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A Changing Workforce is Changing Offices

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst of change for much of the world. Part of this change is an increased awareness of personal health, and how broader factors like the climate crisis impact that. Employees, especially those in the professional sector, are asking their companies to reflect this new mindset before they return to the office full-time.

Employees want this new healthy mindset manifested in their offices, even if it means physical changes to the building. As the professional world fights back against a labor shortage, companies everywhere are desperate to keep their employees. To do so, they are going to have to change their buildings for the better, and construction and planning industry professionals need to be equipped to creatively address these evolving changes and demands.

Health and Sustainability

Remote work has enlightened employees. Many now realize the effects their office and work environment were having on them. According to new data from our recent report, The Case for Office Space: How Buildings Need to Change to Suit a Climate-Conscious, COVID-Weary Workforce, 57% of employees said working in the office negatively impacted their health. Knowing this, they are not willing to return to working under the same conditions when productivity levels while working remote stayed the same over the past year.

The past year impacted the priorities of workers across the nation; 82% of workers said that the climate crisis was an important issue to them. They’re making changes to lower their environmental footprints and are expecting their companies to do the same.

How Will Buildings Change?

So what changes do employees want exactly? And how will this impact offices? To start, 61% of employees want increased health and safety measures. This doesn’t just mean increased sanitation and better air filtration. They want their mental health to be taken seriously by employers and access to things such as natural light through more windows.

They are also calling on their companies to take a more active approach to sustainability. The most important factors employees want to be addressed are renewable energy (66%) and reduced reliance on single-use materials (51%). Employees are expecting their companies to take the climate crisis seriously and 83% of employees believe the climate plays a direct role in their individual health. Decision makers need to weigh the costs and benefits of what their employees are asking for to create a healthy working environment.

These requests from employees serve as an opportunity for construction companies like NEXT Energy Technologies to implement their products. NEXT has developed low-cost, printable, transparent coatings that are integrated into windows, allowing unwanted IR/UV light to be converted into renewable power. This renewable power can then be used to power buildings and help companies cut back on their carbon emissions.

Following Through

Even though 80% of decision-makers said they would improve their office’s sustainability to maintain employees, close to a third (32%) of companies are not actively taking steps to address this crisis. Empty promises from employers will not be enough to bring their workforce back in person full-time.

In order for companies to start filling offices back up, they are going to need to make the changes to their spaces, like implementing solar power generating windows. Creating more sustainable offices is just one change that will encourage employees to return.

To learn more about the changes employees are asking their employers, check out our newest report here.


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