The concept of the co-working space has revolutionised the way people work, rejecting the traditional corporate hierarchy and emphasising important values, such as collaboration, openness, community and accessibility. These values can also fall under a very important umbrella generally referred to as “Sustainability”. Our Sustainability Guru (and London Fields Membership Manager) Ana, tells us more about our drive to become a green co-working space.
The word sustainability derives from the Latin “sustenere”, which means “to give support”, “to nourish”, and “to prolong”. Since the 1980s, when the United Nations started using the term in the context of ‘sustainable development’, it has been applied not only to the environment, but also to the economy and communities. Environmental, economic, and social sustainability are each essential pillars of sustainability. So, sustainability is about more than recycling and other environmentally friendly practices: it also includes thinking about ways to support and nourish communities of colleagues, co-workers, and beyond.
On the operations side of things, co-working spaces are by definition more efficient than a typical office space: facilities and staff are shared between a larger number of members, keeping overheads and other costs lower. This demands the development of strategies that make some of the operations more automated, such as use of movement sensors in lighting, or smart air conditioning. The advantage of such time-saving measures, is that at the same time they can also decrease our energy usage, reducing our bills as well as our environmental impact. Overall, this means that Work.Life is in a good position to reach a high level of energy efficiency.
That being said, our main goal at Work.Life is to help people to enjoy the time they spend at work. Our members tend to be eco-aware, and they prefer environmentally friendly and ethically produced goods, such as fair trade fruit or organic milk. Moreover, most of our members live close to work, which allows them to use sustainable means of transportation such as walking or cycling, reducing their CO2 emissions and exposure to air pollution.
Beyond these environmental aspects, we can think of Work.Life as composed of sustainable communities, in that our sites connect their members. This organically leads to collaboration and connections, which can over time develop into a dense and resilient thicket of ideas and resources.
For these reasons, when we started looking in detail at ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of each one of our operations at Work.Life, we realised that the foundations for this project were already there.
Over the last two months, we have been consolidating the sustainability potential of our sites, by improving our systems, developing new signage, and making our operations more efficient. We have also started new partnerships with local community groups, such as community gardens, ensuring Work.Life sites are grounded in their neighbourhoods.
We were very happy to see the positive response of our members and staff to this. One good example is the current recycling competition between our sites: in only one month, we have doubled our recycling rates – winning silver certificates from First Mile, and in some sites recycling up to 60% of all our waste!
Becoming a green co-working space is our goal, and we can’t wait to continue working towards a more sustainable future for Work.Life, with the help of our staff, members, visitors and partners.
Book a tour of any of our green co-working spaces here!