As we chart our course for a return to the office, many of us find ourselves dealing with the challenge of adapting to the new blended workspace environment, which often involves downsizing office space. As we continue to understand these post-pandemic shifts, we are left asking if we will ever return to the traditional office setup we once knew. Regardless of the direction it takes, we are amid this transitional phase, and it’s worth noting that we must adapt for the future workforce in a sustainable way.
When we prepare for this transition, we are faced with the fact that removing used office furniture is one tough row to hoe, especially when we consider the environmental implications of simply disposing of it in a landfill. Data from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) revealed that each year, 12.1 million tons of furniture are generated, with roughly 9.7 million tons ending up in landfills. Imagine if we continue down this path; how will that affect our future?
However, we’ve thought of some simple and sustainable solutions amidst these challenges that we can all participate in. These practical solutions can help you be both sustainable and cost-effective during your move.
Begin by identifying what items you currently have that you can use again or repurpose; this limits your need to purchase new things. If possible, why not repair or refurbish used items to extend their lifespan? Or get creative by finding new uses for unused items, like turning filing cabinets into planters. Additionally, establish an 'upcycling area' in your office which will allow your employees to drop off and pick up items that they can repurpose. Lastly, educate your team about the importance of reusing resources and organize an activity where you can give them prizes for any creative ideas they can think of to repurpose items. Giving them this chance to be resourceful and sustainable will not only minimize the carbon footprint but also instill a sense of environmental responsibility among your staff.
In cases where acquiring new products is necessary, there are manufacturers dedicated to sustainability. We are proud to collaborate with such manufacturers, offering the most eco-friendly and sustainable products.
Another vital aspect to consider when downsizing your office is selecting a facility resource partner who can make the transition seamless for you. Choose a partner that uses innovative solutions to address the dynamic changes of the future workforce and offers sustainability services.
At Apex, together with our sustainable manufacturers and eco-warrior partner organization, we make sure that we deliver a cost-effective solution for your office furniture, fixtures, supplies, and IT equipment. Our commitment to sustainability has produced great outcomes. In one notable project, we replaced 25-year-old Knoll Zoft workstations with remanufactured Herman Miller Ethospace units. This initiative encompassed the phased relocation of 750 employees, disassembly and disposal of the Knoll furniture, and the delivery and installation of the remanufactured Ethospace workstations. This was all coordinated in tandem with carpet replacement and low voltage updates. We delivered substantial cost savings of nearly $3,000,000, marking a significant milestone for our business.
As we navigate the uncertain waters of the evolving office landscape, our commitment to being environmentally responsible not only makes sense for our business but hopefully sets an example for a greener and more thoughtful future workspace.