25 May 2024

Why your office space will soon be obsolete

| The European |

The inexorable rise of the net zero workplace is a response to pressing climate concerns and a workforce increasingly conscientious about the environment

In an era where the “new normal” constantly defies definition, consider this: it’s not just technology or work culture that’s evolving – your very office space could soon be a relic of the past to your sustainability savvy employees. The driving force behind this transformative shift is the burgeoning demand for the Net Zero Office, a movement gaining traction across various industries. In this context, Sodexo, a global leader in workplace services, emerges not merely as a guide but as a strategic partner, committed to collaboratively climate-proofing your business for a sustainable future – all bolstered by technology and strategy, extending from workplace management to office food services.

A shifting consciousness in the workforce  

Today’s workforce seeks far more than mere remuneration and rudimentary benefits. According to the recent ‘Sodexo Work Experience Tracker’ survey, which engaged over 3,000 UK working adults, an overwhelming 90% in the private sector anticipate sustainable operations in their workplaces. For Gen Z in particular, vague pledges won’t suffice. They demand robust, empirical action.

Envisioning the future: What a net zero office could look like 

What if sustainability were not an adjunct, but the very sinew of your workplace environment? Sodexo sketches out a framework where both operational and employee-facing initiatives are scrupulously architected for ecological responsibility. At the operational core, factors such as progressive Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), targeted supply chain collaboration, and a nuanced energy portfolio incorporating Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are paramount. It transcends mere lip service to environmentalism; it’s a comprehensive, technologically-enabled blueprint that heightens the overall workplace ambience.

Herein lies the realm where the employee experience is sublimely designed. Think data-driven systems, from sensor technology to AI-orchestrated waste segregation, which steer individuals toward eco conscious choices. These are not superficial accoutrements; they are sine qua nons in the journey to institutionalise sustainability in your corporate ethos.

The importance of collective action 

One might argue that transitioning to a Net Zero Office is an onerous task, but the emphasis here is on collaboration. Sodexo’s approach underscores that whether you’re moving to a new space or renovating your current one, what’s essential is a shared commitment to the goal.

As Sodexo demonstrated during its recent ‘Partners with Purpose’ supplier event, clear direction and expectations about sustainability can give all stakeholders, including SMEs and social enterprises, the breathing room they need to adapt.

Mapping your sustainability journey

Drawing from Sodexo’s own roadmap, here’s a clear path to achieving a Net Zero Office:

  • Immediate steps – Begin with a baseline assessment of your current sustainability metrics;
  • Six months in – Develop a governance structure that engages your suppliers in the journey toward shared sustainability goals;
  • One year on – Make the full transition to sustainability by embedding these practices into your day-to-day operations.

A peek into Sodexo’s own commitments 

Sodexo’s ‘Social Impact Pledge’ outlines ambitious, yet pragmatic goals – ranging from reducing food waste at client sites by 50% by 2025 to increasing low-carbon commuting options for employees. While these are Sodexo’s own markers, they serve as a compelling illustration of what corporate commitments to sustainability could look like.

In conclusion, the idea of a Net Zero Office is far from utopian. It responds to pressing climate concerns and to a workforce increasingly conscientious about the environment. While Sodexo offers one well considered approach to this transition, the broader takeaway is clear: businesses stand to gain by integrating sustainability into their operational DNA.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, there is an open invitation for businesses to rise to the challenge of a more sustainable future. And in that future, the Net Zero Office is not a mere buzzword, but a baseline expectation.

About Sodexo

Sodexo is the global leader in services that improves efficiency and quality of life for businesses and institutions. The company operates in over 2,000 client sites across 53 countries, serving 100 million consumers daily. Sodexo’s expertise encompasses a unique blend of facility management and food services. In the UK and Ireland alone, Sodexo employs approximately 30,000 individuals and collaborates with a diverse range of clients in both the private and public sectors. Sodexo is committed to achieving a net zero carbon footprint, with a goal of 90% decarbonisation by 2045. 

Further information 


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