The Positive Impact of ESG Values on Workspace Design

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is a set of values by which a company’s sustainability and ethical impact on the environment and society can be evaluated. Investors and business owners have recognised the potential to create long-term value from this framework. More recently, socially conscious consumers, employees and society at large has pushed ESG to the forefront for businesses.

As a workforce strategy, ESG performance has become a competitive advantage – both in engaging today’s employees and attracting tomorrow’s talent.” Marsh & McLennan

Workplaces are a visible way to showcase ESG credentials to clients and employees and attract new talent. Designing workspace with ESG in mind, businesses are lowering their carbon impact and prioritising well-being, inclusivity and community engagement.

Refurbished Knoll Wassily Chairs

Workspace and the Environment

A Third of the UK’s biggest companies have pledged to eliminate their contribution to carbon emissions by 2050. Increasingly, businesses are looking at the environmental impact of the offices they occupy and how this can be reduced.

Embodied carbon is the carbon required to produce a product or service. This includes FF&E, IT solutions and the delivery, installation and clearance of these assets.

Tracking and managing this will become increasingly important so that businesses can accurately measure and mitigate scope 3 emissions.

Case Study: x+why Foundry, Birmingham

X+why is a purpose driven B‑corp provider of flexible workspace. They chose to include refurbished, second-hand furniture with considered new solutions for their new Birmingham location.

Over 500 Giroflex G64 task chairs were reconditioned and repaired for use in the space. With user manuals no longer available we created a custom user video.

Refurbished, second hand solutions were also supplied for public areas including the Mission Room’. The much-coveted Knoll Wassily lounge chairs in the social space add a touch of eye-catching classic design. A refurbished Ercol sofa in a meeting space, dining chairs and soft seating blend seamlessly with other furniture solutions.

Barclays Campus Glasgow

Workspace and Social Impact

A high turnover of staff, high absenteeism or turbulent relationships with the local community is bad for business. The social’ value in ESG fosters good relationships within the business, promotes well-being and inclusivity and benefits the local area.

Providing multiple settings ensures everyone in the business can find a workspace that works for them and the task at hand. This might include meeting space, focus space, collaboration space and also tech-free space. Enhancing workspace with acoustic solutions, biophilia, natural light and ergonomic solution promotes well-being and productivity.

Encouraging movement with outdoor space, sit-stand desks and high meeting tables — for example — helps employees stay physically active.

Building links with the local community fosters good relations and increase brand awareness. Local sourcing, supporting charities and small business creates a positive public perception.

Case Study: Barclays Glasgow

Transforming a brownfield site, Barclays invested in a 500,000 ft² site in the city centre.

Housing Technology, Operations, and Functions Teams, the opening of this workspace brought new high-value roles to the city. Two historic buildings were restored in the process and buildings were named to reflect the industrial heritage of Glasgow.

The state-of-the-art facility prioritises wellbeing with creative spaces, outdoor space, acoustic solutions and technology to support hybrid working. Scottish Autism assisted in the development of the space to design an inclusive space for neurodiverse employees.

In addition, space was set aside for community events and for social enterprises and small businesses to showcase their products. Local suppliers and contractors were used where possible and some of these firms scaled their business because of this work.

Workspace Governance

Attracting and retaining teams, winning tenders and investment can all be impacted by poor governance. Businesses need to demonstrate ethical standards in their workplace and in their supply chain.

For workspace, good governance involves continual monitoring and improving the design based on feedback and evolving needs. Open communication can be promoted by designing spaces that encourage interaction. Senior and junior and new and established team members should socialise in informal settings as well as formal meetings.

Suppliers should be ethical and transparent with traceable supply chains.


Designing a workspace underpinned by ESG values brings many benefits to a business. Creating an enhanced workspace it has a positive effect on productivity and attracts the best talent. Demonstrating awareness of the environment and social responsibility, positively impacts a business’s reputation and can reduce costs through better facility management. And engaging the community, providing event space, donating to charities, using local suppliers etc generates goodwill and good publicity.

Talk to our team about how we can support your ESG values with workspace consultancy and office furniture procurement. Contact us at