How Green Is Remote Working?

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For many, the change to remote working and working from home has been welcomed and quite seamless, for others there has long been a hope to return to the office and the semblance of normal once more. The change has allowed for a lot more flexibility as reports of workers exploring hobbies once again with gaming being a big choice as some at have become amongst the most favourite, side-hustles have grown with individuals taking on a second passion project for work, or even just a few extra minutes during the day with the commute cut out – and this flexibility has led to stories about how green this change may be, but are there drawbacks to this change?

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In many ways, the change will certainly be seen as a positive if it can remain as a permanent solution for a growing number of people – less cars on the road, less reliance on public transport such as busses and trains, and fewer buildings running power year-round without stopping have all been attributed to a potential positive moving forward, but these aren’t the only considerations to be made as there are some concerns of the hidden impacts this could cause.

One such concern has come from a hybrid-working approach as it could split energy usage to both more energy at home and more energy at the office to compensate and brings the suggestion that it could lead to greater carbon output to accommodate different workers needs into the future. There’s also the carbon cost that comes with downsizing itself as many larger companies have had to do throughout this period of time, and that could incur a hidden cost that not all companies had been entirely prepared for either.

Small caveats also exist for things such as business travel, whilst remote meetings and business have become commonplace, some experts suggest that air travel for business purposes could actually see an increase off the back of a remote working future, and whilst only contributing a small impact it could cumulatively have a much larger impact – time will certainly be the telling point on this, but if concerns are already growing for this factor in particular, it could be something monitored more closely in the future to ensure it doesn’t become a growing concern.

There are of course future changes that could be made, many could return to the office on a full-time basis making much of this a moot point, similarly other adjustments could be made for a potential four-day working week in the future too – but the change may not be as green as many initially expected.


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