As remote working professionals, we could go on and on about the pros of working remotely. But did you know that working remotely has a positive impact on the environment? On average remote workers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, air pollution, single-use plastic and paper waste. By simply working remotely for a few days / week, we could make a big difference in battling the climate crisis.
1. Booting the commute
There are so many environmental advantages of working remotely. Not only does the lack of a commute give us more time for self-care, spending time with family or even an excuse to hit that snooze button but, working from home reduces carbon emissions. According to a report by the TUC, the average daily commute in the UK was 59 minutes before the pandemic. That’s an astounding 30,090 minutes a year or 501.5 hours or the equivalent of 21 full days!
Although the more active amongst us may walk, run or even cycle into work, most of us opt for public transport or our own personal vehicles. Researchers at Loop examined data on emissions from various commuting distances. They discovered that by working from home for only one day a week commuters, who travel 50 miles round trips Monday to Friday, could save 379.2kg of CO2 emissions a year! That’s the equivalent of a return flight from London to Madrid, thus making your summer break feel guilt free.
2. Paper Wastage
Going digital is an easy way of wasting less paper. By sharing documents and brainstorming ideas virtually, there is no need to waste old sheets of paper. In addition, virtual meetings lessens the use of paper cups for our essential morning cup of coffee.
According to the University of Southern Indiana and the American Forest and Paper Association, Americans use 85 million tons of paper each year, which is the equivalent of 308 kg per person and 7 trees worth of paper. Whilst that figure is astonishing, only ⅔ of paper products are actually recycled.
Working from home can do even more than that. Wurkr has partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for each sign up to our platform. By working together from anywhere with Wurkr you can waste less paper and help the environment.
3. You are what you eat
Two of the most frequently discussed environmental benefits of remote work is reduced greenhouse gas emissions and paper wastage. However, the option of adopting an eco-friendly diet can help to reduce emissions even further. Cattle farming and meat production accounts for 14.5 % to 18 % of total international greenhouse gas emissions. Working from home gives us the autonomy to plan and choose our meals. Thus, making it easier to pick more eco-friendly meals and reducing our meat consumption in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Remote workers can opt to buy organic, seasonal and locally sourced produce rather than being forced to eat whatever is available nearby the physical office.
However, reducing our meat consumption and eating more vegetables is not only good for the planet. Our diets have an impact on our well-being and our productivity. We are what we eat after all.
Although working remotely may lead us to consuming more energy at home, we have been using less power. According to the World Economic Forum, power consumption has declined overall as a consequence of an increase in work from home positions during the COVID-19. Despite it not being a massive change, all environmental benefits no matter their size should be celebrated. Nonetheless, the autonomy we have in our own homes can allow us to save even more energy. Using less hot water and switching to LED lights are just a couple of extra ways that remote working can save energy further. It does, however, have some drawbacks, such as power outages, internet outages, and so on. Nonetheless, these can be avoided if a generator or an inverter is installed at home. It may require some electrical safety inspections at first, but once these types of power sources are available, working from home may become easier.
Power outages can occur at any time, but they can be even more frequent if you have several family members working from home. You shouldn’t be alarmed by this. The best thing that you can do is to get in touch with a professional Murfreesboro, TN electrician or someone similar in your area who will be able to thoroughly check your electrical systems to ensure that everything is working as it should be. If it is, you can continue working from home with peace of mind. However, if they should find something, you can get it fixed as soon as possible, which is of great importance when it comes to this part of your home.
5. A breath of fresh air
Remote work is critical to reducing air pollution. Over the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us started working from home for the first time. During the first lockdown, Breathe London data found that emissions were lowered by 25% during the usual morning commute and 34% during the evening commute. However, it is not just the case of only one city or country. Many people across the world have adapted to the work from home lifestyle, which has significantly reduced air pollution.
Moreover, this has led to people embracing a healthy lifestyle. For instance, people working from home are often known to use appliances like a medical grade air purifier in their households in order to improve their overall well-being. It can reduce the chances of contracting diseases like asthma, sinus, and breathing issues, along with severe medical conditions like heart attack, lung infection, etc. Besides using a medical-grade air purifier to improve indoor air quality, people are also known to eliminate other factors that might lead to indoor air contamination. For instance, since many people are working constantly from the comfort of their air-conditioned rooms, they are known to contact firms like Epic Electric, Heating & Cooling to tune up their air conditioners or get them repaired in order to avoid the formation of black mold in the cooling systems. Aside from this, others are also known to have adopted house plants for purifying their indoor air. That said, remote working appears to not only decrease air pollution but also encourage people to take care of themselves.
Anyway, building on this concept, many London-based organisations and others across the world have launched campaigns to keep remote work alive and well. According to the results, operating from home could cut 11 billion car miles a year, resulting in a reduction of 3.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in London alone. If such a concept is implemented in larger areas, like the United States, it could result in billions of tonnes of pollution being eliminated per year.
These are just a few of the many environmental benefits of remote working. What is your favourite environmental benefit of remote working ? Connect with Wurkr on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your comments.