How workspace tech can support ESG objectives

We’re frequently asked to design workspace solutions which support organisational objectives to do with ESG, so in this article we’re highlighting a number of different parts of our offering which can help companies with their environmental, social and governance credentials. 

ESG (environmental, social and governance) is becoming an ever more important consideration for firms when they make decisions about their business and how it operates, including its choice of suppliers and partners. It’s become a benchmark for organisations; an opportunity to differentiate and convey their desire and ability to do the right thing while pursuing their business objectives. 

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of a company’s record in these areas, and are making buying decisions with these considerations in mind. It’s also an increasingly important factor for workers looking for their next career move. Organisations which can offer sparkling ESG credentials are finding that they’re more attractive to potential candidates, and so can capture the cream of the crop when they make a new hire, plus they’re more likely to retain staff, too – a survey of 1,000 office workers by Morgan Lovell and OnePulse discovered that 62% thought it was important their employer had a demonstrated commitment to ESG. 

At Aura we offer a variety of services across the workspace technology spectrum which can help organisations meet their ESG targets. 

Environmental  

When it comes to improving environmental credentials, one of our key services is managed print. By evaluating how the business works and the way in which print is used, and reimagining processes with an emphasis on digital workflows, it’s possible to significantly reduce print volumes, and also the size of the print fleet. This not only reduces an organisation’s carbon footprint, it actually decreases costs while simultaneously increasing productivity. 

Similarly, a significant amount of our work involves creating digital and physical workspaces which enable an optimal experience of hybrid working. Right-sizing an office space for an organisation’s hybrid working needs not only controls costs and carbon emissions through reduced use of heating and electricity, but also cuts the environmental impact of every employee making their commute on a daily basis.  

In fact, our approach also takes into account the need for a space to flex to different needs in order to be as energy efficient as possible. Sensors can control (low energy) lighting and heating, to match occupancy levels and distribution (it’s even possible to designate certain areas that close down when demand is low), while making sure the resource matches the requirement of the workers in the space.  

Thanks to our data-led approach, with bespoke dashboards, we enable our clients to track business need and workspace utilisation over time, which underpins decision-making about further efficiencies. This ability, combined with the flexibility built in to the quality working environments we deliver, helps to future-proof workspaces so they may evolve (perhaps using our technology-as-a-service option), rather than requiring big step-change projects, which offer a less sustainable approach. 

Social 

Organisations are increasingly becoming people-centric, with the social needs of their own employees, as well as their wider communities, front and centre of their workspace decision-making. 

Workspaces are pivotal when it comes to the social aspects of an organisation – and there are productivity, innovation, recruitment and retention rewards to be reaped by getting this right. The facilities must support the culture: there needs to be areas for building co-worker relationships and crossing paths with those from different teams or departments, there must be areas where people can take time out to relax and re-set, and we find it’s also important to design in areas that support day-to-day personal wellbeing, for example a gym, shower rooms, or a cafeteria.  

Natural light and biophilic design support wellbeing, too, while furniture and equipment such as sit-stand desks, foot rests and adjustable screens also ties in with people-centric space design. In addition, carefully designed task and ambient lighting and smart temperature controls are a must for bodily comfort – which of course impacts on focus. We’re finding that sound masking is also an increasingly popular choice to create a more comfortable sensory environment, and support productivity. 

The trend for hotel-style offices, with appealingly stylish décor, and luxury features such as a barista-manned coffee bar or a yoga studio, has come about to meet people’s rising expectations of their work environment, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic, when we all acclimatised to the comforts of home during our working day.  

Of course, of critical importance is the requirement for spaces which facilitate various individual work styles and collaborative approaches. Most of our clients opt for a variety of different sizes and types of room – from large spaces for town hall meetings and events, to pods for deep work and confidential conversations, via videoconference and meeting rooms of all sizes – to enable maximum flexibility as well as meeting the needs of a whole spectrum of working preferences. Gaining popularity, too, is the practice of allowing staff to book spaces out of hours for events with family and friends, fulfilling even greater social credentials and becoming a more prominent part of the local community. 

The technology within these spaces must be specified and integrated to make the users’ lives easy and frictionless; it should be device agnostic, and wireless where possible. Videoconferencing technology should help to smooth over the differences between remote and in-person participants, to level the playing field and result in the most effective collaboration. Added to this, to help daily working life run smoothly, there must be a room and desk booking solution to ensure workers can secure the resources they need, when they need them. 

Governance 

Exemplary governance is critical in regulated industries, but it’s really no less important in other sectors. Workspace technology has considerable scope to support governance objectives as it not only can reduce the likelihood of human error where workflows are automated, but the resulting data can be used to inform business decision-making, and also to evidence it at a later date, should this be required. In addition, certain technologies – such as follow-me printing, sound masking, or fob-access spaces – can significantly improve confidentiality and security aspects. 

If you’d like to find out more about how Aura can help your organisation to fulfil its ESG objectives, please contact us at riskandcompliance@aurafutures.com 

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