The hybrid workplace is becoming more and more common. We’re seeing companies transition to the hybrid model for many reasons. Sometimes it’s out of necessity and other times it’s just a way for a business to cut down on their overhead. One reason for making the transition that many don’t think about is sustainability. Limited attendance in the office reduces the need for space, limits energy usage, and leads to less travel time for employees.
The hybrid workplace model can ultimately help companies and employees reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices. The practices used in the hybrid workplace require little effort to greatly impact the environment.
What is Sustainability in the Office?
Environmental sustainability looks different to different organizations based on their needs and what they’re able to do. Sustainability within an organization is ultimately how a company can limit its use of natural resources.
Companies are beginning to hold themselves accountable for their social and environmental impacts. Businesses often have a cause that fits in with their company culture and company image. Some companies might support efforts to provide their employees or the public with difficult-to-obtain resources. Similarly, they might choose to promote health initiatives, but social responsibility shouldn’t stop at that.
Undeniably, transitioning to the hybrid model allows companies to promote sustainability in the office with little to minimal effort. Sustainable practices can be adopted by using renewable energy, switching to recycled goods, or using environmentally friendly cleaning products. Companies sometimes don’t realize that additional sustainable practices can be implemented by simply requiring less attendance.
Why Does the Hybrid Model Require Less Space?
To understand why the hybrid model requires less space, we need to look at what the hybrid model is. The hybrid workplace model gives employees the option to work in and out of the office. This might mean that employees go into the office on an as-needed basis, or they might have limited attendance requirements. With this in mind, the hybrid workplace model often encourages employees to work in communal offices or shared workspaces.
Without a doubt, when employees work from home they’re working in an existing space. The ability for employees to work from home allows companies to limit the tools and resources necessary a company needs to provide for them to succeed. One of the most environmentally expensive resources is space. According to the International Workplace Group, buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy consumption and 33% of greenhouse gas emissions. This includes office buildings. The hybrid workplace model addresses the use of resources by allowing employees to work from home.
The hybrid model saves employees time and energy, and it saves the company money and energy.
Staggered attendance and shared spaces allow multiple employees to make use of the same workspace. In a traditional office layout and design each employee usually has their own personal work area which means each employee takes up space in the office. Shared spaces create less of a need for physical space. With employees being able to work offsite, they don’t need to occupy physical office space as often.
The Hybrid Business Model and Energy
A growing portion of the workforce prefers the hybrid model. People can work in their environment, and it doesn’t require as much energy on their part. As a result, it also requires less nonrenewable energy. Generally, a company that requires regular attendance from its employees expends more energy. In short, limited utility usage uses less power, water, and carbon emissions.
When companies use the hybrid model commuting is minimized and carbon emissions from travel are drastically reduced. While using a traditional model, employees don’t only produce more carbon emissions, but they use resources in the office. The hybrid models and the limited in-person time creates the opportunity to reduce electricity and water usage when the office isn’t being used. The lights aren’t just turned off at night. The lights are turned off for portions of the week when the office isn’t being used. The hybrid model saves employees time and energy, and it saves the company money and energy.
Technology that Makes the Hybrid Model Environmentally Friendly
Making the move to a hybrid workplace model requires the use of technology. Like any change, the hybrid model can come with its share of hurdles. New and old technologies are being adopted to make virtual work easier and more feasible especially during and after the pandemic. Companies can have a positive impact on the environment by simply adopting the use of these technologies.
Unsustainable Magazine showcases technologies that transform offices into sustainable powerhouses. These practices range from solar power to recycling goods. These practices can be very costly and without addressing some of the most environmentally detrimental practices. The hybrid model can eliminate or drastically reduce these impacts by using more affordable technologies that support virtual work.
Video conferencing has become a necessity. The pandemic has taught us a lot about what the workforce is capable of. Programs like Zoom saved companies. Above all, they have helped employees maintain an element of face-to-face interaction while separated by large distances. Video conferencing allows employees to meet with coworkers and even clients without a commute and the need for company resources. The workforce has essentially positively impacted the environment out of their necessity to survive.
Sporadic or limited attendance comes with its challenges. While the hybrid workplace model shares similarities with remote models, there is one big difference. 100% remote work requires zero attendance while hybrid work includes in-person work to some extent. Organizing the use of office space in the hybrid workplace model can seem like a daunting task but scheduling software has helped companies promote a sustainable working environment. Scheduling software helps companies make the most out of the space available to them. This specialized software helps employees reserve a workspace and collaborative spaces and helps them identify the best times to work in person.
What is driving the Hybrid Workplace Model?
The reason the hybrid model is becoming more and more popular is not only because of the impact it has on the environment. Companies are concerned with efficiency. Forbes talks about the three biggest elements that define the efficiency of a workplace. The utilities, rent, and the number of workers per square foot serve as a way to assess efficiency. With this in mind, companies address aspects of efficiency at the same time they’re implementing the hybrid model. Undoubtedly, more employees occupying a space translates to less area, natural lighting reduces their energy cost, and office design all contribute to a more efficient workplace. As a result, the hybrid workplace improves all elements of efficiency while contributing to a green initiative that ultimately impacts future generations.
Why Sustainability in the Workplace is Becoming the Norm
Whether environmentally sustainable practices come in the form of the hybrid workplace model or energy-saving lights, we’re seeing a shift in what’s important to investors and executives. Forbes shared an article talking about the issues important to not only the public but to their executives and investors as well. Surprisingly, 90% of executives say that sustainability is important to them and their company image. Even though a large portion of companies think it’s important to protect our natural resources for future generations, only 60% use sustainable practices.
Though companies know that sustainability is important, the execution of sustainable practices leaves a lot to be desired. For that reason, changes are being made to a company’s day-to-day by using energy-saving light bulbs or using energy-efficient appliances. This isn’t an environmentally sustainable strategy.
The hybrid workplace improves all elements of efficiency while contributing to a green initiative that ultimately impacts future generations.
Sustainable strategies allow companies to have a positive impact on the environment over the long term. In some cases, organizations are doing this by using both renewable energy sources and moving to electric vehicles. The hybrid model appears to be the most obtainable and seamless way for companies to positively impact the environment. Companies are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and are making small changes in their day-to-day. The hybrid model is one of the biggest changes a company can make.
Should You Go Green?
The answer is undoubtedly yes. The smallest practices can contribute to a greener future. Simple changes to a company’s model can have the largest impact. For example, the hybrid workplace model promotes sustainable practices while reducing their carbon footprint. All things considered, making the move to the hybrid model doesn’t only use less energy but it also asks less of the employees. For that reason, companies are making the traditional office a thing of the past. Organizations are changing the way they conduct business. They are increasing their contributions to a greener future.
Discover the benefits of the hybrid workplace model and start building a greener future for your company with StrongProject.
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