How remote working could help to reduce your carbon footprint
These days all of us are more aware of sustainability and being more environmentally friendly. As individuals, many people have made changes in recent years to a more sustainable way of life, even if that’s just bringing a reusable bag to the supermarket with us. As businesses and organisations, there is still plenty to be done. Here at Jago we work remotely, which we believe affords us the opportunity to be more sustainable in a few different ways. We’re proud of the way we run our business, so we thought we would share some of the sustainability benefits of being a remote team.
4 ways remote teams are more sustainable:
1 Remote workers cause fewer carbon emissions
Every day in the UK, employees spend a combined 4.6 million hours commuting. As well as the standard drive from home to work, there is the fact that most people start and finish work around the same time, meaning they all get stuck in traffic together every morning and evening. This produces millions of tons of greenhouse gas each year. Here at Jago, most of us work either from our own homes or a local cafe, which means we have no commute – and no commute means no gases and fumes being pumped out into the atmosphere. When we do work from a local cafe, many of us opt to cycle – and when we visit each other it is most often by train. One person not driving their car today may make a negligible difference, but a whole team of us not driving to and from work, five days per week can make a big difference over the course of a year or two.
2 Remote work uses less energy
The average office will have fluorescent lighting on from 9am to 5:30pm, if not longer. As well as this, there may be an electric drinks machine or water cooler plugged in 24/7; several printers and desktop computers; a photocopier; perhaps a fridge for staff use. By working remotely, we remove the need for any of this. Each of us has a laptop; we might switch a light on if we need it but because we’re at home, that is one light rather than an office full.
3 Remote workers use less paper
Offices are renowned for their use of paper. There are printers; photocopiers; notebooks; sticky notes. These days many businesses are working towards a paperless office, and many have achieved this. But for the majority, there are burgeoning piles of paperwork and bulging ring binders in every cupboard. When you work remotely, so much of what you do has to be electronic so that it can be emailed to colleagues or clients, that you just get used to doing everything online. We use online versions of documents which allow us to collaborate, leaving notes for each other on the document. When our designer is creating something she will post electronic drafts in Slack, or perhaps send us an InVision link so that we can see how she has put things together. We use hardly any paper; some of us don’t even own a printer!
4 Remote workers use less plastic
A recent survey found that while most people in the UK are keen to become more sustainable, most of them don’t actually make any changes. People still use single-use plastic and then throw it in the general waste; we still use disposable coffee cups. In short, most of us still do everything we know is bad for the environment, even though we know it’s bad for the environment! Many people working outside of their home will buy coffee and lunch each day, and some also buy breakfast. Inevitably all of these come in plastic packaging, and may also require disposable cutlery. Even those who bring their own packed lunch from home will usually transport it in a plastic lunch box. It’s really hard to avoid using plastic these days, especially when it comes to food. Those of us who work from home have the advantage of being able to go to the kitchen and make a mug of coffee or a sandwich on a plate. Even if the foods we eat came wrapped in plastic, we are at least avoiding the need for additional plastic that comes with putting it in a lunch box and transporting it to work.
Even if you can’t get rid of your office and have a remote team, just allowing a few team members to work remotely on an ad hoc basis can make a difference. Sustainability is something we all need to be aware of, and working remotely can help to make a big difference.
Sustainability and being environmentally friendly are important things for all of us to be aware of, whether we work remotely or not.