Much has been written about the benefits of remote work for companies and individuals. One topic that has received considerably less coverage but is increasingly vital in the current context is the environmental impact of remote work.
Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, the US, and many other parts of the world. The remote work revolution is playing its role in reducing emissions, slowing climate change and building a healthier environment for future generations.
Although a controversial measure, the governor of Massachusetts is proposing fiscal benefits for companies who promote remote work to curtail gridlock in and around Boston, reduce the carbon footprint that goes along with it, and alleviate pressure on the over-exerted public transportation systems.
In the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment recently passed a Telecommuting Act to promote and support the booming remote work industry in the country. Although the law does not force companies to offer flexible work arrangements, it shows the government’s faith in the positive impact of remote work. It also “targets to address traffic congestion and its tremendous effect on the country’s economy.” in cities like Manila, known to have some of the worst congestion on earth.
These government-sponsored benefits are great, and we expect to see more shortly. However, each company is responsible for considering sustainability when assessing whether there are real, compelling business reasons to staff any new position in a brick-and-mortar office five days a week.
At 5CA, our community of remote workers collectively avoids yearly emissions of around 600 tons of greenhouse gasses (according to the EPA method) compared to office workers. That’s the equivalent of taking 123 cars off the road. To offset this theoretical carbon footprint, we’d need to plant 15,000 tree seedlings grown over ten years!
But the direct impact on greenhouse gasses is only part of the story. Avoiding the commute also helps our remote workers reduce traffic congestion, wear and tear on vehicles and costs related to traffic accidents (+$100,000 per year!), not to mention all of the non-environmental benefits remote work brings.
Need arguments to implement a remote work policy at your company?
- Calculate savings for the company using the remote work ROI calculator.
- Measure the emissions of your commute and the potential environmental impact of working remotely.
- Memorize this article from Forbes listing the benefits of remote work for employers.
- Ask Dell and Xerox why they are going all-in on the remote work revolution.