1. Integrating new ways of working
While the health crisis has acted as an accelerator in many areas, the organisation of work is undoubtedly one of those that has been most affected. The Multiburo survey during the summer of 2021 on new work organisations1, for example, shows that 8 out of 10 employees now aspire to a hybrid mode, teleworking 2 or 3 days a week. 38% even say they are ready to change employer if the latter were to impose a return to 100% face-to-face work2!
For companies, such a strategic choice means greater attractiveness to talent, financial savings, but also environmental benefits. Indeed, giving employees the opportunity to work off-site has the natural consequence of reducing the use of transport – a sector responsible for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions in France3. Increasing use of teleworking, limiting business travel, encouraging the use of bicycles and public transport: these are all important levers for reducing the company’s emissions.
2. Limit unused square metres
Implementing a mix of face-to-face and teleworking employees will naturally have an impact on the company’s real estate strategy. The challenge? Managing to adapt its surface area precisely to the work organisation. The objective here is to find the right balance to offer optimal conditions to employees while avoiding unused workstations. Empty workspace inevitably leads to financial and energy costs.
Reducing the number of square metres means reducing its environmental impact, in particular by limiting heating and electricity (linked to lighting, computers and air conditioning), the two main sources of carbon emissions, but also the needs linked to various items (Internet, telephone, etc.).
3. Optimise the layout of your workspace
The energy consumption of a space is rarely a decisive criterion when choosing a new location. However, various elements deserve special attention, starting with the brightness of the premises: in addition to being highly beneficial to the human body, natural lighting has the great advantage of drastically reducing electricity consumption. The quality of the insulation of the premises is also a determining factor. An energy sieve is synonymous with heat loss in winter and cold in summer… at a major environmental cost.
Generally speaking, the idea when designing a new workspace is to limit as much as possible the use of the artificial and to favour the diversity of spaces: natural light, acoustics, insulation, circulation, etc.
4. Develop an internal environmental culture
In the end, a company’s environmental record is, to a large extent, linked to the sum of its employees’ daily actions. It is management’s responsibility to make its teams aware of the consequences of their actions on the planet. Engaging and visible communication on the premises, specific training, dedicated competitions, informal exchanges… everything is good to remind them of the behaviours that, put together, can make a big difference.
Some examples of these best practices are easy to adopt:
- Use energy only when necessary, so remember to turn off computers, printers, and photocopiers.
- Schedule automatic shutdowns at night and at weekends.
- Clean up hard drives regularly to free up space and get better performance.
- Get into the habit of turning down the heating and, where possible, doing without air conditioning.
- Prefer double-sided printing, limiting paper consumption to what is strictly necessary.
- Practise collective sorting in the bins provided by the company.
- Bring your own mug to drink tea and coffee, rather than using disposable cups, etc.
Flexible workspaces: key environmental benefits
Start-ups, SMEs and large groups alike have a solution to benefit from most of the advantages mentioned above: opt for a flexible workspace. Indeed, using flexible real estate (private offices à la carte or with a minimum commitment period, coworking spaces, meeting rooms, virtual office services), with turnkey, modular and scalable formulas, gives you the opportunity to adapt your premises to your current needs, in a “tailor-made” logic.
What’s the key? The end of unused square metres, with the possibility of benefiting from precious flexibility in the daily management of one’s space (modular offices and/or coworking and/or meeting rooms, etc.) as well as one’s time (office by the day, by the week, by the month). In addition to a substantial economic gain, avoiding any loss of space puts an end to numerous sources of environmental waste, linked to both heating and electricity consumption and the purchase of professional furniture and equipment. Another way to limit waste is to use shared services. Moving from a logic of possession to a logic of service is notably the way to avoid the multiplication of appliances that are most often unused (printers, coffee machines, microwaves, etc.).