|For more and more organisations the traditional notion of the office as the focal point of all work-related activity is beginning to change. Flexible working is moving into the mainstream, to the point where having this option is becoming increasingly important to staff. People want a job that suits their conflicting responsibilities and lifestyles, so they can work at a time and location that suits them. And moreover, working off-site can also have many advantages for the environment, so if you are looking to boost your green credentials, should you consider remote working as an eco-friendly option for your staff?
Rush-hour traffic is one of the main causes of poor air quality in towns and cities, so taking steps to avoid it could make a big difference over time. By giving members of staff the option of working from home or other remote locations, they won’t need to drive in and head home at peak times. Furthermore, cloud-based project management solutions such as Slack and Trello and video conferencing software like Skype and Google Hangouts mean the lines of communication can remain firmly open, even if people are working in separate locations. In fact, it can be more efficient in many instances, as these digital solutions record interactions and provide a handy place to share documents and other key pieces of information. Furthermore, a recent survey by Polycom found that 46% of UK workers already use collaborative tools every day, so there’s a case for saying there’s little to be gained requiring them to physically be in the office if that’s how they already managing projects.
Cut energy consumption
Businesses that promote remote working require less office space. As a result, there are countless energy savings to be made, as fewer computers will be in use, fewer people will be boiling the kettle, using the printer or charging their phones. Not only does this save money, it also cuts your carbon footprint. One way to encourage staff to set up a home-based office instead of coming into work would be to provide them with useful items from stationery essentials to USBs and power bank chargers.
Furthermore, you could provide additional items, for example you could give home-workers their own company branded mug to help create a distinction between items for work and for personal use. And what’s more financial savings could be reinvested elsewhere, perhaps in driving growth or even in the form of staff incentives or bonuses.
With fewer people in the office, the amount of waste being generated from disposable cups to ink cartridges will reduce. In fact, your reliance on the methods that ultimately lead to waste will decline a great deal if more people are working off-site. For instance, it’ll be easier to store information digitally than in paper form if staff are based in various locations, making it a practical and environmentally-friendly option.
A good practise case study
Digital publication Pebble Magazine has gone further than encouraging remote working by completely scrapping its office in London, with each team member working from home. Georgina Wilson-Powell, Editor of the magazine, says: ‘Saving money on running a physical office and everyday expenses, such as travel and takeout coffees, really helps me as a new business, and saves energy and waste.’ But just as importantly, it is proving a popular approach with its audience. As Ms Wilson-Powell notes: ‘Consumers are more willing to support brands that offer a less wasteful experience or product.’
This is perhaps one of the most crucial reason of all to look at encouraging remote working. Consumers’ purchasing decisions are increasingly being influenced by how they judge a firm’s green credentials. As a result, minimising your environmental impact in this way could be crucial if your firm wants to stand out for all the right reasons.
Sources / Further Reading
How SMEs are reducing their environmental impact The Telegraph
UK lags behind global flexible working drive Information Age