Is Remote Work Good for the Environment?

The change to remote working came as a welcome surprise for many who had been hoping for a more flexible work life balance and was certainly taken in stride leading to a more permanent adjustment, the free time has allowed individuals to explore new passions and hobbies with punters turning to emerging options like as one of the favourites, and big changes still coming to online media  – with the possibility of a future change to a four-day working week for some also, it’s providing a very different experience. But a question that has become more apparent in recent months, is remote working really better for the environment? Or are there hidden costs that come with the change yet to be discovered yet?

There have been concerns voiced initially, particularly aimed at those conducting a hybrid working approach – those spending part time at the office and part time at home may need more investigation, the increased travel from the daily commute still remains but duplicating energy use both at home and at the office has the potential to lead to a bigger impact that just doing one or the other and is something being quite heavily researched to find out what the true cost here is. It has been suggested that a permanent switch to one or the other helps a lot but given that isn’t an easy option for a large number of workers, it could be a problem to address in the future.

Some net positives have been discovered; however, modern homes are more likely to rely on some more sustainable options for energy including solar polar on roofs, and connected to a ever-growing sustainable grid too – this could help to dispel some of the concerns around just how big the environmental impact being at home whilst working has and how this could be brought lower – but this doesn’t also account for the hybrid working approach that could still have a net negative impact.

There have been concerns that it does somewhat undo much of the hard work that went into the carbon neutral businesses setting up in the way they initially had and how many of the changes made aren’t applicable to those working at home, but many of the same have also committed to helping employees change their working home environment to become more carbon neutral too and passive on many of these good habits.

It’s still very early having been on and off for around a year, but there are certainly some exciting opportunities to be found in the future, and a net carbon neutral approach to workers staying at home permanently or those working a hybrid schedule could yet pay dividends in terms of an environmental impact.