Environmentally conscious office workers worldwide acknowledge there is more to be done to create a greener workplace.

In January 2021, workplace strategists, WKSpace, surveyed 3,000 office workers in the UK, USA and the Netherlands (1,000 respondents in each market) to gauge attitudes towards sustainability and where the responsibility for change lies.

It highlights that while employees in all markets recognise the need to step up, there are big discrepancies in terms of where the responsibility for this lies.

For instance, despite the Netherlands arguably being the most environmentally conscious of the three territories, only a third of respondents (32%) said they were doing everything they could individually to make a positive impact on the environment. This compares to 42% of UK and 53% of American respondents
feeling that they’re doing their best already.

Similarly, the Netherlands had the highest proportion of workers declaring ‘room for improvement’ when it comes to personal efforts, suggesting that there is a strong awareness of the scale of the commitment required from everyone in this area going forward.

The research also indicates that Dutch and British workers prioritise individual efforts, citing cycling or walking to work as crucial drivers for a greener future. This aligns with WKSpace’s December 2020 research that revealed over 70% of British respondents are more mindful of their impact on the environment now, compared to pre-Covid-19.

In contrast, US respondents are seemingly wanting business to take the lead here, rather than relying on individual effort. American workers highlighted sustainable workplace practices as the most important aspect of driving change, with 23% of respondents stating that their employers are not encouraging any activity in
this area.

However, it’s worth noting that attitudes appear to have shifted considerably in the US compared to pre-pandemic. Then, Tarkett’s Rethinking Workplace research data showed that American respondents believed workplace aspects such as noise, poor layout and uninspirational decor were more pressing than the environment.

By June and September 2020, environmental policy ranked second and then top as workplace concerns for US office workers in Tarkett’s research.

In fact, the ongoing Rethinking Workplace research suggests a renewed sense of purpose and a strong desire to make a positive social impact in the wake of the pandemic. For the first time, environmental office policies are ranking as a top three workplace concern across all markets.

The Rethinking Workplace research has been tracking the wants and needs of office workers across 14 global territories since 2018.

To learn more about the role of sustainability in commercial office design, view our recent panel discussion: ‘Rethinking the Sustainable Workplace’.

Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Workplace and SSHL, Tarkett Full bio and articles

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