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Sustainability tops the agenda for workers returning to the office

Sustainability tops the agenda for workers returning to the office

Post-pandemic, the spotlight is on sustainability for public sector businesses, Rebecca Fairfield, Head of Key Accounts at BRITA VIVREAU shares some simple steps that can make a real difference

With the end to home working on the horizon, many public sector businesses will be preparing office spaces for their employees’ return. However, despite hygiene and social distancing measures featuring high on the agenda, there are other aspects that can’t be ignored if companies are to get the most out of their staff.

In fact, our new research asked office workers what is most important when returning to the office now, compared to pre-pandemic. Interestingly the majority (82%) of workers claim sustainability now tops their agenda1. What’s more, 55% of people feel that climate change has affected their wellbeing[1] with some branding the phenomenon ‘eco-anxiety’.

Not only is poor mental health costing UK businesses £45 million every year[2] but the demand for support services is at its highest ever rate[3]. The research also found that almost three quarters (73%) of employees would be more likely to leave their job if their work environment is not designed with mental health in mind[4].

Therefore, now is the time for businesses across the public sector to evaluate their sustainability measures and make some small, yet positive changes, which will benefit the planet and also help employees feel like they are making a difference.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

According to the Green Alliance, 700,000 plastic bottles are littered every day in the UK. Single use water bottles make up half of the plastic litter in the Thames[5].

A simple way to reduce the use of single-use plastics is by installing a water dispenser. As well as supporting health, wellbeing and hygiene agendas, water dispensers also have a range of sustainability benefits.

They are space savers that lower energy consumption by eliminating the need to store and refrigerate single-use plastic water bottles or use water coolers. What’s more, the specialist cooling technology and natural refrigerant helps to lower power consumption and reduce emissions.

It can make a dramatic difference, in fact, if 100 people each drink approximately one litre of filtered water daily from a dispenser, rather than plastic bottled water, it equals 506kg less plastic waste per year?

BRITA VIVREAU’s Fill is our most efficient water dispenser yet, offering a sustainable, hygienic and flexible way to enjoy freshly chilled, filtered water. Its natural refrigerant offers powerful cooling technology, without the need for shipping, storing and refrigerating individual plastic bottles, immediately saving on those ongoing costs.

Always opt for reducing and reusing first, as these practices skim the excess. When there’s no reusable alternative or reusing simply doesn’t work for your business, you can start a recycling programme and encourage people to get involved.

Bring the outdoors in

Introducing plants into the office can boost oxygen levels and also make the place feel more relaxing. This doesn’t need to be hard work as there are a multitude of low maintenance options available. Also consider natural furnishings like bamboo and cotton instead of synthetic materials and allow the light to match circadian rhythms.

Invest in nature

Why invest in expense and environmentally unfriendly lighting and ventilation solutions when nature can do the job for you?

By relying on natural lighting options over electrical options significantly reduces your energy usage and, in turn, your carbon footprint. Furthermore, it can also lead to a healthier and more comfortable environment for your employees. As does natural ventilation, the primary purpose of which is to provide low humidity, moderate temperature wind currents as an alternate cooling source. Natural ventilation can replace all or part of a mechanical system—reducing construction, energy and operating costs for the owner.

Supplier sustainability

Finally, consider suppliers with sustainable values, which can help to expand your eco initiatives and bolster your position on sustainability. Work closely with your suppliers to ensure they understand your sustainability needs better and can adapt their services to suit your business.

Find out more about how a hygienic, safe and sustainable water dispenser can assist your public sector workplace by heading to www.brita.co.uk/water-dispensers or contact Head of Key Accounts, Rebecca Fairfield on 07483078181 or rfairfield@brita.net


[1] British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

[2] Deloitte, 2020

[3] The Guardian, 2020

[4] 3GEM and BRITA Vivreau, March 2021

[5] Green Alliance – Losing the bottle

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