Head of Sustainability of FTSE 250 company shares 4 key sustainability steps

Sonal Jain, Head of Sustainability at Workspace, spells out the practical ways to go green
Sonal Jain

According to a Forbes report, in 2024 one of the key factors people will value in a business is having a solid commitment to reducing their environmental footprint. Meaning that for businesses to stay competitive, they must find new and innovative approaches to accelerate their sustainability efforts.

Below, I have shared insight on everyday actions that we have taken at Workspace to facilitate our customers to become greener, save money and reduce their energy consumption. 

As a provider of high quality sustainable workspaces, it is our responsibility to ensure buildings are first built sustainably, equipped with the right kit, before asking our customers to work with us to reduce energy consumption and cut waste.
As part of our 2030 net-zero carbon commitment, we have invested in upgrading and electrifying our portfolio and aim to source 100% of our energy from high quality renewable sources by the 2030 deadline.

1. Invest in the right equipment to future proof your space 

The first step to take involves making sure that your space facilitates the goals that you are setting.

We provide most of the equipment in the tenants’ space, such as the lighting and the air conditioning, which is different to many commercial landlords where tenants undertake the fit-out. So we play our part by providing the best-in-class sustainable space before the journey begins on educating and engaging customers to use the space efficiently.

2. Hybrid working patterns call for new technology to detect when offices are empty

Energy saving lighting is one thing, but in a time when the average UK worker spends less than 50% of their working week in the office, making sure that your space is optimised with motion detection sensors can make huge savings on electricity. 

We try to make it as easy as possible for our customers to save energy, which means utilising technology effectively. We now live in a hybrid-working world, where fewer buildings run on the traditional 5-day-a-week model. 

So what we have done is put in place control strategies that reflect the usage of the building. So if a customer forgets to turn off the air conditioning then we have our building controls which will automatically turn off the air conditioning taking feedback from absence detection sensors. 

We have also installed efficient lighting that uses the same absence detection sensors to prevent unnecessary energy usage in the day-to-day use of our office spaces and have installed high efficiency heat pumps that remove reliance on less eco-friendly gas boilers.

3. Gamify shared goals to bolster sustainability efforts 

People are busy and asking employees, customers or clients to take extra steps in their every day for the purpose of sustainability efforts might be a hard sell - so add a competitive element.  

We frequently run energy saving competitions in order to encourage customers in all our buildings to save energy and help us all reach our goals collectively. 

4. Engage and motivate employees with regular reports 

Other tactics we employ to encourage our tenants to be greener is to publish customer newsletters, where we report energy, water and waste performance, top tips and highlight successes. We are also launching a portal where customers can see all the sustainability data about their building and can benchmark their performance against other customer units in the building.

For Workspace, trying to nudge our 40,000 customers to change their behaviours is going to be a very slow process, which is why close collaboration with our customers is key.

Written by
Sonal Jain
Written by
December 14, 2023