Let's face it, we are living in times of great achievements. Technology is ever-developing and we see its impact every day. The way we live and work is changing for the better. But there is one thing we didn't think about: how come we are about to inhabit other planets, yet we fail to preserve our own? The negative environmental impact is quite visible and it's becoming (if it's not already) a serious threat.
You are probably wondering what it has to do with you because you are not among the powerful leaders who tailor the world we live in. Well, I can assure you, you are more powerful than you think and choices you make every day matter.
Remote work is slowly but surely reaching people all over the world. And Co and Remote Year run a study which showed that 55% of respondents were fully distributed and 43% are partially remote. Predictions by Blueface say that in the next five years remote companies might supersede the co-located ones. That is good news because, on top of the regular benefits of remote work, we might have a shot at saving the planet.
These are the top environmental issues:
- gas emissions
- energy consumption
- fossil fuel reliance
- air pollution
- paper and plastic waste
How remote work can impact the environment
Remote workers use less gas
In 2018, about 142.86 billion gallons of finished motor gasoline were consumed in the United States, an average of about 391.40 million gallons per day. (US Energy Information Administration) When people telecommute they often reduce their gas consumption massively, due to the fact that many of them work from home, or from a coffee shop nearby.
Remote workers reduce air pollution
Naturally, with less driving, remote workers are polluting the air far less than the people who drive to work.
Remote workers consume less energy
When you think about any office space, you will probably imagine a vast space with dozens of ceiling lights. All of them are connected centrally, leaving you with no option to turn some of them off when not needed. If you are working from home you will be more aware of your consumption and use only the electricity you need.
Remote workers reduce carbon emissions
The three types of fossil fuels that are used the most are coal, natural gas, and oil. Coal is responsible for 43% of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, 36% is produced by oil and 20% from natural gas. That means that driving, heating, cooling, and energy consumption contribute to those emissions. When you are not in the office, you are more aware of your consumption, if nothing because you are the one paying the bill.
Remote workers produce less waste
Traditional offices use much more paper than remote ones. Office supplies and paper documents are one of the main reasons why paper waste is created in the first place. Remote companies are used to storing documents online and everything is sent electronically. As a remote worker, you are responsible for getting your own stationery, which means you will only use what you truly need.
When it comes to plastic waste, think about all the people who buy coffee on their way to work. They drink it and half an hour late throw away the cup. The same goes for takeout lunches- they all come in unnecessary plastic that will be thrown away as soon as the lunch break is over.
Bonus: Things you can do when working from home
- Be mindful of energy- turn off the lights when you're not using the room, put your computer to sleep when taking a break
- Eat greener and opt for healthy meals instead of ordering food all the time
- Use sustainable supplies, made from recycled paper, reduce plastic use
- Recycle anything you can :)