Business transformation towards sustainability
If 2021 was the year where we looked towards the ‘new normal’, many businesses are now viewing 2022 as the year where hybrid working will be the settled choice rather than the necessity for the decade and beyond to come.
Whilst our collective optimism can sometimes peak and then dip as we read the headlines about new COVID variants, more and more office-based businesses are keeping calm and putting plans for their workspaces into practice rather than worrying about what is round the corner next in the pandemic.
The onset of coronavirus came as a shock to every corporation and only in 2021 did we see businesses start to consider the medium and long-term implications of how their workforces would function in future.
That included reviewing budgets and assessing what office accommodation was needed, how it would be furnished – and how much any change would cost.
Both executives and employees are on the same page that hybrid working is the future and with that, the shape of the old office with rows and rows of screens and chairs is becoming a thing of the past.
Where a business such as ours is meeting demand is by facilitating that transformation – working with companies to understand their requirements and then providing high quality furniture to provide an environment where staff want to spend time.
And importantly from the perspective of company leaderships, this can be achieved in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.
In locations across the UK, we have been asked to accelerate the removal of existing office furniture by companies responding to change and reconfiguring their set-up, often introducing breakout areas, sofas and catch-up pods instead. Less desks - and more informal spaces for collaboration as we move into 2022.
The good news is that most of the furniture we remove can be saved from landfill, with quality chairs, sofas, desks and other items refurbished and renewed to an exceptional specification and then sold to other firms and individuals at a fraction of the RRP cost. This includes internationally acclaimed brands such as Steelcase and Herman Miller.
The demand for vibrant and flexible office spaces has never been greater and this has also been coupled with a desire to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of the transformation.
On average, manufacturing a new office chair produces carbon emissions of 72KgCO2 but by buying a re-loved item, the equivalent of emissions from a 300-mile journey in a standard family car can be removed from our atmosphere.
Where large organisations are buying at scale, this is a huge cumulative saving. To date, we’ve sold 45,000 second-hand office chairs - saving emissions equivalent to 2,400 flights between London and Sydney.
We might still be in a state of flux regarding the pandemic but things are looking more certain now on how office spaces will be configured in future and it comes at a time when it is easy to square the circle between flexibility, value and sustainability. Where we can be certain is that by the end of 2022, it is a transformation that many more companies will have completed successfully.
By Ross Dutton, managing director at 2ndhnd.com