- How well a company manages its workplace ESG can impact its workforce, productivity levels, customers and investors.
- Optimizing energy usage in an office has become more complex as office occupancy has dramatically fluctuated since the onset of the pandemic.
- Sophisticated workspace management software—such as zapfloor—can help a company optimize its governance.
For the past 20 years or so, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has been an increasingly important focal point for companies. The social capital of a company carries with it implications for its prospective workforce, its customers, as well as its investors.
These past few years have only increased the urgency for companies to put in efforts to improve their ESG scoring. This has partly been accelerated because of a global acceptance of climate change and the driving force this has had on investments.
Companies can improve their ESG score in many ways, and most of these efforts will depend on the sector and branch a company is in. However, one common denominator almost all companies share is their workplace. Here are some statistics, insights, and practical tips to help optimize your workplace ESG efforts.
The environmental aspect
The first influential factor to discuss is one that has been at the center of attention for a long time now: the pandemic. Undeniably, far fewer people were working at a central office during the pandemic’s peak. This correlates strongly with how much—and where—energy was consumed during this peak.
In the second quarter of 2020, commercial real estate in the US used 12% less energy compared to the same timeframe in previous years. Does this mean that to become more environmentally friendly, companies should abandon their office real estate altogether? Not quite. The flipside of the coin was that energy consumption from residential real estate was up by 10% in the same period. That begs the question of whether or not commercial real estate has fully optimized its energy usage.
For example, what did companies do when an office floor had to accommodate a skeleton crew that still worked from the office? Is there a notable difference in energy consumption there? At the very least, the technology to make that happen exists.
Nowadays, mature workspace management systems can integrate with HVAC systems to regulate energy consumption based on the occupancy of an area. This may be a beneficial feature now that energy prices are getting higher.
The social aspect
The second element of ESG is the social aspect. How can you improve life in the office for your stakeholders and employees? One thing that makes sense from multiple perspectives is to help people (re)connect at the office. Loneliness is shown to decrease productivity and, in some cases, lead to burnout and other stress-related absenteeism.
Facilitating fruitful collaboration holds merit from a direct business point of view, too. This is especially true if your company has implemented hybrid work. When your employees come into the office, they should be able to do the job they set out to do. Not finding the right colleagues is an easily avoidable obstacle. Oftentimes, a booking system—such as zapfloor—is used not only to find a desk to work at, but also to find when colleagues have booked a desk so you can better collaborate.
Another advantage of using a booking system is building employer branding. By offering tools that simplify hybrid work, and thus showing your employees—and prospective hires—you value their time and workplace experience, you gain an essential tool to use in the war for talent.
The governance aspect
This latter part of ESG is often overshadowed by the previous two, but diligent governance is at least equally important to a company’s success and growth. Which policies do you implement, and how transparent are you about these policies? How are you safeguarding data, and which other cybersecurity measures do you take?
As with the previous two parts of ESG, sophisticated workspace management software can also help a company optimize its governance. Your workspace policies—such as the number of days teams can come into the office, the areas specific profiles have access to, and the number of employees who can be at the office at once—can easily be automated. All of these are of extra importance during medical emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, GDPR-proof and highly secured data can be kept on how your offices are being used. This data can enable management to detect problems early on and make data-backed decisions on how to further improve their offices for their employees’ and other stakeholders’ needs.
Want to learn more about zapfloor and the workspace management software they offer? Book a no-strings-attached appointment with one of their platform experts to discuss how their software can help you reach your ESG goals.