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The Remote Shift: Working from Home and Sustainability



Remote work reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, decreasing the risk of climate change, while many companies are considering a hybrid flexible schedule to avoid the loneliness and zoom fatigue that comes with being home all the time, this can definitely be considered a part of a company's commitment to sustainability! Reducing commute time is the heart of carbon reduction. The more remote work means fewer cars on the highway, lower emissions, and a less congested city during high traffic times. On average traffic jams cost the US economy $78 billion a year in lost productivity and idling vehicles throw away three billion gallons of gas and emit 26 million tons of greenhouse gasses per year (Forbes).


While all of these great environmental changes are making leaps and bounds on our battle against climate change, has anyone ever asked the average, everyday employee what they want? The answer is yes! Nearly 70% of American workers are requesting to stay remote after the pandemic ends. That is because getting rid of the morning commute has saved them time & stress, while adding more flexibility to their schedule (Forbes).


One specific change that employees really like is that they control their working environment. This includes smells, temperature, and background sounds. How many times have we all been in an office and some heated up the most smelly dish that you can image? Or how many times has someone over sprayed on perfume? Another change is the flexibility for lunch time, while the restaurant business needs support we all know that too much fast food is bad for us. Being at home allows employees to make quick nutritious meals and keep that consistent (Green Business Bureau).


Of course this change works both ways. For employers a benefit could be an improvement in productivity and the ability to retain talent. Reducing commute times also translates into happier workers who can save 2-3 hours on daily communities and balance their work-life schedules.

A flexible workforce also allows companies to add and reduce staff quickly and maintain a 24/7 worldwide coverage, in addition many employees are willing to take a pay cut of up to 10% to be able to telecommute two days a week (Forbes). In addition, telecommuting minimizes the absences due to extreme weather conditions when snow or rain paralyze traffic, many would be able to keep working (Green Business Bureau).


Overall, the working culture has changed during the time that we have spent in the pandemic and going backwards is definitely not an option. So how do we move forward? Employees have been empowered by working from home, and it has shown to positively impact sustainability goals. We don't see employees pushing to be in an office any time soon.


Written by Samantha Soto


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