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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Adler

As workplace consultants, how can we positively impact our client's sustainability behaviours?

The delivery of a workplace strategy project for an organisation in South Africa reminded me of the importance of sustainability, not only in the natural world but also in our man-made environments such as the workplace. Working with clients across different countries and cultures presents us with unique challenges that we may not have previously considered.

Sustainability transcends borders as a global concern and, as workplace consultants, we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact through our projects. Our focus on workplace behaviours positions us strategically to influence both the individual and the environment. The challenge is to cultivate sustainable habits seamlessly across all roles within an organisation.

Understanding the power of workplace behaviours

Recognising that workplace behaviours are intricately linked to our organisational environment, our role demands a strategic approach to instilling sustainable habits. By creating workspaces where sustainability is effortlessly integrated into daily routines, we empower our clients to make an immediate impact. Questions such as, "How does sustainability work in reality for your role?" can pave the way for establishing workplace sustainability committees and providing accessible information to empower others in minimising emissions.


How does this benefit organisations?

Most people have a desire to act positively and be more sustainable, as exemplified by the rise in the volume of corporate social responsibility campaigns. Younger generations are particularly aware of their employers' green practices. Studies have even found that 93% of people are happier at work if it is an environmentally friendly workplace. This demonstrates a correlation between sustainability and enhanced well-being and productivity.

Delivery of sustainability initiatives

We should understand how the organisation's corporate sustainability targets impact the workplace strategy. Collaborating closely with clients, consultants can identify specific goals and tailor recommendations accordingly. Whether engaging with architectural teams on projects or recommending water management and electric vehicle parking as part of the master planning, these efforts necessitate thoughtful consideration.

The impact of occupancy levels

Occupancy levels can significantly impact sustainability efforts. A workplace that is over or underutilised can lead to wasted resources, from excessive energy consumption to unnecessary waste production. Designing and building workplaces with sustainability in mind can often result in cost savings through energy efficiency measures and waste reduction strategies.

Conclusion

Being sustainable involves continually evaluating and adapting to new technologies and methods that reduce the environmental impact of the workplace. Workplace consultants may have a role to play in advancing sustainability behaviours in their clients' organisations. We can give the eco-conscious employees a voice and bring ideas from other workplaces aiming for similar outcomes. We are responsible for passing on the messages and having a positive influence.


We need to align with clients' corporate sustainability targets, integrate eco-friendly practices into daily routines, and address challenges like occupancy levels to contribute meaningfully to a more sustainable future.


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