It’s a little over two years to the day where much of the world entered widespread lockdowns and major changes, with remote work being one of the larger changes that seems to have stuck around since with many individuals looking to increase their work flexibility and options by either sticking to a working from home routine, or for the lucky few to travel around the world whilst continuing their normal working responsibilities. For businesses looking to reach certain net zero targets, however, this change has been far from simple – but what has the true impact been for remote workers and businesses looking to achieve net zero?
Whilst the initial outlook of fewer cars on the road and reduced emissions initially presented a lot of promise, there have been growing fears that post-pandemic levels of emissions could in fact be higher with commuters returning to work in different forms of transport to avoid public options and individual trips have increased too, but for business seeking net zero it has also had another challenge to overcome as workers primarily changing to remote options could now be using energy that’s harder to track – given the goal for net zero is to identify any area where emissions may be found and combat them by either implementing measures to reduce these emissions or invest in projects that offset them, it’s harder to find a true gauge of exactly where individual employees may be at on the journey if different households have different energy use during working hours for example.
It has helped in other ways, however, as some business have managed to downscale the size of the office or turn processes that were previously offline to online variants which can be identified as more eco-friendly in the long run, and remote work has had a significant impact here on adjusting to a more online based working landscape which has brought change around very quickly – the almost immediate shift saw online conferencing and online communication increase cutting out the need for unnecessary business travel, at least in the short term.
The true impact of the change to remote work is still being fully explored and it will be quite some time until the full impact is completely realised and there may be some surprising results, but for businesses looking to reach net zero goals the true impact of the remote work change could complicate new processes and make understanding the new goals much more difficult too.