To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, employment expert Remote has explored how a remote-first work culture can contribute to green innovation and urge businesses to implement planet-first working practices.
“A team effort between business leaders and employees is required to unlock the true potential of a remote-first business model that benefits the environment moving forward,” said Amanda Day, Director of People Engagement at Remote.
Here is the list of the top five potential environmental benefits suggested by Amadda of having a remote-first work culture;
Improved air quality and life-work balance
Remote-first work culture aligns with global efforts to remove traffic from city centers, favoring pedestrian traffic and green space instead. Remote-first approaches such as async work practices can connect teams through online calls and messages. Fewer in-person meetings result in less need to travel, and it can greatly reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions. Time saved on travel helps employees to improve work-life balance.
Downsizing or relinquishing offices could create more green space in cities
Remote-first businesses can down-size office space, resulting in significant cost-saving with the potential for cities to reimagine underutilised commercial property.
A quarter of London-based companies are downsizing office holdings, with a further 18% opting for a coworking or flexible space instead. A remote-first culture could spark an evolution in urban planning that reinvigorates cities by creating additional public parks, pedestrian areas, and recreational facilities.
Impact on population density in big cities
Remote-first allows employees to live where they want, meaning population density in crowded urban cities could dissipate.
If more companies take a global approach rather than centralising their operation, people won’t have to live in polluted cities and can choose to live in lower-density locations.
There are recent examples of companies moving away from big cities, with Oracle and Hewlett-Packard opting to move their operation from Silicon Valley.
Remote workers tend to be more energy efficient
Telecommuters tend to be more energy conscious and aware of the environment because they incur the expense of working from home.
Employee-focused companies should consider the financial impact remote work has on team members and provide support where possible.
Investment in green, home solar energy sources could become more appealing, with clean energy being used to power appliances throughout the day and save on bills.
Minimise food, plastic, and paper waste
Remote work is an opportunity to lead a revolution against the wastage of paper, food, and single-use plastics – this is a challenge for everyone! Remote-first reduces paper usage, opting to share files and distribute information exclusively online. A team effort to reduce wastage when remote working could save 16 trillion trees from deforestation!”