The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in the world’s largest work from home “experiment,” hastening a long-term trend gearing to flexibility, remote work, and digitization. During the peak of the epidemic, the percentage of persons working remotely in the United States increased from 5% to 37%. As we emerge from the recession, businesses are experimenting with various remote work arrangements.
Global CO2 emissions were temporarily decreased by 17 percent in April 2020 compared to their increased levels in 2019 due to major changes in transportation, manufacturing, and consumption patterns. However, what appeared to be a hopeful trend quickly faded: emissions are now returning to pre-pandemic levels, even though employees aren’t.
Now, in terms of the sustainability of the company’s aims, how should work from home employment be accounted for?
Remote Work Behavioral Domains Needed for Environmental Sustainability
Four behavioral dimensions are highlighted as being particularly significant. When these changes are pooled among individuals, teams, corporations, and industries, they can have a significant environmental impact.
WFH has a mixed effect on energy use. Individual qualities, house infrastructure, and a home’s situational considerations can all have a significant impact.
Reduced commuting when remote work is implemented will surely be advantageous to the environment, however evidence of rebound effects, such as high levels of non-work travel and frequent short trips, is developing.
The technology requirements of the average business person have evolved; fewer in-person office encounters can imply more time spent talking online.
High amounts of electronic and electrical trash (e-waste) with an estimated amount of about 50 million tons per year globally is also a concern.