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A blueprint for designing a greener office

Prioritising sustainability while planning workplaces is key for several reasons

The shift to conscious workspaces is a necessity, not just a choice.
The shift to conscious workspaces is a necessity, not just a choice. (iStockphoto)

Sustainable workspaces have become imperative in the modern business landscape, serving as a response to environmental challenges. According to a report by Adobe, released in April 2023, 41% of executives ranked sustainability at the workplace as one of their top three metrics for business success. The Adobe Sustainability Report is a survey of 1,009 Indians, aged 18 and older, who are employed, either full or part-time. By prioritising sustainability, workplaces not only reduce ecological footprints but also enhance brand reputation and image, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers and investors. The allure of conscious workspaces extends to talent attraction. Here are five ways one can make their workspaces greener.

1) Optimise energy usage: Streamline energy usage by investing in efficient lighting systems with sensors. These lighting systems contribute to energy savings by adjusting illumination based on occupancy and natural light levels. By responding to real-time conditions, these smart lighting systems prevent unnecessary energy consumption and reduce electricity usage.

Also read: Let’s talk about the quality of air you breathe at office

2) Green break rooms: This involves purposeful design to provide employees with relaxing and environmentally conscious spaces within the office. These areas are designated for rejuvenation, fostering a sense of well-being amidst the demands of the workday. By integrating nature-inspired aesthetics, like potted plants or living walls, green break rooms bring the outdoors inside, promoting a calming atmosphere.

3) Waste reduction strategies: Effective waste reduction strategies play a pivotal role in shaping a green workspace. By implementing comprehensive recycling programs that cover paper, plastic, and electronic waste, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Encouraging the use of reusable materials further enhances eco-friendliness. By prioritising waste reduction, businesses not only contribute to a healthier planet but also foster a culture of environmental responsibility among employees.

4) Sustainable office furniture: Opting for furniture crafted from recycled or responsibly sourced materials is a key step in minimising the environmental impact associated with manufacturing. Thus, businesses can contribute to a more eco-friendly workplace while fostering a culture of responsible consumption and design adaptability.

5) Efficient space planning: This involves strategic layout designs that optimise functionality and flow within the workspace. By thoughtfully organising furniture, workstations, and communal areas, the design maximises the use of available space, creating an environment where every square foot serves a purpose. Promoting resource-sharing initiatives within the space also ensures a more collaborative, adaptable workspace.

In the face of pressing environmental challenges, the shift to conscious workspaces is a necessity, not just a choice. The imperative lies not just in acknowledging environmental consciousness but actively implementing eco-friendly practices.

Manisha Bajaj is associate director for design at WeWork India.

Also read: The art and science of office design




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