”Green office” - who needs it?

June 15, 2022 | Alexey Aliev

The idea of creating a green office is becoming more popular nowadays, but what is
“green office"? Indoor plants planted in all corners? Interior design in light green shades? Or maybe an office created in the bosom of nature, for example, somewhere on the shore of a lake? All these assumptions have a right to life. But in this article we will talk about the "green office" as a concept of the future, as a project aimed at solving specific business problems.

So, what are the effects of implementing a green office?

74% of respondents consider the negative impact of the company on the environment to be a "very important" or "rather important" criterion when choosing a place of work.

Customers also do not stay away: today, for 57% of consumers surveyed, an important factor in choosing a company is its environmental protection activities:
At the same time, 62% of respondents are ready to change their preferences if it helps to reduce the negative impact on the environment. This means that people are paying more and more attention to the environment and are not ready to trust companies with a bad reputation in this aspect. Thus, the introduction of a green office increases customer loyalty, read about how this is useful for business in our article “How charging infrastructure increases loyalty".

Taking care of the environment is also important for successful business, being one of the key factors of the company's investment attractiveness. The ESG indicator is used for evaluation:
  • Environmental – a set of environmental factors: waste recycling, emission minimization, etc.
  • Social – responsibility for the safety and comfort of employees.
  • Governance – openness and transparency in dealing with customers, partners and shareholders.
97% of investors consider ESG to be the most significant factor in making a decision.

With the right approach, the green office initiative can increase employee motivation, engagement, and commitment to corporate culture.

Of course, at the initial stage, incentives will be needed: for example, many large companies install charging stations for electric vehicles near the office with the possibility of free use for employees. Thus, employers initiate the transition to electric vehicles and simultaneously increase the motivation of employees, giving them the opportunity to save on gasoline.

In addition to reducing fuel costs, an important plus for employees is to create a comfortable and safe environment for health. Many studies have shown that the level of stress and professional burnout depends, among other things, on the environment, and employees of green offices work 60% more efficiently.

Of course, the concept of a green office implies not only the transition to electric vehicles, but also the use of safe cleaning tools, saving water and light, reducing paper consumption and, of course, separate waste collection. With the last point, difficulties often arise, because certain knowledge is needed for effective garbage sorting.

The problem can be solved by conducting special trainings or studying special materials, but there is also an alternative option: there are many services and contractors that organize separate garbage collection. At the same time, almost no effort is required from employees, and in some cases there is a chance to earn pleasant bonuses that can be used to pay for utilities and other services.

Various games and contests can serve as additional motivation for employees, according to the results of which the best (for example, in saving paper, water or light) will be encouraged by the management.

However, there are more and more employees who accept the ideas of caring for the environment with joy. As noted above, 74% of applicants take this factor into account, but it is even more significant that already 8% of applicants consider this criterion to be the key:
It is worth noting that the process of creating an eco-friendly office also affects such criteria as "Pleasant working atmosphere", "Good reputation" and "Introduction of high technologies", which means that today the presence of such an initiative in the company itself can be an excellent motivation for employees.

It may seem to someone that there is a contradiction here, because the creation of a new infrastructure for a "green" office from the beginning increases the costs of the business owner.

On the one hand, it really is:
- installation of charging stations for electric vehicles requires large investments. If you make charging sessions for employees free, you should not wait to achieve payback
- the transition to electric vehicles naturally increases energy costs
- the involvement of other systems (electronic document management, separate waste collection, etc.) or contractors also requires costs, and if you try to do everything on your own, the enthusiasm of employees can quickly disappear.

However, in fact, there are still options for obtaining benefits.
Firstly, reducing the consumption of water, light and paper in the long term can give quite serious savings:
That is, an office for 200 people may well save up to 840 thousand rubles a year – for a large business, the amount is not very large, but still significant.

Secondly, in the near future, an environmental tax may replace the environmental fee. In this case, companies will have to pay for the volumes of waste emissions carried out, which means that the amounts may grow significantly. Of course, first of all, this will be relevant for large-scale industries, but it will affect the entire business sphere, so companies should think about reducing their own environmental footprint today.
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