Working at home will cut out greenhouse gas emissions from your commute, but there are even more ways it will protect the planet. Here are 5 environmental benefits of remote work.
Did you know that before the pandemic, the average worker spent 251 hours a year commuting? No longer do we have to waste time travelling to work; we have the flexibility and freedom to work where we want when we want.
When we talk about the environmental benefits of remote work, what’s better for us personally is better for the planet. Here are 5 positive impacts of remote work.
1. Cut your carbon emissions
Cutting out the commute has one of the biggest – and most positive – environmental impacts of remote working. Every time you jump in the car, on a motorbike, or take a train or bus, you’re contributing to carbon emissions. In fact, three-quarters of all carbon emissions come from motorbikes and cars.
Carbon emissions are closely linked to climate change, so minimising travel and transport can have a massive environmental impact. For example, the average UK car produces 180g of C02 every kilometre, fewer miles mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
As well as reducing harmful emissions, cutting out the daily commute to work can reduce air pollution too, which makes the air safer for us all to breathe.
2. Falling fossil fuel consumption
The burning of millions of gallons of fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel are responsible for incredible amounts f carbon emissions every year, so cutting down can have a massive environmental impact.
When you work from home, you’re not only reducing the amount of fossil fuels you use; you’re reducing demand too. The environmental impacts of producing, transporting and distributing fossil fuels are incredible, so even a small drop in demand can make a big difference.
Reducing fossil fuel consumption is one of the biggest and most important environmental benefits of remote work.
3. Cut office supplies
The paperless office remains a pipe-dream for most organisations, but we’re not just wasting paper. As well as pointless paper, companies spend thousands on furniture, supplies and consumables – much of which is wasted.
According to Government figures, UK commercial companies generated an estimated 30.8 million tonnes of waste. Sadly, almost half of this can’t be recycled, ending up in landfill, where it will take hundreds of years to break down.
Working at home means you’ll only use the supplies you need (particularly if you’re paying for it yourself).
4. Cutting out consumption
The average UK office worker spends a staggering £1580 a year on lunch. Grabbing lunch-on-the-go creates mountains of packaging, much of it plastic that ends up being placed into bins where it will never be recycled.
Preparing meals at home can save millions of tonnes of plastic from being wasted. It can also help improve your own eating efficiency too. In the UK, around 2 million tonnes of perfectly good food is wasted, says Fareshare. When you work at home, you can prepare healthy and satisfying meals, minimising waste that’s better for the planet and your pocket.
It’s not just food; we’re surrounded by opportunities to spend money, particularly if you work in a town or city. Cutting unnecessary consumption is one of the hidden but potentially most significant environmental benefits of remote work.
5. Increased energy efficiency
Offices and workplaces use an incredible amount of energy to ensure workers are warm and well. 24/7 air conditioning, power-sapping servers and printers and more are all increasing power consumption.
When you work at home, you’re reducing the amount of power we collectively use. While much of the UK’s power comes from sustainable sources, there are still fossil-powered plants attached to the grid.
When remote working, you may see a slight increase in home electricity bills, but by being careful you can cut these down to a minimum.
Need some help? Here’s some environmental inspiration
Here are some simple ways that all remote workers can minimise their impact on the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
- Switch off all lights and electronic devices – Are you not doing this already? It’s the simplest and easiest way to cut your carbon footprint and your energy bills.
- Stick on a jumper – It’s comforting to have the heating on, but do you need it? You can make a positive environmental impact by simply sticking on a layer and turning down the heating.
- Make your own – Preparing all your own meals from scratch can cut down on food waste and plastic. Heating up leftovers is even better! When working remotely, you should have more time to enjoy cooking and eating, so use it.
- Bike or walk – You’ll still need to go to the shops, but why not leave the car at home and cycle or walk? There are no greenhouse gas emissions from cycling or walking, and you’ll be getting some essential exercise too.
- Go 100% digital – The adoption of digital technology is one of the biggest impacts of remote work. Going 100% digital while working from home can help reduce energy consumption and positively impact your work/life balance.
Want to know your carbon footprint?
Calculating your carbon footprint isn’t easy, but it can be fun. The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has created this carbon calculator to give you an idea of your output and environmental impact.
The short questionnaire will provide you with an idea of your carbon footprint and provide some helpful tips to help you reduce your environmental impact.
Want to do more? Build a dedicated workroom?
Energy-saving benefits for remote work are maximised if you work in a purpose-built and sustainable space, such as a workroom. These energy-efficient buildings are designed to maintain a consistent temperate, conserving heat and reducing the need for electricity.
The better insulated your workspace, the greater the positive environmental impacts of remote working.
But the benefits don’t end there. A purpose-built space will help you be more productive when you work at home too. You can create an efficient work at home space that’s designed for your role, whatever you do.
As well as providing the perfect environment to work in, workrooms are a cost-effective solution that can add value to your home. The growth in remote working means that dedicated spaces can add thousands to your potential sale price, in many cases returning more than you paid for it.
At the UK workroom, we’ve created a range of hand-made garden rooms that only use the best quality, sustainable materials. They’re hand-built to the highest specifications and designed to last a lifetime of home working.
Learn more about our range of environmentally-friendly workrooms here.