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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, despite the fact that, for many, their first experience with this model has been accompanied by the uncertainty and stress of a global pandemic. 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, so this conversation isn’t exactly new. When done right, remote work promotes diversity and inclusion, and has an overall positive effect on workers’ happiness.
If we step away from analyzing the individual circumstances of forgoing an office, however, we’ll 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.
Let’s take a look at the facts, starting with the most obvious: By reducing or eliminating the need to commute, companies would substantially cut down their workers’ greenhouse gas emissions. 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! On top of that, by utilizing cloud technologies instead of the antiquated paperwork, folders, pens, and clips, we save resources and produce less waste (and — let’s face it — searching through a digital folder is much more convenient than a file cabinet).
More time at home usually equates to less consumption, a practice which is, of course, at the forefront of sustainability. 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. Additionally, 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. The truth is, the work that most people do on a day-to-day basis doesn’t require any special get-up, so we should be looking to alleviate that stress and consumption whenever we can.
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, they’ll also help propel the much-needed economic development of other, less privileged communities.
For anyone who remains uneasy about giving remote work a try in the long-term, we should state that any potential issues can be foreseen and avoided with a strategic program. 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.
Check out how GroWrk can help you pivot to remote work, here.