ESG has become increasingly important over the last few years across all sectors, and the flexible office industry is no exception. For many businesses, having their own ESG (Environmental Social Governance) agendas is a high priority, and ensuring that the office spaces they inhabit are socially and environmentally conscious is becoming a key factor in where they work. As the flexible office landscape continues to evolve we are seeing more focus from flex providers on the ‘social’ (S) aspect of ESG.
The ‘Social’ (S) aspect of ESG is gaining increasing traction with businesses focusing on the impact they have on their employees and local communities. This incorporates factors including businesses promoting diversity and supporting minority groups, paying fair wages to all staff members and choosing to partner with ethical businesses. It also promotes the support of and integration with local communities.
Below are some examples of flexible office providers across the UK who are prioritising the ‘S’ in ESG.
x+why have an array of workspaces across London, and one in Birmingham. It is one of just two B Corp certified flex spaces in the United Kingdom. This certification is a declaration from businesses to be a force for good within society, which provides a framework to continually measure and adapt their approach to achieve this. As part of this initiative, x+why is supporting other businesses to become B Corp certified through their established programme, WhyB, to offer guidance throughout the process.
Within their spaces x+why work with socially-conscious supply businesses including Oddbox, a socially and environmentally responsible fruit supplier, and The Soap Company, an East London based, ethical luxury brand. To support the local community, x+why display a rotating art collection hired from upcoming artists in the area. They also run a comprehensive events programme for members and the public to support the community and provide a platform to share successes.Find out more
Huckletree has flexible office space across the UK and in Dublin. Community is an important part of their ethos, and to help support and evolve their members, they have established a Culture and Diversity Committee. As part of this initiative they host monthly ‘voxbox’ meetings to discuss any challenges that members encounter. Resources are provided to help educate and impact change and diversity and inclusion training is offered.
Huckletree are also championing fairer funding for startups, and since 2018 have been campaigning for better access to funding irrespective of business founders’ backgrounds. They also run an Entrepreneur in Residence initiative which offers free use of Huckletree spaces for 12 months for early stage business founders.
Find out more about Huckletree’s spaces here.
Plus X is an innovation hub based in Brighton, with plans to open another space in London in 2023. Plus X has created a movement known as ‘Trailblazing for Change’ designed to empower unrepresented groups in business. As part of this, Plus X has pledged to provide support to females and marginalised genders in business through a number of initiatives. These initiatives include hosting events to enable these groups to better showcase their impact in their industries, and supporting people within local communities outside of their spaces to develop their skillsets.
Starting in 2022 they will be running a mentor program to help support women and individuals from marginalised genders. Plus X has also teamed up with the University of Brighton to create an innovation programme to support businesses in Sussex and the South East to grow. Find out more about Plus X’s workspace here.
Runway East is another UK based flexible office provider with 5 locations across London and two in Bristol. At the core of their ethos is a focus on supporting employees, customers and wider society. To do this Runway East have implemented initiatives including working with local and minority owned suppliers where possible, contributing all profits from food and beverage sales at their spaces to local charities, and offering free meeting and event rooms to local charities and community groups.
To promote inclusion within their workspaces Runway East provide gender-neutral bathrooms where possible and dedicated areas for prayer and maternity requirements, free of charge. To support employee wellbeing they give paid days off to those who volunteer and provide support to staff through mental health days.
Find out more about Runway East’s workspaces here.