Marketing
Wednesday April 21, 2021 By David Quintanilla
The Hidden Environmental Costs of Downsizing an Office: What We Learned


There’s little question that the pandemic accelerated a mass shift to distant work, the likes of which we’ve by no means seen earlier than—and research are starting to assist the concept hybrid distant work fashions are right here to remain.

Greater than 20% of the workforce might work remotely three to 5 days per week as successfully as from an workplace, in accordance with analysis from McKinsey & Company—that means that 3x to 4x as many people might proceed working from house as had been doing so earlier than the pandemic.

Though working from house does have its downsides and it’s straightforward to seek out ourselves eager for the times of water cooler banter, we’ve additionally settled in and begun to benefit from the perks of work-life integration.

Possibly we’re having fun with shut entry to the fridge or feeling comfy in loungewear over our foregone workplace apparel. Possibly we’re merely having fun with spending extra time with our family members. However essentially the most significant advantage of the abrupt world shift to distant work has been its constructive affect on the setting.

For example, the discount in commuting employees might have contributed to NASA’s reported drop in air pollution in April 2020 over the northeastern U.S.

With considerably decreased carbon emissions, and places of work both closing their doorways or consolidating into smaller areas, it looks as if a excellent news story for Mom Nature.

However that’s not the entire story.

Why ditching the office can be bad for the environment

Hootsuite’s head offices are in Vancouver, B.C., so we’re keeping a close eye on what this shift looks like in Canada. In Q3 of 2020, there were 4 million square feet of vacant workplace area in Canada’s downtown workplace markets.

It’s not shocking, contemplating the flight from city hubs that occurred because of the pandemic’s widespread world lockdowns and the numerous firms which have since announced they’re going fully remote or hybrid, with plans to cut back their workplace area.

Fewer commuters. Much less places of work. It’s win-win, proper?

Bear in mind although, that these places of work are stuffed with desks, chairs, tech gear, decor, and extra.

infographic showing the environmental benefits of Hootsuite's office downsizing

With all this downsizing, you is perhaps questioning: precisely the place is all that stuff going? Over 10 million tons of environmentally dangerous furnishings waste, often known as “F-waste,” find yourself in landfills yearly in Canada and the U.S., in accordance with Canadian Interiors. Should you’ve ever tried to eliminate a mattress or a sofa, you most likely know what we’re speaking about.

Within the office, a functioning workplace cubicle represents wherever between 300 to 700 pounds of waste. A typical desk chair alone incorporates dozens of various supplies and chemical substances, that are hazardous to the setting if the merchandise is just not disposed of correctly.

Because the workplace reductions and closures proceed, now’s the time to suppose critically about what to do with all that F-waste—and an strategy that considers the setting and communities the place workers reside and work is a superb place to begin.

How one can assist your employer cut back its carbon footprint

In 2020, Hootsuite swapped our bustling assortment of world places of work for the digital world (like lots of you). And in 2021, after conducting a collection of polls to learn how our folks needed to work sooner or later, we determined to shift to a “distributed workforce” technique.

Taking the suggestions our folks gave us, we determined that in choose areas, we’d convert a few of our bigger places of work (which we’ve all the time referred to as ‘nests’) into ‘perches’—our model of a ‘hot desk’ model.” We selected this new strategy to assist the psychological well being of our workers by permitting them autonomy over the place and the way they selected to work.

To kick off the Perch Pilot, we redesigned our Vancouver workplace area with inclusivity and suppleness in thoughts. Now that we had been specializing in collaborative furnishings over a conventional workplace setup, we had been left with many desks, chairs and screens that wanted a house—begging the query: what would we do with all of that F-waste?

To make sure that we acquired it proper, we partnered with Green Standards, a corporation that makes use of charitable donation, resale, and recycling to maintain office furnishings and gear out of the landfill whereas producing constructive local people affect. Primarily, they’d take all our stuff and switch it into social and environmental good.

infographic showing the community impact of Hootsuite's office downsizing

They helped us flip 19 tons of company waste into a complete worth of $19,515 in-kind charitable donations to the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C., Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver, Jewish Family Services of Vancouver, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Hootsuite’s partnership with Inexperienced Requirements resulted in 19 tons of supplies diverted from landfills and 65 tonnes of CO2 emissions decreased. These efforts are equal to decreasing gasoline consumption by 7,253 gallons, rising 1,658 tree seedlings for 10 years, and offsetting electrical energy use from 9 houses for one yr.

What we realized after we downsized our workplace

By our work with Inexperienced Requirements, we had been capable of establish a major downside and cut back waste earlier than it hit the landfill. And we realized some issues alongside the way in which from our partner that we’re completely happy to move alongside to you so we are able to all do our half to assist the setting.

  1. Create an workplace furnishings stock. An intensive stock is a should. Clear details about what we had in our places of work saved us complications and allowed us to successfully measure our future donation and affect.
  2. Perceive undertaking objectives (and alternatives). When you perceive what you’re working with, it’s good to work out what you and your crew need from the undertaking. Whether or not it’s pain-free removing or social affect, figuring out objectives on the onset is a should to make a plan that’ll aid you obtain them.
  3. Put together for the dangers of managing a big surplus. Finances isn’t the one factor on the road when determining what to do with a ton of additional workplace furnishings and gear. Effort and time, vendor relations, and on-site security—all of which affect the general undertaking consequence—require equal consideration in a big transfer.
  4. Have interaction a dependable logistics supplier. The improper vendor can intrude with scheduling, injury objects, break a furnishings sale, combine up places, or trigger friction with different stakeholders. They’re the spine of the undertaking and should be as dependable and succesful as attainable.
  5. Doc and report every little thing. Mission documentation is the only most respected planning instrument as a result of it reveals the place every little thing went on the finish of the undertaking and helps show return on funding (ROI) on necessary company social duty goals. With the ability to monitor each merchandise to its finish location ensures that issues had been truly recycled or donated—and never dumped when nobody was wanting.

All through the method, we got here to grasp that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy or answer to workplace area sustainability. In our journey to seek out what labored finest for our workers and our group, and thru many conversations with the crew at Inexperienced Requirements, we got here to grasp how we might carry worth to organizations in want inside our group by property that we had at our fingertips.

infographic showing the program impact of Hootsuite's office downsizing

We realized that usually the issues it’s good to make an affect are proper in entrance of you.

Whether or not it’s a single storage room or a company-wide consolidation, the trick is to create worth by aligning the undertaking with larger enterprise initiatives—from accountability and transparency to group funding and sustainability objectives.

Keep in contact with us on Instagram to study extra about our company social duty initiatives.

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