Every entity on the planet bears the responsibility for understanding the circumstances that enable its existence. While in quest of superiority, we tend to forget the responsibility towards the environment. Our pursuit of growth should not be at the expense of the environment. Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and it also determines success at all levels. Accordingly, an increasing number of workplaces around the world are leaning towards being more sustainable ones that prioritise the goal of balancing the planet, people, and profit to produce success and viability in the long-term. A sustainable workplace focuses on safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of its most cherished asset-employees.
Beyond the Cubicle
The contemporary sustainable workplace is built around a green office space. A sustainable, or green, workspace explores the efficient use of energy, water and materials. It is a design-based process which helps conserve the resources and decrease the negative impacts of the use of the resources on human health and the environment. It facilitates a happier and motivated work environment, which eventually increase employee productivity and fewer work-related hazards, illnesses, and mishaps. It has become fundamental in boosting the overall revenue and reputation of the organisation.
The concept of a sustainable workplace is relatively new in Bangladesh. Although there is a general acknowledgement about its necessity, the adaptation and implementation of sustainable office designs has been sluggish. A few of the largest companies operating in the country have begun the transformation towards sustainable workplaces. And the implementation has been remarkable and compatible with international standards. In Bangladesh, Guardian Life Insurance Limited (GLIL), the fastest growing life insurance company in Bangladesh, is leading the path towards workplace sustainability. Its pursuit of achieving environmental sustainability has received international recognition from one of the leading bodies in the world. Guardian Life Insurance Limited's (GLIL) Gulshan Head Office has been awarded the LEED Platinum Certificate by the United States Green Building Council "USGBC". GLIL is the only insurance company to receive this certification in Bangladesh. In fact, it is the first private company in Bangladesh to have achieved this certification under ‘Interior Design & Construction “.
An Aesthetical Masterpiece
The LEED-certified headquarters of Guardian Life Insurance at Police Plaza Concord, Gulshan is the result of modern innovation and fine artistry. It is one of only three projects in Bangladesh that has received this certification. The open-concept office is designed keeping sustainability and efficiency in mind; it enhances collaboration through creative, social and casual interactions. Taking in view the demand of the contemporary workplace, the design concept was based on the loop of "focus-collaborate-learn-socialise". The full-height windows with a 360-degree view of the Hatirjheel Lake and Gulshan-1 were fully utilised by the design team to ensure the penetration of optimum daylight and its beneficial rays inside, alongside minimal solar heat gain and glare, for an improved mental health and energy efficiency. The LED lights installed throughout the floor are equipped with sensors that allow the lights to turn on when LUX level decreases to 150 and the floor is occupied by an employee, maintaining an energy level of 38.19 per cent and utilising daylight of 85 per cent.
Incredible Vision, Impeccable Execution
The open layout, with a central alley accommodating the workstations of the executive bodies of the office, induces a collaborative environment.
Only 30 per cent of the total floor area is partitioned and designed with glass enclosures to establish a visual coherence and unobstructed flow of natural light. Concurrently, several self-service counters are designed close to different segments of the workstations, which would enable employees to get off their desks and have beverages. GLIL follows a zero wastage policy in its workplace by implementing “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” strategy. Subsequently, the company maintains green operations, cleaning, maintenance as well as green education to ensure their team has a healthy and safe working environment. Concurrently, during the construction phase, GLIL had reached another milestone with zero casualties at the site and 95 per cent management of construction waste, which is a pre-requisite for the recognition.
Since its inception, Guardian Life Insurance Limited (GLIL) has been making breakthroughs in the insurance sector and beyond. They have brought intelligence, innovation and investment in an industry that had been riddled with decades of lingering problems. GLIL has been a game-changer in the Bangladeshi insurance sector and has been pivotal in establishing client interest and reliability too in the industry. The LEED certification shows GLIL's commitment to a sustainable environment. It is a reflection of the company's outstanding leadership and unyielding approach to compliance. It is one of many achievements in GLIL's brief stint so far, and all these indications point towards more accomplishments in the future.
Rubayat Saleheen is Senior Vice President & Head, Marketing & Communication Department, Guardian Life Insurance Limited.