10 November 2021

If there’s a lesson to learn from the current historical phase of health and economic crisis, is that the wellbeing of workers is the key of a company success, as important as fragile and strongly affected by the demographic, technological and ecological transitions of our times. Good working conditions are crucial for both workers and employers to ensure a positive performance of the company. It’s time to work together on our future, on the sustainability of work.

Sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs" (Brundtland, 1987). A sustainable work is characterized by a caring work environment supporting employee wellbeing, matching their needs and abilities with the quality of jobs on offer and promoting living and working conditions positive enough to engage the workforce in remaining in work throughout an extended working life. In most cases, the results of sustainable work practices are impressive: high business performance, cohesion and cooperation among organizational members, knowledge sharing, commitment to common purpose…

When human resources are used in a sustainable way employees not only perform well but find motivation to be creative and innovative, to use their skills, talent, and energies at the best. Individuals’ availability for work, changing over the life course, is taken into account, the workload is under control and burnout is avoided, developing resilience and a good work-life balance.

Since people spend more hours at work than at home, a healthy work culture and a sustainable environment make the day less stressful, promote the longevity and the good reputation of the organization, increase employee productivity, driving the business to future success.

How to improve the sustainability of your workforce and workplace?

One first step is a green approach to business practices. Recent researches suggest that new more educated consumers and costumers care about sustainability and look for businesses and partners that share their values. An increasing number of companies, moreover, recognize the importance of corporate social responsibility in support of a sustainable behavior to protect our environment and spread eco-friendly practices with a positive impact.

Being truly sustainable is a hard goal to achieve but there are some simple practices to start the transitioning journey. It’s important to invest some time in training employees on the importance of sustaining the environment and be a model with organization practices, such as reducing the opportunities for wasting water and electricity, look for energy-efficient electronic products and use environmentally friendly settings on office equipment, use sustainable friendly vendors, develop an in-house program for recyclable products and use green cleaning products. Investment in creating a sustainable work environment should be classified as priority for forward-thinking companies and future businesses.

A sustainable workplace offer the best environment to workers and employers but many different aspects in job quality need to be considered. It’s crucial to promote a change that, through actions that have an impact on the lives of people, organizations and society, contributes to eliminating the obstacles to employability underlying the relationship between the idea of sustainable work and the mismatch between supply and demand. Governments certainly have an important role to play in establishing the framework through regulation, but is up to workers and employers build concrete, replicable and measurable models, leading to the realization of the concept of sustainable work.

In the full awareness that digitalization and fast development affect the very concept of work, the priorities of intervention concern issues related to work transitions, active policies and employability. Useful initiatives can be inclusive training courses for placement in companies, which promote employability, upskilling and reskilling, especially of categories on the margins of the world of work. Beside employability potential, another problem to face is the struggle to combine work and non-work commitments, for example for parents. In this case flexible working arrangements can be a solution, but also a challenge. More freedom on time and location of work is convenient, but it can eventually lead to longer working hours at higher intensity with difficulty to disconnect from work. Again, it’s up to governments and companies find a balance to prevent risk of physical and emotional exhaustion. Many other cases can find solution through strong commitment and collaboration between institutions, organizations and workforce.

This is the time to raise awareness and analyze the context of the current global work condition, in order to start a consideration on the need for intervention to make sustainable work not only a priority for the future, but a reality for society, for organizations and for people, with attention on future generations, women and the most fragile or marginalized groups.

This is the time to create a new sustainable work culture. 


Gi Group

Gi Group is one of the world’s leading companies providing services for the development of the labour market. The Group is active in the fields of temporary and permanent staffing, search and selection, HR consulting and training, as well as in a variety of complementary activities.

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