In 2022, 16% of global companies are entirely remote, with 40% using a hybrid model. Productivity has increased by 26%, but how has this affected our environment?
As the number of remote workers increases around the world, we are witnessing significant social, economic, and cultural shifts in the workforce. We face entirely new challenges in developing the best behaviors for sustainability. More businesses are embracing a hybrid work model, allowing employees to work from home or in the office during the workweek. How could this shift affect our ecosystem in both positive and negative ways?
WFH is not a clear environmental winner. The net sustainability impact is determined by a variety of employee behaviors, ranging from travel to energy consumption to digital device and waste management. More remote workers generally mean a healthier environment, but higher energy consumption levels may be a disadvantage.
Before getting into eco-friendly points, remote working saves employers money while also relieving employees of drudgery, such as:
- Commuting time
- Rush-hour traffic
- Working according to specific hours and locations
- Living in certain cities and more
Employees who smoothly establish a work-life balance can act more freely and create better results. Besides that, there is a positive impact on the environment that this entire system provides!
- Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs)
- Better air quality
- Reduced Plastic Pollution
- Less use of office supplies
On the other hand, you may be wondering, "Does working from home reduce energy consumption?" The answer is a matter of some debate; virtual work still consumes energy within remote employees' homes. Data shows that remote work increases employee utility bills, which has an adverse effect on the environment.
Climate calculations for office versus working remotely are challenging; they take into account all of the people working remotely as well as the devices they use to complete their tasks. Power is required by laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While one person may not have a large impact, the collective population of remote workers does.
As said before, some companies are incorporating hybrid work models. This would indicate hybrid employees, who work from home while also traveling during their commutes. Alternating between remote and in-office work can reduce our carbon footprint, but only partially.
There is a myriad of reasons and statistics that show the benefits and drawbacks of remote working. Based on the data presented, eliminating employee commutes can significantly reduce GHG emissions. That's good for the environment. However, it is essential to remember that remote work is only a small part of the overall fight against climate change, achieving sustainability, and making the world a better place to live.