Remote working might seem like a new concept that only came about due to the pandemic.
In reality, working anywhere but in the office has actually been a thing for some time now. Remote working is most associated with working from home. But it can also mean opening up the laptop in a co-working space such as WeWork or Hubble.
Working without the anchor of an office either permanently or at least some of the time (hybrid working) isn’t for everyone. But when remote working does make sense, embracing the future of work can have a lot of benefits, not least for the environment.
Did you know, the EcoSend website that you’re on right now was built by a remote team? 🏗 🧑💻
As the world’s first sustainable email platform, we want to highlight all the benefits for the planet that ditching the daily commute can have.
Jobs Most Suited To Remote Working
Customer service agent
Have any others to add to our list? Tweet us with your remote working success stories!
Reduced Carbon Emissions From Daily Commuting
The CO2 generated by commuting accounts for a quarter of the UK’s transport emissions.
Commuting generates 18 billion kg of CO2e per year, which is 5% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. That’s according to the National Travel Survey.
It’s a simple fact that by commuting to and from the office each day, that’s 10 extra journeys made per week, assuming someone works the typical 9-5. Multiply those 10 journeys across the UK, or even the globe by each worker, and that’s billions of extra car journeys, train journeys and even flights just to get to the office.
However, if that work could have easily been done from home, or even a co-working space closer to home - those carbon emissions are being generated unnecessarily.
It’s not just carbon emissions that can be saved through remote working either.
As well as gaining the extra time back, another study also found that remote workers could save $12,000 a year. This is due to reduced commuting costs, car insurance costs and even fewer impulse lunch break purchases over the course of the year.
Improved Air Quality
What do fewer vehicles on the road ultimately mean? Cleaner air.
Many people don’t realise just how bad the air quality situation is. However, we are what we breathe, and what we are breathing isn’t very good right now.
The WHO states that 99% of the global population breathes in levels of pollution which exceed its own limits for safe air quality. Some of these pollutants we breathe in include carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. In total, air pollution is responsible for 7 million deaths per year.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, London saw air pollution on some of the city’s roads fall by half, according to the AQEG. Likewise, many cities around the globe experienced cleaner air and even the clearing of smog for the first time in decades.
In short, when remote work reduces the need to commute, fewer emissions are generated and this directly impacts the air that we breathe. Often the solution is to ‘move to the country’ to escape polluted cities when really we should be tackling root the cause of that pollution to begin with.
Remote working wherever possible is one such way to make an instant difference.
Less Plastic & Disposable Waste
In the UK alone, we get through a staggering 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year.
While hustle culture definitely needs some fuel to happen, if that cup of coffee can be drunk from a mug at home, this is much better for the planet. Add in your takeaway lunch and anything you grab between home and the office, and you can see where we’re going with this.
New laws are coming into force in the UK in 2023 which will ban the use of polystyrene containers. However, disposable coffee cups, cutlery and other forms of packaging continue to generate waste every single day all over the world.
Often, there is a lack of recycling facilities to dispose of disposable waste outside or in the office too, meaning this waste mostly ends up in landfill.
Therefore, remote working at home can reduce the need to consume disposable food and drink packaging.
Reduced Energy Consumption
It’s a simple fact that office buildings use far more energy than the typical home.
Furthermore, in a recent report, it was found that less than a third of businesses know how energy efficient their office building is.
Many commercial buildings are not energy-efficient, especially if it has been decades since they were built. It can take a lot of power to heat large office buildings, and often this heat simply escapes out of the building due to a lack of insulating materials. It can also be much more difficult to improve the energy efficiency of a commercial building versus a residential building.
Newly built offices will likely have far better green credentials. But unless you know the energy efficiency of the building, it’s impossible to know how much energy is being wasted just to light, heat and power the building.
More Choice On Where To Live = Less Pressure On Local Infrastructure
Remote working means it’s possible to live and work anywhere so long as there’s an internet connection.
All of which puts less pressure on already polluted (and overcrowded) cities in particular. Go back even 5 years, and the notion of living 100+ miles outside of London to work in London (or any city of your choosing) would be unheard of.
Now remote teams are increasingly global, businesses can handpick the best talent for their teams without location being a barrier anymore.
In response, this means pressure on our cities can ease, with the ability to live much further afield instead of in a concentrated, highly polluted space.
If this trend is to continue, it will make green projects in our cities more beneficial, since we aren’t contributing yet more CO2 emissions to these already polluted areas.
Myths We Want To Bust About Remote Working
We know that not every business wants to adopt remote working. In some cases, remote working just isn’t possible for that industry and we get that.
But it’s also fair to say that remote working has some unjust negative stigmas attached, which are preventing the planet from benefitting and often the business itself.
“Remote Workers Are Lazy”
In a study called ‘The State Of Remote Work 2021’ by Owl, 90% of respondents said they were as or more productive working at home compared with working at the office.
Furthermore, Apollo Technical added: “On average, those who work from home are 47% more productive.”
For the self-employed and entrepreneurs especially, the notion of ‘not working hard enough’ just doesn’t exist, since we don’t get paid unless we…work.
“Remote Work Is A Security Risk”
The ability to use the likes of strong passwords, VPNs, multi-factor authentication (MFA), privacy screens for laptops, firewalls, data encryption and many other security techniques is not tied to a specific set of coordinates.
Businesses have long required the ability to provide a secure platform. Consider that for customer-facing platforms (i.e. mobile banking), the systems must be secure regardless of where that person is located. In fact, fewer people than ever now bank in person.
Also, there’s no guarantee that a system breach won’t occur just because everyone is working in the office. Instead, the key is to have security policies in place which protect your systems from all types of cyber threats. Plus provide regular training to your team, as you would in the office anyway.
“Team Spirit Can Only Happen In The Office”
Being part of a team isn’t the same as being a Power Ranger. That is, you can work together and achieve your mission without being together in person. You don't have to wear spandex either.
Email, Slack, Skype and even a good old phone call can still happen outside of the office. In fact, often such communication can be more effective, especially when it comes to quickly sharing ideas or feedback.
It’s also possible for companies to arrange team building experiences, where your team can get together in person to build stronger bonds every once in a while.
You could go one step further like the EcoSend team, as we hold monthly CSR days where we do activities such as litter picking or volunteering at a food bank to give back to the community.
Grow Your Remote Business With EcoSend Email Marketing
EcoSend is on a mission to reduce CO2 emissions from email marketing.
With over 300 billion emails sent per day, and a single email emitting up to 50g of CO2 depending on its size - that soon adds up.
Maximise your potential carbon savings from remote working with our sustainable email platform. Or, reduce your CO2 emissions if your business is unable to switch to remote working, but you still want to do your bit for the planet.
Our systems run on renewable energy sources, and we’ll plant trees on behalf of your business for using us.
✉️ ➡️ Sign up for your free EcoSend trial to get started.
Or drop us a message if you’d like to learn more about how EcoSend can help you achieve your marketing and sustainability goals with one easy switch.