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Remote work for sustainability

Last updated on January 9, 2023

A recent article in Quartz, “Working from home can save you thousands of dollars every year,” was popular on LinkedIn. And for good reason! People want the flexibility to work from home, at least part-time. At the recent TC Camp, the most popular sessions focused on acquiring and maintaining remote work opportunities.

My own experience shows that working from a home office saves me approximately 10 hours a week of horrible Bay Area commute time. Even if I only went to the office 40 weeks a year, remote work still equates to a savings of 400 hours a year. That’s mind-boggling. Think of all the things someone could do with those hours!

While the estimates in the article show a savings of about $500 a year in commute costs, the psychological value is much greater. Working from my home office saves me even more than $500 in terms of sanity and after-school child care. So if remote work makes sense for both employers and employees, why aren’t more companies doing it?

Engaging Employees in Sustainability

Around the same time as the Quartz article, a GreenBiz article talked about employee engagement in sustainability initiatives. “Employers are in a battle for top talent…. Employee innovation and activation can drive down resource usage and create financial savings.” What could be more effective in reducing resource usage than remote work?

IBM and Yahoo were widely known to have recalled employees, insisting that onsite work is the only way. Yet in many cases, the argument for face-to-face time and onsite meetings falls apart. Discussions with employees note that many employees are spread out across various sites worldwide, meaning that even onsite work doesn’t mean that all members of a team are in the same room.

As companies face increasing economic pressure to reduce their footprints, employees should see more support for remote work. It’s the sensible answer to a costly business problem.

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