Haworth is a global, family-owned office furniture manufacturer and workspace solutions provider. The company works with dealers to help architects, designers, and facility managers in the complex process of selecting, specifying, planning, and purchasing furniture and workspace interiors.
What criteria should an office meet if it is to be considered sustainable?
Essentially something is sustainable if it meets the requirements of today's generation without jeopardising the possibility of future generations to satisfy their own needs. This means that economic, ecological and social criteria have to be brought in line. Therefore those offices which avoid negative impacts and reinforce positive effects, with regard to productivity, environmental compatibility, social acceptability and health effects, are more sustainable.
What does this involve?
Anyone who has the power to influence the site or the building should start by doing that. Then, this includes the interior design, furnishings and office operations. The proximity to local public transport, efficient energy and waste management, access to daylight, good indoor air quality, flexible office furniture and the efficient use of office materials, e.g. when printing, all have an important role to play. At the heart of the matter are the intrinsic factors and the behaviour of each individual who can help create a sustainable office and who ultimately will benefit from it too.
Open spaces, desk sharing, home office – there are many types of offices. Which one gets the best results in terms of sustainability?
The design of an office should start with the company culture and with the tasks to be carried out by the employees. A workspace has to be functional and, at the same time, be as economical, healthy, socially acceptable and environmentally compatible as possible. Often the most sustainable type of office results from a combination. From a resource point of view, desk sharing makes a lot of sense if the workspace suits all those involved - not least when it comes to the table and chair settings. The home office doesn't just save travel to and from the office, and therefore resources, it can also improve work-life balance. Technological solutions may be required to allow communication with colleagues. Open spaces increase the chances of exchanging information whilst the amount of space, and consequently the associated economic and ecological costs, can be reduced. In all, well organised sharing of workspaces can be more sustainable than people 'owning' spaces.