Remote Work and its Effects on the EnvironmentOctober 17, 2020 · Aaron Burr
The classic office that we know, is becoming a thing of the past.
Or at least it is for now especially with the coronavirus pandemic restricting indoor work gatherings. And while it may be a bit of a bummer that we aren’t in the same room as our fellow teammates, there are a lot of benefits to the recent surge in remote work.
One of those benefits especially, is the environment.
The carbon footprint of buildings
See, buildings need to be heated or cooled, they need lights, and electricity to power both...along with all the other appliances in them. Buildings demand resources and energy to build, all while using up valuable space that maybe otherwise could have been natural.
As for energy, which as we know impacts the environment either through air pollution or extraction and manufacturing, 36% of the world's energy goes towards existing buildings and construction of new ones. According to UNEP.
So, is it worth it?
Do we enjoy offices and cubicles and commutes so much? Or do we like working from the comfort of our home, or a coworking space with friends, a coffee shop, or on the beaches with nothing but a laptop and a beverage?
The benefits to remote work
Either way, we are beginning to see the latter becoming more popular. And with the pandemic giving us an extra nudge, this has undoubtedly contributed to the 17% emissions reduction that we’ve seen during the pandemic.
But as the world returns to work and industry flips the on switch, those emissions are ramping back up. However, some offices are choosing to stay remote, of course out of caution, but also because of convenience, employee preference, and money savings.
By instead working from locations that would exist anyways (like coffee shops, homes, and coworking spaces) we would be saving tons of energy, resources that would normally go to building offices, and land that otherwise could have been natural.
We can also control our commutes a bit better, since we can choose where we want to work on any given day. This can save energy and pollution generated from driving or taking various forms of transit. And also save us time, energy, and money!
Noticing a pattern here?
It has to work for you and the company
At LastObject we are elated to have such a large remote team base which allows us to do without massive office space. This helps the environment while putting more time and resources into creating great products.
Remote work isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t always possible for certain companies. But it doesn't have to be. Because just like the individual changes we make in our sustainable journeys, remote work has to work for us. Otherwise it isn’t all that sustainable is it?
We could save a ton of energy and resources by going remote, but if we are unable to continue that way of work without the business or ourselves keeping up...well that’s not sustainable either right?
One business may not be able to have their team work remote, but it may be able to do other things that others can’t, like install a solar roof, or even a green roof. Some may be in an area that gives them the potential to be even more eco friendly, and serve as a blueprint for other buildings to follow suit.
And speaking of suits, sustainability has never been one size fits all, it’s always been, and it always must be, tailor made.
Remote work or not, we are beginning to see that the different ways of doing things don’t only help the planet, but they end up being better for us personally as well.