The Green Revolution at Work: Unveiling the Benefits of Sustainable Workplaces

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What does a sustainable office look like today? Many workplaces have evolved beyond basic eco-friendly practices like compostable coffee cups and recycling bins. The concept of a sustainable workplace has expanded, encompassing every aspect of working life, from office design to employee behaviour.

The Evolution of Office Design for Sustainability

Aideen O’Hora, director of Sustainability Works, highlights the shift in office design to create more environmentally sustainable workplaces. Architects now prioritise sustainability from the earliest stages, focusing on energy-efficient, functional spaces that are people-centric. Modern buildings in Dublin’s Docklands, for example, are constructed with sustainable materials like lower carbon concrete and designed to reduce total material usage.

Sustainable Work Practices: Retrofitting

For existing buildings, retrofitting is a key strategy. Upgrading to more efficient lighting and heating systems improves building performance. However, O’Hora notes challenges such as increased water use due to more employees cycling or walking to work and requiring shower facilities. Solutions like water harvesting are being explored to address this.

Hybrid Working & Sustainability

Hybrid working policies, a blend of remote and in-office work, are emerging as powerful catalysts for creating sustainable workplaces. By offering employees the flexibility to work from home, companies can substantially reduce their daily carbon footprint associated with commuting. Moreover, hybrid working models promote active digital communication and collaboration, thus reducing reliance on paper and contributing to waste reduction.

The resultant decrease in resource usage and carbon emissions aligns seamlessly with broader environmental sustainability goals, making hybrid working an eco-friendly choice for the modern workplace.

Examples of Environmental Sustainability in the Workplace

KPMG’s Sustainable Initiatives

Séamus Hand, managing partner at KPMG, shared insights on their sustainability journey. “Since 2010 we have reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50 per cent and in 2021 we have committed to being a net zero organisation by 2030. We are doing this in a number of ways including reducing reliance on fossil fuels, embedding best available technologies to increase building efficiencies, and increased use of renewable energy.” he admits. 

The firm has invested “heavily” in modern, sustainable offices in Belfast, Cork and Galway in the last few years and a new office in Dublin set to open in the next five years will meet the same criteria.

Aramark Northern Europe’s Sustainability Vision

Stephen Brennan of Aramark Northern Europe discusses the ongoing challenge of sustainability in business. Aramark is committed to reducing energy and water consumption and achieving zero waste to landfill by 2025.

“It’s a challenge that our business has relished and put a new focus on, but it can often be difficult for our operations and our clients to separate the signal from the noise on environmental and social governance [ESG],” he admits.

Yet their vision is clear; Brennan believes the modern sustainable office “caters to an excellent user experience, with minimal environmental impact, and encompasses everything from energy usage, to cleaning products, to food service offering, to heating, cooling and waste”.

“Sustainability in approach is about making more good decisions than bad ones, and continually driving improvement across the board,” he adds.

The company has concrete long-term plans to make their offices even more sustainable; the Aramark headquarters in Northern Cross, Dublin, will “set an example for our clients across the region”, Brennan says,

Empowering Employees in Sustainability

O’Hora emphasises the role of employees in driving sustainability. Modern corporate sustainability programs are no longer one-dimensional but consider employee needs such as flexible working arrangements, mental health and well-being initiatives to encourage sustainable practices.

Recruit Ireland’s Commitment to Sustainable Employment

As a leading career advisory and job platform, Recruit Ireland is committed to connecting job seekers with employers who prioritise sustainability. We believe in the importance of creating work environments that are not only productive but also responsible stewards of our planet. Through our platform, we aim to empower both employers and employees to embrace sustainable practices in the workplace.

Whether you’re seeking career advancement in your current field or exploring entirely new career paths, Recruit Ireland’s Advice Centre has all the information you need to make informed decisions and take proactive steps in your professional development.


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