employees working in an open space

Your guide to sustainable workplaces in the Energy sector

Published on : 10/12/22
Reading time : 4 min
  • Sustainability in the workplace is underpinned by an organisation's commitment to following practices that are less harmful or even beneficial to the planet. Many companies have their own obligations to follow as well as government requirements. It is now critical that office designs must, first and foremost, be built on a foundation that is conscious of the environment - learn more about sustainable office design.


    Why is sustainability needed for a good employee experience?

    As a new generation of workers ages into the workforce, gen Z employees are placing more of a focus than ever before on CRS values. The younger generation of talent wants more from their workplaces, and companies that fail to act risk losing out.

    employees working togetherHowever, this is an issue affecting all areas of recruitment. In fact, when interviewed in Workday's recent report, 50% of employees said that an organisation's environmental and social governance (ESG) commitments were crucial for keeping them engaged, and employees at purpose-driven organisations reported being 3x more likely to stay.

    Workday's recent heartbeat report on employees' expectations in 2022 stated:

    "In addition to attracting and retaining top talent, there are a number of organisational benefits that come from taking ESG commitments seriously, including a stronger brand proposition, lower operating costs, fewer regulatory hurdles, and higher returns on investment."


    Why is sustainability in the workplace important?

    Sustainable workplaces must seek to use resources that have as little impact as possible on the earth and employees' health. There are many benefits to office design that promote sustainability and cause a positive impact, including reducing waste, improving employee satisfaction, and creating a friendly and productive place to work.

    But what aspects of design are indispensable for a more sustainable workplace? Sodexo's Energy & Resources has put together an essential guide for building offices that are reflective of employee happiness as well as key sustainable practices.


    1. Design using sustainable materials

    Making an effort to use materials made from recycled content or which can be easily recycled at the end of their life is essential - because breaking the chain and looking for sustainable solutions can help dramatically reduce the amount of CO₂ produced by the industry.

    employees during coffee breakFor instance, every year in the UK, 400,000 tonnes of carpet tiles are put into landfill, often because they are difficult to recycle. In a recent refurbishment we completed in one of our client's office in Aberdeen, the selected carpet tiles were made from a bio-composite and had a net carbon-negative backing. The manufacturer also agreed to take back the product at the end of its life so it could be recycled entirely. Producing a non-recycled carpet tile can be up to 53kg of carbon released per sqm, so opting for a low-carbon option significantly lowered the carbon impact across the building.


    2. Reuse, reuse, reuse

    The circular economy is a system of consumption which looks at repairing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. Integrate this model into office design by looking at existing materials and seeing how they can be used again. For the client's office refurbishment, filing cabinets were reupholstered rather than thrown away to minimise impact.


    3. Flexibility saves space as well as costs

    Having office space that can flex for many uses is central to today's hybrid model of working and can leave your workplaces optimised while covering a smaller area. That translates to having open-plan areas, hot desks, fewer individual meeting rooms, and furniture that can be easily moved and adapted to suit any need. Space saving equates to a reduction in energy usage that is great for costs and the planet.


    4. Employee wellness is key

    Natural light has been shown to improve employee efficiency and productivity, so access to the outdoors and natural light is crucial for redesigning office spaces. Consider lighting options that improve energy consumption, costs, CO2 levels, and employee wellbeing.

    In our recent redesign of our client's office in Aberdeen, the workplace previously felt quite dark. I prioritised rearranging the space, so desks struggling for natural light now had a visual connection to the outdoors.

    Claire Ritchie, Interior designer and Architect for Sodexo Energy & Resources


    5. Maintain your workplaces

    A good maintenance strategy keeps spaces in working order for longer, making them more sustainable. Maintaining offices helps companies be more efficient about the resources they use, while great facilities management can preserve and extend a workplace's life. Companies can achieve value and long-term sustainability by taking a proactive approach to maintenance.


    6. Sustainability Boosts Company Image

    The movement towards sustainability often promotes and encourages creativity, making it a key factor for innovation. Sustainable workplaces protect both the environment and workers’ health. With so many employees ranking an organisation's ESG commitments highly for keeping them engaged, companies need to prioritise sustainable offices more than ever before. Are you boosting employee wellbeing with environmentally conscious workplaces?


    Sodexo's Energy & Resources

    Sodexo’s Energy & Resources are food and facilities management leaders, serving millions of people who power, supply, and transform our world.        

    We believe energy and mining companies deserve better service than the usual industry standard. So we’re raising the bar. It means we empower our frontline teams to be your day-to-day partners – anticipating and responding to your needs, solving your challenges, and improving our support every day. 

    Good enough is no longer enough. We’re committed to designing workplaces that put wellbeing at their heart, enhance the employee experience, and optimise productivity, all enabled by user-centric technology.  


    Find out more about Sodexo’s Energy & Resources