Leveraging Remote Work as an Eco-Conscious Company

Eco-consciousness has become a hot topic in the current business landscape. Companies are recognizing the importance of environmental goals both to the planet and the success of their enterprises. One of the methods some are using to boost sustainability is remote working.

This is useful for various reasons. Firstly, it reduces the energy consumption and waste involved in maintaining a commercial office environment. Remote workers are also not using fuel or producing emissions during a daily commute. Nevertheless, if you’re going to leverage remote work as an eco-conscious company, there are some steps to take to optimize your approach.

Providing Sustainable Remote Resources

Simply switching to remote work isn’t innately eco-friendly. It’s still vital to put some investment into the tools that can make working practices more sustainable. In this instance, companies can leverage the sustainability of remote work by providing relevant resources to each remote team member that boosts how environmentally friendly operations are. 

Clean energy

Your remote workers will be spending a great deal of energy using computers, charging company cell phones, and operating other equipment. Therefore, providing workers with access to clean energy resources is a solid way to run more responsible operations. This could include providing subsidized solar panel installation in workers’ homes. You could also encourage workers to switch to green energy providers and reimburse them for any additional costs involved with this.

Energy-efficient equipment

Alongside resources for clean energy infrastructure, there’s an imperative to ensure the devices workers use are using energy efficiently. Rather than expecting employees to use their own laptops, tablets, and printers, your business could invest in providing company-owned equipment that supports high energy-efficiency standards. 

Items that are Energy Star rated — the government-backed program for classifying energy-efficient products — are a good starting point. However, it can also be worth ensuring your information technology (IT) team sets up these devices to maximize energy efficiency before delivering them to workers.

Encouraging Lifestyle Adjustments

While remote work can take place in other spaces, it is usually most likely to happen in your workers’ own homes. One of the environmental challenges here is that you may have less control over the efficient and sustainable functioning of the space than you would in a commercial office. You can’t force your workers to make adjustments here, but you can give them encouragement and advice about actions that improve the planet, support the business, and even improve their own lives.

Waste-minimizing behavior

Excessive use of resources is damaging to the environment. It can be wise to introduce workers to actions they can take to be more sustainable in their approach. 

For instance:

  • Advise remote employees to install energy-saving lightbulbs in their homes, particularly in the home office. Outline how these can also save them money in the long term.
  • Encourage employees to make the most of natural light. Help them to understand how working in areas with large windows can reduce reliance on artificial light and the energy it takes to power this.
  • Recommend energy-efficient thermostat use. Give them information about reducing heating or air-conditioning when they’re not in a specific room, or keeping these set to low-impact levels. It may also be useful to offer advice on smart thermostats that give workers real-time information about their energy consumption and enable automated energy-saving measures.

Recommendations for relocating

One of the benefits of remote work is that it gives employees the freedom to work from wherever they want to live. They don’t have to be restricted by proximity to the office. You can help employees choose a place to live that’s practical for remote working and the environment. They’re likely already considering the cost of living elements and how moving to a different time zone could affect working hours. 

In addition, encourage them to look at how amenities, such as good access to public transport and walkable neighbourhoods can lead to a greener way of life. It may also be helpful to direct them to information about how very hot or very cold climates might increase their use of energy and their utility bills. 

Bolstering Remote Work with Other Strategies

Remote work isn’t a miracle solution for environmental damage. There will always still be aspects of this method that, while you take steps to minimize them, can still be problematic. Therefore, you can leverage the benefits of remote work by bolstering it with other activities that counteract the unavoidable non-sustainable elements.

Certainly, many companies are purchasing carbon offsetting credits as a way to redress the balance. The goal is to calculate your company’s contribution to emissions and purchase credits in schemes that counter this, such as reforestation. In some instances, this can be effective. However, the process can be problematic, with less credible offsetting providers still implementing practices — like blockchain use — that are still damaging. 

There are effective alternatives to carbon offsetting, though. One option is to work with your wider supply chain to encourage more holistically sustainable operations. You can also engage in circular economy practices, in which you extend the life cycle of the materials and equipment you utilize. This includes purchasing refurbished computers for remote workers, rather than new ones that put pressure on the planet through manufacturing waste and overuse of resources.

Conclusion

Remote working, when properly optimized, can help the eco-friendliness of your business operations. This includes providing workers with resources for sustainable working and encouraging lifestyle adjustments. 

It’s also essential to keep abreast of developments in sustainable technology and techniques. This enables you to adjust your remote business practices in ways that have the most positive impact on the planet and your company.