How to Achieve an Eco-friendly Coworking Space: Is Paperless The Key?

Is going paperless the key to creating an eco-friendly workplace? Here’s what you need to know, from sustainable spaces to natural lighting.
By Guest Contributor
December 12, 2022
Ecofriendly Coworking Space Guest Blog Heading

This is a guest blog written by Yauhen Zaremba, the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc.

We are all becoming more aware of climate change and how our choices can impact the environment. With many people making personal changes such as eating less meat and recycling more, there’s no reason why our professional lives shouldn’t also be increasingly green. 

As well, businesses are looking for ways to save money. Energy costs are one of the top costs that owners of office spaces face, especially during the winter and summer months when you need heating or air conditioning to keep your space comfortable for coworkers. 

So how can you create coworking spaces that are climate sensitive? Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to establish an eco-friendly coworking space. 

What is an eco-friendly coworking space?

If you are establishing a coworking space, you might be busy looking into funding and how you are going to build your community. So you may not be considering what an eco-friendly coworking space might look like.  

However, a sustainable working environment doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment. Instead, an eco-friendly coworking space is simply one that encourages environmental awareness and the protection of natural resources, as well as providing a green working environment. 

With that in mind, creating an eco-friendly coworking space shouldn’t add to the list of common challenges that come with running a coworking space. In fact, even the smallest of changes can help you to reduce the environmental footprint of your space.

Benefits of Eco Friendly Coworking Space

What are the benefits of an eco-friendly coworking space?

Being eco-friendly obviously has its benefits for the environment. However, it can also bring different advantages for your business as well as the people who use your coworking space. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should try to create an eco-friendly coworking space:

1. Positive brand reputation 

Reputation can make or break any business. It goes without saying that you want your brand to be as positive as possible. 

With young professionals making up the target audience for most coworking spaces, it’s important to keep in mind that 71% of millennials agree that climate change should be our top priority.

If your brand develops a reputation as an eco-friendly business, you will generate positive word-of-mouth and grow your business. 

2. Improved productivity

Chances are, one of the reasons your clients are using your coworking space is that they want to be more productive. So it goes without saying that everything you do should focus on improving productivity. 

Luckily, it is well known that green spaces can increase productivity. So by including plants and increasing the amount of natural light, for example, you will make your office a better working space as well as a more eco-friendly one.

3. Reduced energy costs

Most businesses that rely on real estate costs – such as coworking spaces – will be acutely aware of energy costs. However, adopting an eco-friendly strategy will mean that you use less energy.

By reducing energy waste, you’ll not only help to save the planet but also save on your bills. It’s essentially a win-win!

4. Mental and physical wellbeing 

We already mentioned how adding plants to an office can improve productivity and have a huge impact on your customers’ mental and physical health.

Exposure to nature can boost mental well-being – especially in a city environment – while plants can help to improve the air quality in your space. This also means you won’t have to pay as much for air purifiers if you’re using them. 

Achieve an Eco Friendly Coworking Space

How can you achieve an eco-friendly coworking space? 

Now that you know the benefits of having an eco-friendly coworking space, it’s time to find out how to create one. 

1. Go paperless

One of the first changes you should make is to go paperless. With almost all work and transactions taking place online today – from customer support to signing a commercial proposal template –  there’s very little need for businesses to use masses of paper. What’s more, printing can produce needless waste.

While you probably won’t want to ban your customers from using paper in your space, you can help to set an example by running a completely paperless business and ensuring that your employees do their work electronically. 

If paper is essential to how you operate, encourage the reusing of printed materials such as scrap paper as well as double-sided printing. 

2. Create an eco-friendly culture 

Even with the most rigorous environmental measures in place, they will only be effective if people engage with them. To do this, consider setting up a team within your business that is responsible for promoting eco-friendly thinking and monitoring the sustainability of your space. 

When hiring new coworking staff, you could consider asking them about how they would pursue sustainability when working with you. 

You could also introduce challenges among your employees and the users of your coworking space. For example, you could hand out vouchers to people who don’t use disposable coffee cups for a month.

3. Build a natural environment 

An eco-friendly space should be as natural as feasible. Where possible, try to install larger windows or skylights and remove blinds. This will increase the amount of natural light in the space and help reduce energy wastage 

As well as this, you should use plants across your coworking space. This will improve air quality and encourage people to think environmentally, as well as being aesthetically pleasing!

4. Evaluate your use of space 

Evaluation of your working practices is an important part of any business process improvement strategy. Use this process when thinking about your space’s sustainability, particularly your use of space. 

It’s easy to overlook how you’ve used space but any large and empty area can be a huge waste of energy, whether it is heating or lighting. Try to use as much space as possible when thinking about your office layout. This will also help you maximize the square footage of your coworking space. And, increased utilization could lead to increased revenue. 

If you do have empty space that often goes unused, ensure that any devices in that area are unplugged, and try to close them off so that you don’t waste energy heating them when not in use. 

5. Follow the basics 

You probably don’t need to be told about the benefits of turning off lights when rooms aren’t in use and recycling your waste. However, diligently following these basic sustainability measures will help you to establish an eco-friendly working environment.

Ensure that messaging is clear, too. For instance, you could include signs in the break room asking people to turn off the light when they leave. As well as this, clearly signpost which bins are to be used for recycling different materials. 

6. Encourage recycling

As mentioned above you want to have clearly signposted bins for recycling throughout your coworking space. These should include bins not only for paper but for plastic, glass, and food waste.

Make sure your equipment is stocked with recyclable products and do away with single-use cups for water, tea, and coffee. Instead encourage coworkers to bring their own, cutting down on the amount of waste your space produces. 

Time to make your coworking space eco-friendly!

Ensuring your coworking space is eco-friendly is not only beneficial for the environment. You can also save on energy bills, improve your brand reputation, and increase productivity. 

By following a few simple steps – such as going paperless, encouraging recycling, and rethinking your use of space – you can easily create a sustainable and natural coworking space that works for everyone. 

With numerous benefits for the environment, your team, and your customers, there really is no reason not to make your coworking space eco-friendly. Following this guide will help you to keep on top of your environmental impact!

About the Author:

Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, recognized as the best contract management software and all-in-one document management solutions provider. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.