Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a widespread transformation in employment arrangements, namely the rapid move to remote work. Today, 26% of US employees and 55% of Australian knowledge workers work remotely.
As more employers wake up to the many benefits of hiring remote workers, this percentage will likely climb even higher. At the same time, a growing number of employees will likely look for opportunities to work from home, given its many cost-saving perks and potential for improving work-life balance.
However, the benefits of remote work extend far beyond the lives of workers and employers. Remote work has the potential to enhance your company’s sustainability efforts and reduce your negative impact on the environment. How?
We’ve put together a list of how remote working policies could help you protect the environment. As you’ll see, there’s never been a better time to embrace sustainability and demonstrate your credentials as a socially responsible brand.
1. You’ll reduce CO₂ emissions
As well as being dull and stressful, daily commutes to the office can release high levels of CO₂ into the atmosphere, hampering our efforts to prevent further global heating. The average American commute requires almost an hour of driving, releasing around 3.2 tonnes of CO₂ annually. Unless your employees walk, cycle or take public transportation to work, eliminating their daily commutes will drastically cut their (and your) carbon footprint.
Of course, remote workers don’t necessarily have to work from home to make eco-friendly choices. Encourage them to walk to nearby cafes or coworking spaces if they’re itching to get out and about.
2. Improved air quality
As well as contributing to global heating, traditional diesel and gasoline vehicles release harmful chemicals that can harm our health, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and formaldehyde. The health effects of air pollution may include:
- Increased risk of respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer.
- Increased risk of childhood asthma.
- Increased risk of developing neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia
With around 95% of carbon monoxide emissions thought to be associated with cars, eliminating employee commutes is a great way to protect the wider community.
3. Less paper waste
Printing documents doesn’t make much sense when you’re working from home. You can’t pass physical notes around virtual meetings or ask someone to sign an agreement using a pen. As such, remote companies rely almost entirely on digital technologies for their day-to-day operations, significantly reducing their need for paper and lowering their impact on the world’s trees.
Fortunately, there are tons of excellent apps and programs to address any problems you may encounter as a paperless organization. For example, you can sign digital documents using services such as Adobe Acrobat, and there’s an almost endless supply of collaborative apps designed to facilitate teamwork. Just ensure that you provide employees with the high-quality devices they need to fulfill their duties.
4. Less energy consumption
Offices consume exceptionally high levels of power, with the average commercial building using around 22.5kW per square foot every year. So as well as keeping the lights on, businesses must ensure employees stay warm or cool while powering a wide range of digital devices. Plus, enforcing energy-saving protocols at work is tricky, with many employees prone to leaving their computers on standby for long periods.
Remote work solves these issues by incentivizing employees to pay attention to their personal energy consumption. For example, remote workers are more likely to use energy-saving LED lights and turn their laptops off after a rewarding day’s work.
Of course, this doesn’t mean businesses should avoid talking to their employees about energy use. On the contrary, promoting responsible use of digital devices and energy-saving habits will demonstrate your company’s commitment to protecting the environment (and your employees’ wallets!).
5. Less plastic waste
Single-use plastics are a common feature of modern offices. Just think about how many disposable coffee cups or plastic food tubs some workers get through every week. People who work from home are less likely to purchase on-the-go food or order takeout meals packaged in plastic and Styrofoam.
Over time, cooking from home will significantly reduce the amount of plastic your employees produce, reducing their impact on landfill and helping protect our oceans.
6. More time for energy-efficient activities
Without the burden of a daily commute, remote workers are free to engage in mood-enhancing activities that allow them to unplug their digital devices and save energy. Encourage your employees to make the most of their downtime by taking a walk or hanging out with friends at a local coffee shop. As well as reducing employees’ energy consumption, these kinds of activities could improve their mental health and help them avoid burnout.
7. Employees can spend more time with their family and friends
One of the most significant perks of remote working is that it allows employees to bond with their loved ones and pursue activities they wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Even better, many of these activities will have positive effects on the planet.
For example, many remote-working parents can take the time to walk their children to school rather than drive them in a car. Similarly, employees can join their friends on eco-friendly initiatives such as tree-planting programs or community litter-picking events. Why not signpost such events to your employees in internal communications?
Improve your eco-friendly credentials and hire global talent
Clearly, the remote work revolution could have significant benefits for the world’s ecosystems. But how should you go about hiring remote talent? Outstaffer is here to help.
We help businesses hire, onboard and manage top remote talent from across the world. So whether you want to expand your team or have a few vacancies, we’re here to help. We’ll also provide your lucky new hires with access to our #WorkFromAnywhere platform, which includes Managed Devices, Workforce Monitoring, VR Workplaces and more.
To find out more, book a demo today!