As (Green Office) GO Coordinator, I have the pleasure to travel all over the Netherlands to visit several of the Green Offices. It is wonderful to see how each working space is designed in a different way, often reflecting the vision of the Green Office and the characteristics of the university they are situated in.
Innovation combined with coziness at TU Delft
In between the big buildings on the campus of TU Delft you can find a small house surrounded by solar panels. The Green Office of the TU Delft has the most remarkable office space of all (Green Offices) GOs that we visited. The house is part of the Green Village, a testing ground for innovations on sustainable living. Inside the house, you can find desks but also a television and a couch, and even a bathroom and bedroom! Very innovative, suiting the image of the TU Delft, but warm and cozy at the same time.
Hipster barista bar meets modern office with flexible workspaces at GOU
The Green Office of Utrecht University (GOU) recently moved to a new location. They now have a huge office with space for the staff members of the Program Team Sustainability and the GO employees. It is also always open to everyone else who wants to work in the office and enjoy free coffee. In this spirit the GOU embodies its vision of being a platform that tries to involve the whole university community with sustainability.
Pop-up offices at UGent and HU
At the UGent (Belgium) and the Hogeschool Utrecht, they chose for another type of innovative office space: no space! They have a mobile pop-up GO that is constantly moving around. In Gent, where the university buildings are scattered around the city, the pop-up office is moved to the different buildings in a carrier cycle.
Redesigning your own Green Office space?
Some general tips:
(1) Make it functional
One big meeting room and several small rooms where people can work quietly is ideal for an efficient working atmosphere. Having the possibility to book extra rooms is a plus for bigger events and meetings. If you are a small GO or not so much resources, sharing a room with other organizations might be a good option. Indicate what day/time people can pass by to meet the team and exchange ideas
(2) Make it visible
The new location of the GOU is very central on the campus, so a lot of people stumble into the GO, curious what it is. The pop-up office is a good alternative to consider if your university is fragmented, and is also if you have a central GO it is good to come out from time to time: pre
(3) Show who you are
You want people to get an immediate sense of sustainability when they are in the GO or pass by. Good examples are the huge solar panels at TU Delft GO, the green wall at GOU, and plants, lots of plants. Also, posters, pictures and materials from other events can give an immediate sense of what you are working on.
(4) Make it inviting
The most interesting conversations take place at the coffee machine, they say. An open and inviting office makes it a meeting space for everyone interested in sustainability. Have long opening hours, get a couch, give free coffee, think about the details, and you will build a green office community in no time.
Post written by Femke Lootens, Green Office Coordinator for the Netherlands. Photos by Green Office Gent, Utrecht and Delft.