Environmental Benefits of Remote Working: 7 Things to Know
By now the corporate world has heard about — perhaps even personally experienced — the benefits in productivity that remote work can yield. Turns out, people respond well to the flexibility that working from home offers. However, there's another less talked about advantage: the environmental benefits of remote working.
The inherently innovative world of tech had caught on to the advantages of a remote scheme long before the rest of the world was forced to embrace it. When done right, remote work promotes diversity and inclusion and positively affects workers’ happiness.
Just recently, Meta announced that it had doubled the number of Black and Hispanic employees in the United States and doubled the number of women at a global level. The company set these goals in 2019 and hoped to achieve them by 2024, but they have done so two years earlier due in large part to remote work.
If we step away from analyzing the individual circumstances of forgoing an office, however, we will find that there are also macro-level benefits that can arise from a massive shift to a remote-friendly policy.
Though the quest to build a more sustainable present is one we should all have embarked on already, it’s never too late to start, and it’s good practice to implement periodic check-ins on how we can increase our commitment to lowering our carbon footprint.
For companies whose workforce could very well be partially or fully working from home, an added bonus of pivoting to remote is that it will align them with the fight against climate change.
Remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle are becoming more popular, and they’re also better for the environment. Distributed teams can reduce their carbon footprint just by not having to commute every day to work.
Companies that are trying to be eco-friendly can consider remote work as a way to achieve their goals faster. The fight against climate change is complex but working from home can be the start to a greener future. Here are seven reasons why remote work benefits the environment.
7 Reasons that Make Remote Work Environmentally Friendly
Working from home isn’t just good for employees' health or their wallet — it also benefits the environment by reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Let's dig into the environmental benefits that remote work can have for the planet.
1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Companies would substantially cut down their workers’ greenhouse gas emissions by reducing or eliminating the need to commute. Eliminating or reducing the amount of time spent commuting not only gives you more flexibility but also has lasting effects on the environment.
The statistics are staggering — each remote worker saves an average of 313 gallons of gasoline and 3.2 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.
2. Save on paper and supplies
Another way that remote work is eco-friendly is by reducing the amount of paper used in a regular office. When you work from home, you don't need to print documents or create presentations. You can simply send them electronically to the person who needs them.
By utilizing cloud technologies instead of paperwork, folders, pens, and clips, you can save resources and produce less waste (and — let’s face it — searching through a digital folder is much more convenient than a file cabinet).
3. Reduce waste from single-use packaging
The environmental benefits of remote work can translate into less consumption, a practice that is, of course, at the forefront of sustainability. When people spend their time at home, they can avoid the use of paper cups, plastic plates, or cutlery that would otherwise go to waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a total of 14.5 million tons of plastic packaging were generated in 2018 alone. Imagine all the coffee that is served in mugs instead of paper cups coated in plastic; all the food that is consumed on plates instead of styrofoam to-go containers, when people are working from the comfort of their own homes.
4. Reduce clothes consumption
The need for dressing up in office attire every day has driven the astronomical rise of the fast fashion industry, one of the leading culprits of modern environmental damage. According to Close the Loop, 20% of global production waste comes from textile and apparel manufacturing.
For most people, the work they do on a day-to-day basis does not require them to dress up in any particular way; therefore we should be looking for ways to reduce this stress and consumption. When you don't have to dress up for the office, you can save some money and reduce the number of resources needed to make your clothing.
5. Revitalize non-metropolitan areas
On a big-picture level, remote work also has the capacity to democratize professional opportunities by making them available to people who live outside of major metropolitan areas. The hyper-urbanization that the world’s largest cities have been experiencing for decades now poses the risk of decimating the resources available to these regions in the near future.
Simply put, it is just not sustainable for hordes of people to continue making their way to major cities in the pursuit of professional success. By switching to remote, companies will not only ease the burden that urban areas are facing, but they’ll also help propel the much-needed economic development of other, less privileged communities.
6. Improved air quality
Remote work could be one of the most effective ways to improve air quality. In large cities, millions of people are already exposed to high levels of particulate matter in the air every year due to traffic congestion and vehicle emissions from cars and trucks.
By allowing employees to work from home, companies will be able to significantly reduce the number of people who drive into city centers every day. The reduction in vehicle emissions can help improve air quality in urban areas and reduce respiratory illnesses that stem from poor air quality.
This is a major concern, as the World Health Organization reports that 99% of people on earth breathe air that fails to meet WHO standards.
7. More time to pursue activities in the environment
One of the biggest benefits of remote work is that it allows you to spend more time doing things you love outside of work: playing with your kids or grandkids, pursuing your hobbies, or learning new skills.
People can add a new dimension to their lives when they make the time for leisure and self-improvement. This provides perspective on many aspects of life as well as greater awareness about environmental problems.
When you look at these elements, it's clear that remote work provides an opportunity to be more environmentally friendly than traditional, office-based jobs. Remote work makes sense not only for improving productivity and corporate culture but for the planet and anyone looking to form part of the climate-conscious society that’s being built within it.
The bottom line is this: remote work can be an effective tool for companies looking to do their part to reduce carbon emissions and make a positive impact on the planet. The environmental impact of remote work cannot be overlooked in order to ensure a sustainable future for the coming generations.
For anyone who remains uneasy about giving remote work a try in the long term, you don’t have to worry. Nowadays enabling remote work at your company doesn’t have to be a headache if you have the right practices in place.At GroWrk we can help you shift to remote work by proving the equipment that your employees all around the world need right to their desks. Our platform streamlines the procurement, deployment, and management of IT equipment so you just have to focus on getting your work done. Request a demo to start scaling your team at a global level without the hassle.