Sustainability is at the heart of both business and individual mindsets. With energy prices skyrocketing and climate activists filling the streets with protest, there has never been a greater need to look towards more efficient and sustainable energy use. Moreover, the role of the workplace and the very location of work has shifted as a result of the pandemic. Full-time office use has been replaced, initially by home-working, and more recently by hybrid working solutions. Therefore, the question must be asked, what is the future of sustainability in the workplace and what is the best commuting solution to tackle the looming energy and climate crisis? It is time for us all to look inwards at our office arrangements to embrace a new sustainable future.
The daily commute: an obvious polluter?
When you think of ways to cut your carbon emissions the first thing you may think of is the daily commute. Here, reliance on single-use gasoline transport to commute daily to a fixed office location may seem the obvious target to any climate activist. Indeed, in a survey by UK automotive giant RAC, 57% of people thought that car use for the daily commute was more essential now than before the pandemic. Moreover, the survey found that confidence in public transport had reached an 18-year low as a result of the lockdowns. This shows that the health and convenience benefits of individual commutes in cars has reversed the shift towards more sustainable public transport and to much more carbon-intensive forms of transport.
The changing role of the office
In a time of rapid change in the workplace, we also need to consider the role and location of the office. Improvements in public transport can also include the repositioning of the office away from city centres and closer to suburban areas. Innovations in flexible working space can help companies to reposition their focus towards more efficient use of office space rather than the burden of having a large underused office that is never truly full. What we all need to do, then, is to embrace the changing use of the office and reimagine the very use case itself. No longer a permanent place of work, it should be seen as a wholly collaborative place; a melting pot of ideas and communication across the business.