Creating a safe and sustainable environment has long been a team effort. Every building, remodeling, relocation, or expansion project creates an opportunity for companies to rethink their sustainability strategies. The CEO, CTO, and Human Resources leaders play a greater role than ever before in decision-making. Before the pandemic, the sustainable building movement was already on the upswing, with the number of LEED-certified projects growing each year.

Now industry leaders are collaborating and problem-solving at an unprecedented level to achieve green building goals. What’s more, social distancing has prompted the industry to get more creative about how and where they share information and results. Webinars, online gatherings, and digital reports like this one give the industry new sources of knowledge and insights.

As we think about the sustainable workplace, we look broadly at the overall structure, but each element of a building plays a role in sustainability.

  • Floor coverings: Non-toxic, easy on the feet, and attractive
  • Air: Clean, well-circulated, and contaminant-free
  • Lighting: Conducive to safety and productivity
  • Plants: Biophilic design has made its way into offices, schools, and other structures
  • Food: Offering healthy options and waste-free packaging is now imperative in cafeterias and restaurants
  • Waste Management: Reduce, reuse, and donate are the principles that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends for commercial structures. 
  • Water Management: Focus on water usage can lead to a savings of up to 40 percent and contribute to employee health
  • Floor Plans: Social distancing while fostering collaboration is necessary
  • Conference Rooms: Energy-conserving lighting, user-friendly technologies, and sustainable materials abound
  • Outdoor Spaces: Outside the four walls, employees want to gather and enjoy fresh air and sunlight
  • Elevators: Accounting for 2-10% of a building’s energy use, these installations are going greener while passengers go up and down
  • Energy Usage: Green builders offer more options for lighting, heating, and cooling than ever before
  • Communications and Distancing:Staying connected while remaining germ-free is essential
  • Transportation: Energy-efficient commuting systems, bike racks, other green options encourage a culture of sustainability
  • Freight and Delivery Systems: How businesses send and receive goods and services is a clear sign of their commitment to a sustainable workplace.
  • Location Expansion: As companies open new headquarters or outposts, they are taking sustainability into consideration
  • Floor coverings: Non-toxic, easy on the feet, and attractive
  • Air: Clean, well-circulated, and contaminant-free
  • Lighting: Conducive to safety and productivity
  • Plants: Biophilic design has made its way into offices, schools, and other structures
  • Food: Offering healthy options and waste-free packaging is now imperative in cafeterias and restaurants
  • Waste Management: Reduce, reuse, and donate are the principles that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends for commercial structures. 
  • Water Management: Focus on water usage can lead to a savings of up to 40 percent and contribute to employee health
  • Floor Plans: Social distancing while fostering collaboration is necessary
  • Conference Rooms: Energy-conserving lighting, user-friendly technologies, and sustainable materials abound
  • Outdoor Spaces: Outside the four walls, employees want to gather and enjoy fresh air and sunlight
  • Elevators: Accounting for 2-10% of a building’s energy use, these installations are going greener while passengers go up and down
  • Energy Usage: Green builders offer more options for lighting, heating, and cooling than ever before
  • Communications and Distancing:Staying connected while remaining germ-free is essential
  • Transportation: Energy-efficient commuting systems, bike racks, other green options encourage a culture of sustainability
  • Freight and Delivery Systems: How businesses send and receive goods and services is a clear sign of their commitment to a sustainable workplace.
  • Location Expansion: As companies open new headquarters or outposts, they are taking sustainability into consideration

Building and maintaining more sustainable workplaces is a collaborative effort. Municipalities, builders, developers, multi-family building owners, property managers, and CEOs of companies all have an obligation to think differently about the places they create and upgrade. Working with sustainability professionals, they must create a roadmap for how they will create structures and environments that reduce waste and foster employee/customer health.

As decision-makers open and construct new locations they have an opportunity to go green from the very beginning of their projects. Retrofitting and enhancing existing structures can be more complex, but provided that the work team is open to new ideas, learn from other projects, and take the time to assess costs and benefits, they will discover cost-effective solutions.

For more on this topic, download our new whitepaper, “Redefining the Sustainable Workplace.”

Business leaders are more focused than ever before on employee health and well-being, especially as they create a new balance between physical space and remote working. We reached out to the movers and shakers of the green building movement and gathered their perspectives on the challenges facing businesses as they adjust to the sustainable, and healthy, new normal. Download it here.

Google “healthy workplace” and you’ll find more than 300 million results. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified our definition of health and wellness and prompted architects, building managers, construction companies, and product developers to re-think how to create spaces that are both safe and sustainable.

More people are working from home than ever before and the amount of time spent in conventional office buildings is certain to decline as companies adapt to remote work arrangements. But a number of structures and businesses are immune to this trend.

Each of these spaces needs to be convenient for workers and conducive to productivity. The sustainable workplace movement has led to the need for workplaces to be carbon-neutral, energy-efficient, and health-focused. We are in the early stages of defining what healthy work environments need to be heading into the future. Air quality, social distancing guidelines, and cleaning products and procedures are more important than ever before.

Today’s employees will want to know, “Is this company culture and mission right for me?” and “Will I feel safe and productive in this environment, and is the company doing its part to preserve the planet?” In fact, 40 percent of millennials choose jobs based on the sustainability policies of companies and brands.

Here’s what constitutes a workplace today:

  • Office Buildings
  • Co-working Spaces
  • The Hybrid Workplace (home and office)
  • Retailers
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
  • Prisons
  • Factories
  • Theaters and Entertainment Spaces
  • Farms
  • On-the-Road (transportation centers, drivers and pilots)
  • Hotels
  • Convention Centers
  • Stadiums

We can see that the availability of technology to connect to teammates, wherever they are, can make a huge difference in the ability to collaborate and move large projects forward. One thing we are definitely seeing, though, is that people working from home are more open to being their authentic selves and are happier, so a sustainable and productive workplace should strive to be more like home in as many ways as is possible.” – Jon Smieja, Corporate Sustainability Manager, Andersen Windows & Doors

We’ll see flexibility and the ability to avoid crowding: open stairwells and spaces that can easily be reconfigured for groups or solo work. Workplaces will be flexible, where spaces can accommodate both collaborating and social distance.” – Sara Neff, SVP Sustainability, Kilroy RealtyCorporation

For more on this topic, download our new whitepaper, “Redefining the Sustainable Workplace.”

Business leaders are more focused than ever before on employee health and well-being, especially as they create a new balance between physical space and remote working. We reached out to the movers and shakers of the green building movement and gathered their perspectives on the challenges facing businesses as they adjust to the sustainable, and healthy, new normal. Download it here.