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Can we COWORK for the good of the environment?

Let’s start with a bit of honesty here and cut out the greenwashing vibes. We don’t currently have the research or impressive statistics to undoubtedly prove the positive environmental impact of coworking. But just hear us out…

We believe that there is massive potential for shared working solutions to help tackle this beast of an issue in the future.

We don’t like to think about it, but we all know that every light we switch on, every kilometer we drive, every plastic packet we use – it all has a negative impact on the environment, for one reason or another.

How can we reduce our impact, but keep our businesses running efficiently?

In this article we’ll look at 5 ways that coworking solutions could provide an answer to this question.

1) Shared Supplies

Coworking is centered around the idea of sharing. This not only results in lower financial costs, but also a significant reduction in electricity usage.

In a coworking environment, multiple people are sharing the facilities and resources. If 10 people work in a shared work space rather than from home or a private office, that’s 9 fewer coffee machines humming away! If we do the math with the number of lightbulbs then we can get to some remarkable numbers.

Besides electricity, other amenities are also shared, such as office fit-outs, furniture and appliances. Each time a business rents or buys a new private office, they have to acquire their own set of furnishings to make it comfortable. By using coworking spaces and sharing the existing facilities instead, this would eventually decrease the unnecessary production of goods.

2) Careful Resource Management

Gone are the days when “burning the midnight oil” actually meant burning oil lamps. Today, if one single soldier at a big company needs to work late, it often means the entire electronic infrastructure of that building (or at least that floor) stays on. Lights, air conditioners, printers, WIFI systems, even perhaps the coffee machines... That’s major energy output which could have been limited to one small office.

Coworking spaces are generally designed to have different sections and compartments for people to work in. This makes it easier to ensure that a room or area is only powered up when it needs to be.

Another disadvantage of large office buildings is that the caretaking can be more complicated.

Have you ever driven past one of those massive office blocks late at night and seen all the lights on? Perhaps that single soldier left the office in such a state of exhaustion that he or she forgot to hit the switch on the way out…

Coworking spaces usually have a dedicated person or team responsible for making sure that lights and electronics are switched off when they are not needed. Of course, the true motive is to reduce overheads, not save the penguins, but it’s the result that matters, right!

3) Decreased Land Usage

Companies often build or rent impressively large office spaces for their business. (Yes, “My building is bigger than yours!” does tend to earn some bragging rights on the golf course...)

Unfortunately, the space isn’t always fully utilised. This is even more so in recent times, as the remote working revolution gains traction. According to a study by Upwork, 58% of hiring managers expect their businesses to be fully remote in 5 years.

So what does a company do with all that unused space? Coworking spaces offer companies the opportunity to downsize or get rid of their private offices completely, whilst still giving employees the option to work from somewhere other than their homes. For larger enterprises, they could even open up sections of their existing offices to sole practitioners or small businesses.

Ultimately, if we are wiser and more economic with the use of space, existing buildings can be utilised to their full capacity. The result? Less new construction and less land destroyed.

4) Reduced Commute

Flexible coworking solutions generally mean less commuting, as employees can choose a work space close to home or their kids’ school. Less cars, less busses, less carbon emissions (and less time in traffic!).

5) Environmentally Friendly Work Spaces

More and more coworking spaces are being built in an eco-friendly manner, relying more on natural lighting, natural air conditioning systems and solar powered facilities.

Greens Space, a shared working space based in Denver, runs 100% on solar power. They are adapting their offering to generate a more sustainable approach, and many others are following suit.

Luxembourg already offers tax benefits to encourage the use of electric cars and bicycles. Perhaps the same can eventually apply for eco-friendly work spaces and those who use them?

At Deskover, we often ask ourselves how our business can promote positive change for the future. From improved mental wellness to saving the rainforests? Let’s make it happen!

P.S. Did you know that Francesca Pogliani, co-founder of Deskover, has multiple qualifications in the fields of sustainability, environmental design and engineering?

  • She has worked on various environmental assessment projects in the building industry, with a focus on international Green Building certification schemes and environmental impact management.

  • Francesca is an accredited professional of the WELL Building Standard; a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

  • She is also a licensed assessor for the BREEAM International New Construction Standard; the world's leading sustainability validation and certification system.

So maybe we don’t have hardcore stats to prove our hypothesis, but we can say we’ve gotten expert advice? ;)

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