In years past, a tough job market in your home city may have meant a difficult move to another town, a long commute, or in some cases moving yourself across the country to find a job. That world has since passed, and today’s job seekers can now find remote work that can allow them to work from home, and over 37% of the country does that that opportunity to work remotely with at least part of their week according to Gallup.
On top of the benefit to the employee, working remotely can also be a very environmentally conscious activity. Research recently released by Flexjobs confirms this fact, and that should be a good sign for employers as well. Not only do many of the benefits The prospect of remote work might scare some employers, but with over 75% of Millennials actively looking to make changes that can have a more positive impact on the environment, remote work can also be an excellent way to reach the best and brightest with a green-conscious message. Here are just some of the reasons why offering remote work might be the greenest thing that you can do for your office.
It reduces the amount of fossil fuels that we use
Fossil fuel use is a common concern among the environmentally conscious, and remote working can have a dramatic impact on the amount of it that we use. In fact, Global Workforce Analytics estimated at we could save up to $20 million in gas and use 640 million fewer barrels of oil if those with remote capable jobs worked remotely just half the time.
This change might seem large, but with new telecommunications options, working remotely isn’t even all that different from being in the office. Now you can just as easily reach someone over a video chat service as you can by walking across the office to speak to them, and it’s far more convenient on both sides. The one drawback can sometimes be lost or stuttering connections, something that Tony Zhao, CEO of the video chat company Agora, is well known for pointing out. This quality of service issue can be addressed by using capable teleconferencing software however, at a far lower cost than what you would have to spend in gas just to get to your office every day.
It can help promote carbon neutrality
While the use of gas and oil being saved by working remote is easier to visualize, the amount of carbon being offset by this practice is another important factor in the discussion. What was found by the same Global Workforce Analytics study referenced above is that you could also save 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (along with 119 billion miles of highway driving that contributes to these emissions as well).
The Ecosystem Marketplace State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2016 report shows that there has been a 10% increase in the amount of carbon transacted in the marketplace, a clear indicator that more companies are starting to take the carbon neutral approach seriously. Remote work can help with that process even more than you might think.
It reduces your company’s overhead
Just how does your company save from allowing remote work? Just take a look at some of the great corporate examples that we have today.
Aetna has a staggering 43% of their workforce working from home or otherwise working virtually, and the company estimates that this helped to curb their overall environmental impact by 46,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas in 2014, along with saving their employees 5.3 million gallons of gas and 127 million miles of driving.
Xerox only has 11% of its workforce working on a remote basis, but this arrangement (which equates to 8,000 total employees) still helped to offset over 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 4.6 million gallons of gas.
These improvements translate to the bottom line as well. Simply put, if you have more of your team on a remote basis, then you are spending less on office space and infrastructure to house them. This also means that you need to spend less on ancillary services like air conditioning and electricity as well, an added cost savings (and environmental benefit).
It can improve productivity
One of the biggest cases for remote work from the employee’s side is that it improves productivity, which is a big deal considering the fact that productivity loss regularly costs us up to $1.8 trillion every year. Remote workers have the opportunity to fit more work into every hour of every day, and this means that they can get their jobs done faster, which means that they are spending less time in front of their computer and using less energy, on top of the fact that they will have more time to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
While working remotely isn’t going to fix all of your problems right off the bat, it can have a dramatic impact on your environmental footprint. Have you thought about remote work in the past? What most interests you about it today? Sound off in the comments.