Future of Work

Recent global lockdowns and a rise in remote working have encouraged debate around the sustainability of businesses especially as workers all start to head back to work in the next few months.

The experts at Commercial Property Specialists Instant Offices collated research on how the current climate is sparking a change in the way businesses and their workers interact with the environment every day.

For many companies, the pressure to change is coming from all sides. In Europe, 25% of businesses cite government regulations as their least favorable motivator for becoming more environmentally sustainable – 57% are making changes because consumers and competitors are demanding it.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, experts were predicting that half of the UK workforce would be working remotely by 2020. Even working from home or coworkinspace for one or two days a week can help businesses reduce their CO2 emissions and achieve a lower carbon footprint.

According to research by HSBC, 69% of businesses say they would support their workforce to reduce the impact on the environment, with sustainability cited as the fourth biggest growth driver among companies looking to expand in the next two years

Research by Instant Offices showed air quality dramatically improved in some of the world’s biggest cities just two weeks into lockdown. Dangerous PM2.5 air pollution dropped by 60% in Delhi, 71% in Los Angeles, 34% in London and 56% in Madrid, due to reduced activity. These stats make a compelling case for businesses to maintain more eco-friendly habits once lockdown is lifted, but there are financial benefits too.

  • Companies actively managing their carbon emissions enjoy 18% higher return on investment than those who don’t.
  • Companies actively planning for climate change by setting commitments to science-based targets and publicly disclosing climate change impacts on their businesses see 67% higher returns than companies who are not.
  • Businesses that take proactive steps to promote employee wellness can improve their financial performance by up to 10% and reduce sick days by 27%.
  • Increasing natural spaces can increase property and land values by as much as 25%.

Recent events have also revealed a massive opportunity for businesses to embrace remote and flexible working after employees return to work. The WHO estimates that road traffic is responsible for up to 30% of particulate emissions; which means reducing your team’s need to commute will dramatically reduce the burden on the environment in your city.

Leading the Way: The World’s Greenest Cities at Work

The CDP has awarded “A-List” status to the cities around the world leading the shift toward a climate-safe future, based on their emissions reduction targets. These are the cities to watch:


Stockholm 100% emissions reductions by 2040
London 100% emissions reductions by 2050
Paris 100% emissions reductions by 2050
Manchester 97.3% emissions reductions by 2038
Oslo 95% emissions reductions by 2030

North America

Fremont 100% emissions reductions by 2045
Boston 100% emissions reductions by 2050
Evanston, IL 100% emissions reductions by 2050
Indianapolis 100% emissions reductions by 2050
North Vancouver 100% emissions reductions by 2050

Key Green Habits to Adopt in 2020 and Beyond

  • Increase remote working and reduce the need to commute.
  • Focus on offering virtual consultations and online shopping options to consumers, reducing overall traffic and encouraging social distancing.
  • Encourage the use of reusable, washable fabric masks in the office, in place of single-use disposable masks.
  • Look for ways to reduce plastic waste and replace with more sustainable materials.
  • Invest in low-consumption and water-saving energy solutions to help reduce operational costs.
  • Bloomberg reports that investors are taking a more substantial interest in businesses focused on sustainable energy, sustainable materials and broader wellness. Shifting toward greener habits can help your business to attract investment while bouncing back from the effects of COVID-19.

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