Moving Forward – a Sustainable Focus

One of the more positive outcomes of this global pandemic is that we are faced with the opportunity to make some real and positive changes to our working lives.

We have a clear responsibility to our teams and all visitors to our workplaces to offer the best protection against the virus that we can. We also have the chance to effect a greater degree of responsibility to the environment and I suspect, moving forward, many of us will have greener offices  as a result.

The impact of working from home on our psyche

Recent surveys have indicated that most office-based workers would like to work from home a lot more, after the pandemic abates.

Certainly, priorities have shifted quite a lot and many of us have re-considered what works best for us. Having experienced the positives, including a slower pace, no commute and a better work life balance, many employees would like to continue to work a proportion of their working hours and days from home.

Introducing a work from home and office approach

Adopting a hybrid style of home and office-based working will reduce the amount of office space required. Many companies may well finesse a more agile style of working, having conducted their own analysis to assess exactly how much desk space is needed, and will reduce the amount of  present members of staff in the office.

Less bodies in the office at any given time means less space will be needed in the long-term, along with less electricity used and gases emitted from these commercial zones. It also means less commuters and less people on the roads, which will make our towns and cities cleaner and more eco-friendly spaces.

Office equipment

A percentage of workers have got used to working without printers and photocopiers during the time spent working from home.

There will be huge efforts made across the board to reduce touch points as people return to the office and this will include those machines. It’s likely that we will continue to manage with a reduced amount of such items as lockdown has lasted long enough for changes in our habits to have been formed. We will probably manage with less office equipment in the short, medium and long-term.

We’ve been forced to adopt an eco-friendlier approach and this is our chance to carry it forward and reduce the amount of these machines. We should embrace it.

Food and drink

Our office catering options will also radically change in the short to medium term. Kitchen areas and canteen facilities are unlikely to be in use and so we will be bringing in food from home rather than heating up ready meals or boiling kettles.

Some offices may well opt to remove shared catering tools such as fridges and microwaves in order to minimize the risk of any spread of infection. This, again, will reduce the shared carbon footprint.

We will probably be eating more healthily when we return to the workplace, having possibly over-indulged during lockdown. We may also want to compensate for moving around less and not going out so much.

In summary

There will be many challenges to overcome as we negotiate our way through the next steps. However, it’s worth remembering that such a period of overwhelming discord does open up some possibility.

We have a chance to reimagine the workplace and to set new boundaries – and this includes making collective, environmental, wellbeing choices.