By RAE STEINBACH
Like businesses in traditional settings, coworking spaces are beginning to focus on promoting environmentally friendly designs. Freelancers are especially cognizant of their ecological footprint. They also have the power to make decisions based on those beliefs, meaning that green coworking spaces can also attract more business.
Some coworking spaces make their commitment to environmental and social issues a major part of their brand, but there are also smaller ways to make a difference. No matter if you manage a coworking space in Cincinnati, New York, Berlin, or elsewhere, it’s important to make an effort to be more environmentally conscious. In addition to helping conserve the world around you, you’ll also show your members that they’re contributing to a good cause.
Reducing Unnecessary Waste
When turning to a more environmentally friendly approach, you’ll probably find it easier to start with common decisions including sustainably-made flooring and appliances. While these are undoubtedly effective ways of being more ecologically conscious, there are more practical considerations that can cut down on the day to day waste in your workspace.
General-use kitchens are typically the greatest sources of waste in any office setting, which is exacerbated by the fact that freelancers are often forced to bring their own kitchenware. Paper plates alone are a significant threat to our environment, as are plastic utensils, including straws.
A simple way to cut down on waste in your coworking kitchen is by providing common kitchenware available for free use. Many workplaces also offer basic kitchen appliances like ovens, stoves, and microwaves to encourage freelancers to bring their own food from home.
Making Simple Adjustments When Possible
One of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the environment is by replacing existing appliances with more greener versions. LED bulbs, for example, use roughly 75% less energy than conventional light bulbs along with having a significantly longer lifespan.
This concept also applies to any repairs or maintenance work. The job can often be accomplished by repurposing, reusing, or recycling existing materials. If this isn’t possible, you can also find renewable or recycled materials which will fill the same purpose while leading to less waste.
Incentivizing More Environmentally-Friendly Transportation
Since your coworking members aren’t forced to work at a central office, they’re likely choosing your location based on its proximity or convenience. Therefore, if you’re able to find a location that’s close to public transportation, you’ll be able to reach out to new clients while making it easier for existing members to get to work sustainably.
Installing bike racks is another common method, but some of your members will likely have to drive regardless. You can make this easier for them (and better for the environment) by facilitating carpooling solutions within your office. Of course, the right transportation solutions for any coworking space will depend on its location and clientele.
As time goes on, the environment is becoming a higher priority in all areas of life. LED lights, for example, have already grown significantly in popularity due to their environmental and other advantages. Forward-thinking coworking spaces will attract and retain top talent while creating a better workplace environment.
These ecologically friendly solutions for coworking spaces are great ways of reducing your carbon footprint without being forced to raise membership fees or cut costs elsewhere. Many of them, like having communal kitchenware, also contribute to a more pristine and less cluttered work environment.
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.