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Eco-Working Reinventing Workspaces

16 October 2019

Newtown Square, a subsidiary of La Française group, offers flexible workspaces and coworking spaces for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

This new activity was launched this summer and it has a different approach: eco-working. Eco-working enables anyone to bring a project to life while offloading aspects that are potentially harmful to their plans. The concept of individual ecology is only meaningful if we can consider the working environment as being ‘healthy’ for users, like in the saying “healthy body, healthy mind”. That’s where eco-working comes in.

To make its project a success, Newtown Square has a multi-step plan to build its workspaces on solid, sustainable foundations. 

Its first goal is an environmental commitment. Banning the use of plastic and paper in everyday life is a very ambitious challenge.  We cannot avoid packaging on a fruit salad bought at the local supermarket for lunch or on a parcel delivered to our workstation, but we can rethink many of our everyday habits. At Newtown Square, this starts first thing in the morning in the shared kitchen area. We choose a cup or mug before making a cup of eco-friendly zero-pesticide tea or coffee. We can avoid printing more than we need to by checking the printing quota assigned to each workstation each month. The plastic badges used to enter the building have been replaced by Filtdesk, a free app developed by a French start-up that users can install on their smartphone.

The second goal covers quality of life and well-being: making the workspace pleasant, welcoming and user-friendly. This objective led the teams in charge of the project to design responsible workspaces by limiting their environmental impact. Nearly all lights use LEDs with light switches – just like at home – so users can switch lights on or off as required. This also makes individuals aware of their energy use. The office furniture is comfortable and attractive, sourced second-hand from the circular economy. All the plants at Newtown Square had a previous life in hotels, restaurants or offices. We have taken them in and look after them each day.

A number of services are also committed to socially responsible initiatives.  For example, working with local businesses or choosing partners that have ethical commitments. Maintenance teams are all employed by our partner on permanent contracts and they only use 100% natural products.

These projects and their different “Impacts” represent part of the journey. Newton Square and its members have undertaken to make changes to the working environment to make it healthier. Other projects are planned, the most symbolic of which is the offsetting of co-working workstations’ carbon emissions by planting trees in the Ile-de-France region. We are continuing to make progress in our journey towards the transition.

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