Is this the moment for sustainability in Business?
We are in a time where previously unthinkable approaches have become the new normal overnight. As businesses struggle to maintain their footing in a Covid-19 world, the pandemic has also given them a glimpse of a more sustainable and efficient way of working which will be seen as a revolution in their future productivity.
Working from home, virtual meetings and zoom quizzes have become the norm in the majority of employees' lives, with the period of mandatory lockdown demonstrating how businesses can still operate and their employees be just as productive, with some finding even more so! We also need to be aware of the challenge this has been for some employees who have had dramatic reductions in their productivity due to juggling childcare and home schooling etc. This also creates less distinction between home and work lives, which creates anxiety and stress for many people.
Meanwhile, the pandemic is showing businesses the options for flexibility and while the crisis exposes weaknesses in their existing operations, it also opens the door to shorten supply chains and make them more transparent, socially conscious and environmentally friendly (for example; less commuting to work and travel for business has contributed to a dramatic decline in air pollution and clearer waters), however the environmental benefits are not always clear cut. For example, asking staff to work from home only moves carbon emissions from an office block to their homes. Assuming that office blocks will still be heated and lit to accommodate some staff, there may well be a net increase in carbon emissions as a result of people working from home. The biggest saving comes from not travelling.
Businesses are also seeing the benefits of going the extra mile for employees, customers and suppliers—whether it’s introducing a special discount as a thank you to our NHS Staff or local authorities finding their staff are getting through more planning applications working from home.