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The Environmental Impacts of Remote Work: Stats and Benefits

Working from home is a necessity rather than a luxury to cope with the challenges of a worldwide public health crisis we have been facing since 2020. The use of technology, the internet, and fast communication is transforming lives and the work environment.

As time passes, people realize that remote working has overwhelming impacts on business and the environment. So we can guess that this telework culture has been here to stay for a long time. The shift from office-based work to remote work has been abrupt in the last few years and so has its consequences on our lives and the environment.

While online working comes with some health issues, it positively impacts our environment and quality of life. With this article, get an insight into the stats and benefits of remote work and how it affects our environment.

Diminished Carbon Footprint and Emissions

Remote work not only reduces downtime and increases the number of working hours, but it also benefits the environment with less greenhouse gas emissions. The transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom.

According to a report, it produced about 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) in 2019, which is 27% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK that year.

Passenger cars are by far the most significant source of carbon footprints in the UK. With the world in lockdown due to COVID-19, reports show diminished carbon footprints and nitrogen levels in many countries. As telework does not require a commute, fewer cars on the road contribute to fewer emissions and reduced carbon footprint.

Reduced Use of Paper

People are usually not conscious of the economic or ecological impacts of printing or copying unnecessary sheets of paper in their offices. But they certainly think before spending a penny on the printed copies while doing work from home.  We cannot come with reliable numbers to prove how much paper is used in office work.

But, indeed, remote working does not require paperwork or printing every document. Thus, online work reduces the waste of 247 trillion sheets of paper every year.

Less Energy Consumption

Fossil fuels are a necessary evil. On the one hand, most of our energy needs depend on these non-renewable fuels, and on the other, burning fossil fuels harms the climate. In this regard, remote working significantly affects our energy consumption. During the recent lockdown, fuel consumption has been drastically reduced as soon as offices and commutes shut down.

Cyprus Transmission System Operator (CTSO) has released an analysis report that illustrates a 25% reduction in energy consumption from March 16th to April 26th, 2020. Thus working from home creates a huge difference in fuel consumption and saves our non-renewable energy resources.

The less fuel consumption is not only due to less commuting, but it is also due to a decrease in the use of electricity and heating systems in big offices. People act more conscious while using electricity and other energy-consuming devices in their homes than in offices. So it makes a significant difference.

You Make the Change!

The most profound benefit of remote work is flexibility and work-life balance. In extra time, workers can make a more powerful impact on the environment by improving their space and surroundings. If you live in rural areas or have a large yard, you can plant trees or build a quick garden room. Garden offices are trendy in the UK nowadays. You can make these to have a work and home life balance. 

If you have more flexible working hours, work with advocacy organizations on the environment or start an urban or suburban garden. Use this proactive approach to create a better world around you.

Reduced Consumption of Plastic

It is estimated that 5 million tons of plastic are used in the UK every year. It is a huge number that is significantly affecting marine life on the coasts of the UK. Think of the plastic you use during your office work hours, the plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, or food packages you utilize.

The temptation to use disposable plastic products is much less when you work from home. So, remote working allows you to add less to the plastic waste crisis our world faces.

Less Population Shift

Urbanization causes 5% of all greenhouse emissions due to deforestation. The main reason for this population shift in big cities in the UK is career opportunities. Most people in the UK love the healthy and peaceful life of rural areas, but workers have to migrate to metros mainly to cut off daily commute time and expenses.

Online working enables people to live in remote and rural areas. Such decentralization improves the quality of life for migrants and those who live in less populated and greener cities.

Final Thoughts

The advantages of remote work are endless from a business perspective. But its impacts on the environment are not less beneficial either. Not only does it reduce carbon footprint, pollution, and energy consumption, but it also improves the quality of everyday life. It is hard to come up with any adverse impacts of remote working on the environment by far. It might affect a person’s physical health, but you can remove this risk by proactively working on your surroundings.

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