means flexible workspace providers have a unique opportunity to lead the way in promoting sustainable practices in the workplace. And, as consumer demand for eco-friendly workspaces continues to grow, those that fail to prioritize sustainability risk falling behind their competitors. 

When it comes to the benefits of sustainability in the office, the list extends beyond the obvious positive outcomes for the environment. For starters, sustainable practices can significantly decrease operating costs and improve the bottom line. By implementing energy-efficient systems across their flexible workspaces, operators can lower utility bills while also reducing their carbon footprint. 

By prioritizing sustainable practices, flexible workspace providers can also improve the overall experience for their tenants. Plenty of studies have shown that employees who work in sustainable environments are more productive, healthier, and happier than those who work in offices with little to no eco-friendly practices. Beyond this, sustainability can help foster a sense of community and shared values among members who are part of for-purpose businesses or who have a personal interest in doing good for the planet and its people. 

Ultimately, sustainable practices can be a key differentiator for flexible workspace providers in a crowded market. By promoting your genuine commitment to sustainability, you can potentially attract a broader customer base and appeal to businesses and individuals who prioritize environmental responsibility in their decision-making process.

A view of a Hub Australia coworking space.

Why are organizations seeking out sustainable flexible workspaces?

Environmental concerns

There’s no denying that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the globe, from more frequent and severe natural disasters to rising sea levels. As a result, many people are looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint and make a positive impact on the planet.

One way to do this is by choosing a workspace that prioritizes sustainability. By working in a space that engages in practices like using renewable energy sources, committing to environmental certifications, and offsetting carbon emissions, businesses can work knowing their impact on the environment while they work is — for the most part — taken care of. 

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Government incentives and shareholder pressure

Many governments around the globe have begun implementing environmental regulations to combat climate change and protect the planet. As a result, companies are now obligated to adhere to these norms and reduce their environmental footprint. Some governments are even offering tax incentives and financial grants to businesses opting for eco-friendly practices. 

This combination of regulatory compliance and financial benefits has made sustainability a crucial component of business operations. Companies that fail to comply with environmental regulations risk facing hefty fines and reputational damage.

Investors and shareholders are also increasingly recognizing the value of sustainability for long-term business success. They now consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions. Companies that implement sustainable practices are better positioned to attract investment, maintain a stable financial position, and ensure long-term growth. 

Improved employee experience

Employees who work in a sustainable workspace are more likely to be satisfied with their work environment. This is because sustainable practices often lead to a more comfortable work environment that improves their wellbeing, through the use of things like natural lighting and indoor plants to improve air quality.

Employees working in ‘green’ offices are less likely to suffer from headaches, respiratory problems or allergies, leading to fewer days lost due to illness. A healthier workforce tends to be more productive, motivated, and engaged, which can translate into a more efficient and profitable organization.

Above all, sustainable office practices can help contribute to creating a positive work culture. Employees who feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing and the environment are more likely to feel satisfied with their job and committed to the company’s mission. 

Brand reputation

Businesses that prioritize sustainability almost always improve their brand reputation and attract environmentally-conscious customers and clients. By choosing a sustainable flexible workspace, they can align their brand with these values and appeal to a broader customer base. This is something that’s particularly important for businesses that operate in industries where environmental concerns are top of mind. 

Of course, knowing where to start can be hard. With so many facets of sustainability out there, it can get overwhelming. In terms of advice I’d offer to other flexible workspace providers out there, I’d suggest starting with the B Corp Certification, as it forces you to document things you’re doing that may already be sustainable practices and will help you uncover any ‘gaps’ in your operations.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the B Corp Certification, at Hub we recently looked back on our last 10 years as a B Corp and our experiences getting certified and recertified throughout the years: https://www.hubaustralia.com/impact/celebrating-10-years-as-a-b-corp-at-hub-australia/ 

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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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