Workers Want to Return to Green Offices

Survey finds employees’ expectations of sustainability have increased since the pandemic

June 15, 2022

Employees returning to their workplaces don’t only want to see cleaner offices, they also want to see greener offices. A survey from Essity Professional Hygiene of 2,000 U.S. workers who have returned to the office at least part time found that 75% want a more environmentally friendly workplace.

The survey revealed that respondents have become more invested in sustainable and green practices as about half of them (51%) became more eco-conscious when working from home. Almost half (46%) said they are now more aware of how green their workplace is, compared to when they worked in the same facility before the pandemic. More than half (58%) believe their office is “shamefully eco-unfriendly” and 34% believe environmental practices are usually an afterthought in their workplace.

“Working from home and in their personal spaces during the pandemic increased employees’ attention on what it takes to create environmentally friendly workplaces and employers should take note—especially those looking to retain and attract talent in this market,” said Don Lewis, Essity Professional Hygiene president. “Our research shows that as many as four in 10 employees prioritize companies based on their sustainability reputation and actions when looking for a new job. Increasing eco-friendly priorities in the workplace and empowering employees can create a greener office while helping drive employee engagement.”

The survey found:

  • 71% of respondents believe it is the employees themselves leading the change to sustainable practices in the workplace
  • 51% believe their employers need to better communicate the ways they intend to address sustainability in the workplace
  • 56% think their fellow employees could be doing more to turn their office into an eco-friendly place.

When asked who should be responsible for creating a sustainable office:

  • 32% of respondents said it was the responsibility of employers
  • 28% said employees should lead the way in sustainable practices
  • 27% said employers and employees should equally share the responsibility.

Essity suggests both businesses and workers can bolster sustainable practices in the workplace by:

  • Encouraging office recycling and re-use initiatives, such as the use of recycled paper
  • Looking into eco-friendly product options, such as hygiene products and surface cleaners
  • Upgrading your facility with digital solutions, such as dispensers that give cleaning teams access to real-time data.

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