The Rise In The Sustainable Office


Firstly, what is a sustainable office?

Sustainable offices are a hot topic, many companies now are pledging to be net zero by 2030, as well as being more aware of the changes needed to be made in order to slow down the impact of a warming climate. Every little helps, and companies can do their part by reducing their carbon footprint and operating sustainably. On this topic, a large part of a business operating sustainably can be reflected by the construction and design of the office space itself.

There is no formal definition of a sustainable office, however, a sustainable office can be referred to as an office that is designed and built with a low carbon footprint; this can also include the way a company operates and what initiatives they have in place. GoBright defines a sustainable office as one that promotes environmental awareness and strives to reduce the depletion of natural resources. Today, we are going to cover the benefits of going green, what this can mean for your business, and if you’re heading down the road to an exciting office refurbishment and/or fit out, what you can do in the process to ensure you are acting as sustainably as possible.


The benefits of going green

Sustainability has become a key part in long term business strategy, whilst many companies are adopting eco-friendly practices, there are some huge benefits to going green:

  • Talent attraction
  • Meeting ESG goals
  • Reducing costs 
  • Enhancing brand reputation
Talent attraction 

More and more employees now tend to value sustainability, a report by JLL showed that almost 80% of organisations surveyed said their employees “will increasingly expect the workplace to have a positive impact on the environment”. Employees are now seeking opportunities to work for eco-conscious companies; the businesses acting now have the upper hand when it comes to talent acquisition as the importance of this aspect continues to grow, making it more difficult for those businesses who are not committing to improve sustainability and leaving them unable to attract the same level of talent. Freshminds suggests that millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, and that this generation is looking for socially responsible employers. Therefore, to ensure companies are ready for this generational shift, they must act responsibly.

Meeting ESG goals

A company’s ESG goals should be shared with everyone across the business so they are on board and understand what it is you are trying to achieve – everyone will play a role in some way. Going green not only helps businesses comply to government regulations relating to environmental impact, but it also benefits the company by helping reach ESG goals. Companies are placing more value on office buildings that include sustainability credentials. A recent project of Ben Johnson Interiors, Hedgehog Lab, is a great example of this. Hedgehog Lab are working towards their B Corp Certification this year, and took the decision to relocate to Strawberry Lane, the building has a strong focus on renewable energy and minimising environmental impact, which is perfect for the team at Hedgehog Lab. Every business, much like Hedgehog Lab, have their own ESG goals and making a decision such as this aligns with their environmental commitments, as well as providing a sustainable office space for the team to work in!

Reducing costs 

One immediate benefit of going green is cost savings. Implementing energy efficient measures can reduce utility bills significantly. A survey conducted by SAP, reported that 31% of businesses have already seen a strong positive impact on revenue and profits through improving their sustainability credentials, including 57% who expect to see a return on investment from at least one key green project in the next 5 years. Another great way to reduce costs with sustainability in mind is by adopting waste reduction, repurposing and recycling initiatives, which will therefore reduce waste management expenses.

Enhancing brand reputation 

Whether your business is a B2B or B2C, consumers and businesses alike are more environmentally conscious than ever before. Implementing green initiatives not only boosts your brand reputation but can give your business a competitive edge. A proactive approach and being eco-friendly can create opportunities for collaboration with like-minded businesses, therefore expanding networks and building relationships along the way. Taking a greener approach that aligns with public sentiments can portray your business as responsible and forward thinking.


Going green in the office doesn’t have to be costly

An office refurbishment with a focus around sustainable design will do wonders for your business, including increasing staff wellbeing and creating a more productive environment. However, small changes can go a long way too. Making minor amends within the workplace, such as going paperless; motion activated lighting; buying in bulk to avoid smaller deliveries (and therefore reducing fuel consumption and carbon footprint); clearly labelled recycling bins and a cycle to work scheme to encourage greener commutes (which is one of the things we implement here at Ben Johnson!) can all help to build a sustainable workplace of the future. If you want to get creative, organising green focussed events (such as beach cleans etc) within the workplace is a great way to get team members involved in more sustainable activities and make it more fun, this could also provide an opportunity for team building as well as helping the planet.

If you’re planning an office refurbishment, what can you do to ensure you are acting sustainably?

Going through the process of an office refurbishment or fit out is exciting news for your business and employees alike. Updating your workplace can utilise the space better, encourage collaboration and massively boost productivity. Here are a few of our key tips to consider when designing your new office space with sustainability in mind:

  • Utilise low carbon materials and ensure products used are from UK manufacturers
  • Reuse and upcycle existing furniture where possible
  • Design with energy efficiency in mind
  • Ensure proper waste management and recycling routines are followed
Reducing carbon emissions by choosing UK manufacturers

Here at Ben Johnson Interiors, we work with all UK manufacturers unless a project specifically requires us to look overseas for a solution. This is because if we can source things locally, not only are we supporting our local industries, but we are also reducing carbon emissions massively when compared to sourcing from international suppliers. Similarly, we have tried and tested subcontractors based all over the UK and can therefore tailor our offering and ensure the chosen site team is local to your project, guaranteeing the lowest carbon footprint possible. We can also supply ESG sheets for all products included within a project, giving you peace of mind that the products you are purchasing are made with sustainability in mind. These points are definitely something to consider when you are choosing your office design and build partner.

Reuse and upcycle existing furniture where possible

Whilst new furniture is a fantastic way to improve the workplace offering to your employees, it is also good to bear in mind that reusing and upcycling products is totally possible. For example, we have recently completed a third project for our client Circus PPC due to continued expansion within their business. Circus kept the overall look and feel of the project very similar to our previous office fit out, meaning that we were able to reuse products such as desking and soft seating in the new space and then purchased new key pieces to fill the larger office space that aligned with the items that were reused. All new pieces were also purchased with sustainability in mind.

Design with energy efficiency in mind

Sourcing products with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind is a great place to start when designing your office space. An easy way to achieve a more energy efficient workplace is by choosing the correct lighting set up throughout the space, and utilising any natural light your space has on offer.

Building regulations require us to have certain light levels (these are called lux levels) within our workspaces, in order to keep the workforce happy and healthy. Offices using built in PIR sensors are more energy efficient on average, and therefore including this type of lighting within your space can reduce your overall carbon footprint. However, certain industries may need a more specialised lighting set up, requiring specific lighting near their desks, or even including personal task lighting.

Efficient use of both water and heating within your office space is also a great way to ensure that your workplace is as energy efficient as possible. It is important to discuss this during the design phase of your project to ensure the right solution for your business and your teams.

Ensure proper waste management and recycling routines are followed

As mentioned previously, incorporating a proper waste management policy and recycling strategy is vital within a modern office space. Having clearly marked waste and recycling facilities set up throughout the office space and within the breakout areas will encourage teams to properly take accountability of their waste, and play their part in supporting your greener office.

As a business, a lot of Ben Johnson’s waste comes from our sites. We ensure that all on site waste is managed properly; any recyclable waste is disposed of correctly and we even have certification year on year to show how much furniture was diverted from landfill, and how much packaging has been recycled. As we also do a lot of work within the medical and healthcare sectors, and a key part of this is ensuring that any hazardous waste is safely disposed of. We are also very proud to say that we have achieved our ISO 14001:2015 accreditation and strive to continually improve our environmental stand point.


If you’re looking for ways to operate more sustainably, starting with your office space, look no further. With over 60 years combined experience within our team, and the sustainable credentials to match, we can help move your business forward, the green way! Get in touch with us today to find out more about our recent projects and how we have helped our clients.