Keywords: communication, disclosure, governance, knowledge, partnerships, post-occupancy evaluation, trust, transparency, workplace sustainability, sustainable development, building management, landlords, employees, office workers, social dynamics, high-rise offices
Partnering for sustainability in the workplace
There is nothing very sustainable about many workplaces. Doing something about it can be expensive, but even when large sums have been spent on design and construction, much of the benefit relies on the cooperation of staff. A more sustainable strategy than the capital investment alone, is to make the workplace more sustainable in the way employees operate in it. More specifically, the key to enduring and efficient work practices that minimise resource use and waste while maximising well-being, is the nurturing of partnerships between the building managers and the workers. Kimmet explores this assertion in relation to the social dynamics in the typical office high-rise. The relationship between office building landlords and occupants has traditionally been confined to financial negotiations over rent and services. This almost inevitably combative arrangement which has contributed to the demands for 'quiet enjoyment' of leases and has significantly retarded the development of stakeholder partnerships so central to the sustainable outcomes. Kimmet argues that the creation of an efficient, productive and rewarding high-rise office atmosphere pivots on disclosure of knowledge, ideas and data, and lubricated by trust, transparency and accountable governance. Without the free flow of information, effective feedback loops and education programmes, office workers will remain disconnected from building management.