National Green Office Week is focusing public attention on the need for greater environmental sensitivity at work. But if a real green contribution is to be made, then firms need to look at their office facilities and understand the level to which they are really used.
A study by workplace solutions provider Regus has shown that around 38% of office space is not utilised at any given time. However, from an environmental point of view, that space is being heated, lit and otherwise consuming energy, whether staff are using it or not. Therefore office businesses in South Africa need to examine the ways in which they provide workspace facilities in order to better align facilities with actual occupancy, and eliminate the wastage of huge amounts of energy each year.
Various studies have identified that each employee in a service industry business consumes energy equivalent to two tonnes of carbon emission each year. If the Regus study’s findings about office under-utilisation are combined with these third party statistics on employee workspace energy consumption, then across South Africa’s 3 million office workers, over 2 million tonnes of carbon is being unnecessarily emitted every year. South African businesses are also wasting money on energy consumption for office space that simply isn’t being used Business’s rands-and-cents perspective on green issues is spotlighted by Joanne Bushell at Regus South Africa.
She notes: “Being smart about the workspace you provide delivers ‘greenback’ to the environment and into your bottom line. How compelling an argument is that? Good environmental practice is good business. But it requires businesses to take a step back and strategically review how they provide employees with workspace.
Smart firms are already adopting hybrid solutions that relieve them from the wastage inherent in traditional long-term leases. Traditional office property arrangements may be retained for the inner core of a company’s administration. However, the recent global recession has taught us all that firms need to become smarter, more agile and able to morph quickly with volatile and rapidly changing markets. We need to make sure that our workspace arrangements are totally aligned with the ability to scale and change at the rate that keeps business competitive in the 21st century. In addition, smart, cost-effective workspace solutions cut carbon emissions, energy costs and waste.”
Bushell, Johannesburg-based Regus vice-president, Middle East and Africa, adds: “Local firms are keen to optimise the economic upturn without renting more space and adding to fixed overheads.
“Office space is not only a major cost, it’s also a big user of electricity, air-conditioning and heating fuel – again underlining the relationship between the carbon footprint and the bottom line.”
Bolgger's note: Although this is specific to South Africa, it can be apllied to office space everywhere else as well.Green Office , Office Space , Office Space Design , Office Vacancy Rate