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Almost a third of total employees (32%) surveyed agreed that they would only work for an employer that prioritizes sustainability. Of that total, 42% of millennials, 30% of Gen-X, and 21% of Boomers somewhat or strongly agreed to the statement, “I would only work for an employer that prioritizes sustainability.”

About a third of employees (35%) think that instituting sustainability practices at work would boost productivity rates, position their company as a leader (31%), and open more opportunities for innovation (37%). Forty-three percent think it would improve workplace culture.

In a recent study from Adobe, “Adobe Document Cloud Sustainability at Work Report,” U.S. employees were asked about their opinions and beliefs about sustainable workplace practices in the present and their hope for the future of workplace sustainability.

It depends — hybrid vs. in-office workers

Employee perceptions of environmental impact depends on the office setting. Compared to employees that work in a physical office, hybrid and remote employees feel more strongly that office commutes (40% and 52% vs. 27%), physical office footprints (40% and 45% vs. 27%), and business travel (26% and 31% vs. 16%) contribute to their employers’ environmental impact.

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But in-office employees, who are closer to company-wide trash cans, are more concerned about food waste (33%) than hybrid (23%) and remote (16%) employees.

Barriers to workplace sustainability

However, employees say rising supply costs (64%), supply chain shortages (48%), and geopolitical issues (29%) will be major challenges for corporate sustainability initiatives in the next five years.

Yet 42% of employees think their company will spend between $100,000-$1,000,000 on sustainable alternatives in that time. One in five ballpark more than a million.

Image source: Adobe.

Looking at the future of sustainability practices

Fast forward 10 years, most employees expect sustainability to be fully embedded in their work culture. They believe their companies will revamp their internal processes (71%) and have a dedicated sustainability department (64%).

Long story short, employees feel strongly about achieving sustainable workplaces and lifestyles. More than half (62%) say they’ll spend up to $10,000 on sustainable alternatives in the next five years and one in five (19%) predict to spend between $1,000-$5,000.

In the next 10 years, they’re willing to reduce their plastic use (78%), purchase more sustainable products (75%), and change their travel habits (53%) and home energy source (52%). They’re not quite sold on reducing car travel though — only 27% plan to rely more on public transportation.

Reducing the environmental impact of workplaces — in office, hybrid or remote — is a work in progress, but employees have a passion for getting involved.

The Adobe Document Cloud Sustainability at Work Report surveyed 1,400 enterprise knowledge workers in the U.S. from February 25–March 14, 2022 via a 15-minute online survey.

Read the full report from Adobe.

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