Future of the sustainable workplace in the age of COVID-19 and climate change

We are living in a time of great and immediate change. COVID-19 and climate change are just two of the most obvious forces impacting our way of life. With mass disruptions promising to transform how we work and live, sustainability is rising on the global agenda. Discover how the pandemic is presenting new opportunities to accelerate the transition to sustainable workplaces in our newly released report.

Unily Future of the Sustainable Workplace Guide front cover

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Learn about the forces shaping the future of workplace sustainability.

The future is defined by our actions today

From wildfires to the pandemic, the disruptions of the early 2020s have already begun to catalyze profound changes in our daily lives. As we look towards the future, megatrends such as the transition to the circular economy and the zero-waste movement promise to shape the workplaces of tomorrow.

Frequently, it is the organizations that take proactive action that are best equipped to adapt in moments of dramatic change. Thus, business leaders who prioritize sustainability now will find themselves in a favorable position to provide incredible experiences for their future workers and customers alike.

Not only do people want to see action on climate change, but employees are also demanding that their companies change so that they are aligned with their values. The experiential enterprises of the future will be the organizations that are relevant, ethical, and attuned to the real-world changes that are occurring.

Unily 2020 census


Merging data and expertise to unlock insights

To shed light on the forces of change underpinning the rise in workplace sustainability, we partnered with renowned environmental and sustainability expert, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu. Through trend analysis, employee surveys, expert interviews, and case studies, the report highlights our ability, and also need, to rapidly transform the way we work. The report is separated into three main sections, highlighting the six relevant megatrends predicted, the 12 micro forces driving these megatrends - and how they relate to the way and places we work - and a unique diagnostic toolkit for business managers and enterprises to assess where they are on their sustainability journey.

Learn what employees want from your sustainable employer brand

We also collaborated with Censuswide to launch our own Unily 2020 Census, designed to uncover how employees feel about sustainability in the workplace. The results underscored the need for change, with 83% of respondents believing that their company isn’t doing enough to tackle these big issues.

Unily 2020 census


About the author: Who is Leyla Acaroglu?

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu is a designer and sociologist at the forefront of advancing the transition to a sustainable and circular future. Her work covers many fields from creative, production, applied research, behavioral economics, educational design and sustainability sciences.

In this report, she applies her systems thinking, future-focused mindset to explore the way the future of work is being written today and the forces influencing the transformations underway. She provides a diagnostic and action toolkit designed to help leaders assess their current sustainability progress and pinpoint the next steps they can take.

Inside the report

The future of the sustainable workplace offers a 360-degree perspective of the trends and forces influencing the transition towards sustainability in the workplace. There are key insights that will prove particularly relevant to business leaders and managers across all departments from business operations to human resources.


These are the massive cultural shifts that unfold in real time creating identifiable patterns that can be observed and interacted with as they emerge and evolve to affect society at large. There are several societal level megatrends that are affecting the ways we work and the types of business models that will be successful in the future. These include elements such as climate change adaptation, transition to the circular economy, resource scarcity and worker and supply chain equity and the zero waste movement.

Forces for change:

The COVID-19 crisis is emerging entirely new ways of working, living and doing business. Before this, the foundations for massive disruption were already being laid out for businesses, with several forces of change playing out including Climate change, 2030 Global Goals, The Green Recovery, the 4th industrial revolution towards tech and the global health crisis.

The diagnostic toolkit:

This toolkit has been designed to help you assess your current sustainability and climate-positive journey so that you can take action. It helps establish where you are right now, supports your sustainability journey towards getting started or progressing further, and helps frame a strategy you can employ to enhance your sustainability and climate-positive journey within your organization.

This report will

  • Uncover the societal-level megatrends that are affecting the ways we work and the types of business models that will be successful in the future
  • Present case studies that spotlight how leading enterprises are adapting their strategies to become more sustainable
  • Explore the relationship between business and sustainability, showing the drivers influencing change as identified through our trend analysis
  • Highlight findings from Unily’s 2020 Census which illustrate how employees feel about workplace sustainability
  • Provide a diagnostic and toolkit to help you assess your current sustainability so that you can take action

Who should read this report?

This guide is suitable for anyone interested in exploring how sustainability, COVID-19, and climate change are shaping the future of the workplace. This content may be of particular interest to leaders in HR, IC, and EX who are looking to evolve their strategy and make strides towards more sustainable practices and a carbon-positive future.

Download the report by filling in the form at the top of the page

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