Eco-Business, Asia Pacific’s largest media and intelligence organisation dedicated to sustainable development and environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, will be moving its offices to jungle locations around the region as it looks to pioneer a new “office in nature” concept.
Its headquarters in Singapore and satellite operations in China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines will be upping sticks to “regenerative work spaces”’ in the jungle, where office workers will share their leafy work space with wild pigs, monkeys, and pangolins.
No cubicles, no airconditioning, no water cooler, and no walls, the office-in-nature concept was borne out of the idea of “embedded journalism” that emerged during discussions about reporting from nature’s frontlines.
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“Our journalists must be in nature to report on nature,” said Ee Bee, the company’s newly-appointed sustainability consultant, who added that moving to the jungle might help the company get to the finish line for B Corp status, a certification process that has taken some time.
“We decided to take our advocacy for sustainability to the next level and into our day-to-day office lives,” she said.
Cycle to work
Eco-Business’s offices-in-nature will run entirely on clean energy, powered by the staff themselves.
Rostered staff will ride spin bicycles hooked up to electrical generators that provide most of the company’s energy needs.
Employees who spin the most on any given day receive prizes of insect-based energy bars, seaweed underwear and group hugs. Disciplinary matters will be settled by additional spin shifts.
Eco-Business’ new office in Singapore from 1 April will be located in a forested area off North Buona Vista Road, a short walk from the subway station.
“We did not want to fell any forest for our new office, so we will be using an existing clearing and the nearby trees as natural furniture for our employees,” said Ee. “It is an open office concept with no assigned seating – employees will be hot-desking depending on what they are currently working on.”
Employees can choose to use the trees as standing desks, or sit on existing tree branches or the ground if they feel more comfortable.
“The office will be open-air to take advantage of the wind and air circulation, which is the most sustainable of all,” Ee explained.
Dress code: as nature intended
“We are aware that our staff spend a considerable amount of water and energy on doing their laundry and ironing their clothes. Also, the textile industry is highly pollutive, while fast fashion leads to a colossal amount of waste and often have exploitative labour practices, not to mention the amount of water that’s wasted in laundering office wear and energy while ironing it,” said Ee.
“In our new office, clothing will be optional, but only in the name of environmentalism. Of course, this dress code will not be applied to clients or those who are visiting the office – unless requested.”
“We hope that this new relaxed dress code will help staff who are concerned about their rising utilities costs to be assured that coming into the office will not add to their living expenses.”
Eco-Business will also be introducing a clothing rewear policy, where staff are encouraged to wear the same set of clothes for at least three days a week, to save on water.
Foraging for lunch
Staff will be given a two-hour lunch break so that they can forage in the jungle for food to eat.
Company cooking stoves will be powered by biogas sourced from the staff toilets, which are made up of a network of trenches dug by staff themselves.
Leftovers from lunch will be upcycled into material to make shoes for export to Indonesia in partnership with Cow Chemical.
“We will be organising a training session with a certified horticulturist so that staff can learn to recognise the wild plants which are safe to eat,” assured Ee. “The jungle around the office is also known to have wild durian trees, and a number of our staff are durian lovers who are keen to harvest their own.”
“Our staff are thrilled by our new green office initiatives and are looking forward to our move on 1 April. The leadership team, too, is excited by this new era in Eco-Business’ journey, and hope that we can pioneer a way forward for offices-in-nature around the region.”
Security will be provided by a flock of staff jungle roosters.
We did move our Singapore headquarters to a new office, but not to the forest…belated April Fools’!