The REAL Remote Work Blog

Environmental Impacts of Remote Work

Reducing Carbon Footprint with Remote Work

In 2020 we saw a massive rise in the number of people working from home. Since then, many organizations have continued to incorporate a remote or hybrid work environment. This change had a positive impact on the environment in many ways. When switching to remote/hybrid work, many companies also an improvement to their bottom line. 

More Time, Less Carbon

In 2019, the average American worker spent 27.6 minutes commuting each way, or about an hour a day. That’s about 240 hours a year, or ten full days, commuting to work. In addition to the cost of time is the incredible amount of carbon emissions. The transportation sector accounted for the largest percentage of carbon emissions in 2019. Single passenger cars and trucks are major contributors. Until electric vehicles become the standard, reducing the amount of time we spend driving will only help to decrease our carbon footprint. 

Power Up

Additionally, working from home may contribute to a reduction of energy consumption. Computers, printers, office kitchens, lights, and heat and air conditioning all require energy. When an employee commutes to an office they use all of this in addition to the power used at home. While having employees in one space can help reduce consumption of high-ticket energy sources, like air conditioning,  people are far more likely to be conscious of their power usage while at home as it directly affects their utility bills. Additionally, most people do not reduce energy in their homes when they commute to work. Large appliances are left plugged in and people continue to heat and cool their homes whether at home or not.  

Paper or Plastic

Remote employees use less paper and plastic. Most documents are sent electronically and are not printed. This has obvious benefits for the environment but also reduces business overhead costs. Plus, remote employees have less need for single-use plastics like lunch bags, water bottles, coffee pods and more.

The Bottom Line

Remote/hybrid work can be great for the environment but for most business owners, the choice to go remote depends on the bottom line. The reduction of overhead costs alone could be significant, giving your business more budget to work with. For expert advice on moving your business toward remote and hybrid work, reach out to one of our partners on our contact page. We will be happy to discuss solutions that will work for your business.