The environment is of great concern to people all over the world, and companies are more conscious than ever about the carbon footprint they leave on this planet we call home. There are many ways we can all reduce our emissions in our day-to-day life, but how can a company reduce theirs in an effective way? Recycling waste, cycling to work, and plastering the walls with reminders to turn off the lights when you leave can only go so far, and one option that is being considered more and more is remote working.
Every day in the US, millions of people get up and leave their home to sit in an hour of traffic to work, sit in a temperature-controlled office for 8 hours, and then make the slow journey back home again.
What if you could simply erase the 2 hours of travel, along with the emissions caused by idling on the highway? With remote access software, this is not only an easy possibility, but affordable too.
Remote working not only gives John from Finance an extra 2 hours a day to relax and spend time with his family (or his 8 cats, we’re not judging you John!), but it greatly reduces the emissions he would have caused by driving to the office. Add this to the air conditioning, lighting, and electricity not used in John’s office at HQ, and the planet savings start to add up.
Working from home, John has a single room lit up, with an energy efficient laptop on his desk and a comfy hoodie on to save on heating bills. He can wake up an hour later, more refreshed than when he has to face the prospect of a commute and start the day’s work with a smile on his face knowing that he can be productive and reduce his carbon footprint at the same time!
A similar benefit applies when thinking about other uses of remote access, such as helpdesks. Having the ability to remotely access client’s computers when they are having an issue saves on travel and home visits to fix software problems. Not only that, but it saves time too, helping your customers to be served more efficiently and increasing the satisfaction.
What effects could this have on our carbon footprint?
Estimated benefits per year if employees with compatible jobs worked remotely 50% of the time (56% of employees in the US have compatible jobs)
- 124 billion vehicle miles not traveled – that could take you on 259,571.7 round trips to the moon!
- 8 billion vehicle trips avoided
- 54 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) avoided (EPA method) – that’s about 8437.5 domes of the U.S. Capitol building.
- Equivalent of 10 million cars off the road
The figures look great! But how else could it help us?
You might be able to use a smaller office space and less electricity
If you have employees working from home some or all of the time, you won’t need an office that fits in a desk for every employee at once! A smaller office means less space to heat, light, and fill with furniture – not only cutting costs for the company, but reducing the environmental impact of the resources used by simply using less.
Hot desking is quite common in many businesses both large and small, and while it takes a little while to get used to when its new, it can also be a great way to get to know coworkers!
It'll become easier to use less paper by accessing data remotely
This one should be a no brainer – if someone isn’t in the office, they’ll be able to access and exchange data remotely, not requiring paper printouts. Although paper is recyclable, along with most modern ink cartridges, the resources required to manufacture the paper, ink and printer are considerable. Reducing your paper and printing usage can contribute to less deforestation used to make paper, in turn keeping more trees – a vital part of reducing CO2 in the air.
Your bills for replacements of hardware and furniture could plummet
The adoption of remote access software goes hand in hand with the concept of BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device in the workplace. People using their own equipment are more likely to take increased care of it, as they are responsible for repairs if needed.
Many people who work from home will use their own devices to do so, resulting in less wear and tear on office equipment and hardware. If you don’t have to replace equipment as often, less of it ends up in landfill, and less new equipment is required to be produced.
We all need to do our part
Our planet is in real trouble from climate change, and anything we can do to halt our global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can make a difference.
Even if the policies and pledges in place from governments worldwide successfully achieve their targets, by 2100 the temperature increase globally would be 36 – 37°F. We all need to take actions to reduce the level of temperature increase, and the adoption of remote working policies can make a visible difference.