Work near home for a healthier environment

Cristiana Tănase

10 minutes read

Work near home for environmental protection

Have you ever thought, on your way to the office, that you could participate in saving the planet, the community and yourself if you worked near home? How much pollution does the waste of fuel and other resources produce when you have to work from the company’s premises?

By its nature centred around the idea of streamlined work time and workspaces and by the flexibility with which it brings our professional activity closer to home, hybrid work contributes on several fronts in environmental protection and in improving the quality of life. 

Under the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), all the initiatives through which organizations can get socially involved in reducing pollution are brought together. The current scale of the remote phenomenon gives us clear evidence that this is one of the main strategies companies can adopt in order to become more environmentally responsible.

How can we support the planet’s regeneration if we choose coworking spaces near home?

To answer this question, we should first clarify in what way we put pressure on the planet by choosing the classic working from a fixed office model. Basically, this is a matter of carbon footprint or total greenhouse gas emissions that an organization or an employee produces in a certain time frame. 

Although this calculation must take into account some variable factors from one country to another (e.g. the fossil fuels consumption during the generation of electricity), we can easily get an idea starting from simple indicators. Among these, we can name the daily consumption of petrol on the way to/from work and the number of days per year in which we need to commute.

It is estimated, for example, that the average American produces 11 kg of carbon dioxide daily by driving to work. In the UK, a regular combustion car produces an average of 170 g of CO2 per kilometre, while electric cars produce two-thirds less pollution. 

If we also take into account that, on a global level, transport is responsible for a quarter of total carbon emissions, while three quarters of these are generated by road vehicles, it is easy to conclude that, through a collective mobilisation in favour of remote work, we are actively supporting the environment.

In an interview given to Canada’s National Observer, Alexandra Samuel, an expert in remote work, mentions three major directions through which hybrid work contributes to environmental protection:

• it reduces the usage of personal cars on our way to work and traffic pollution;

• it reduces the consumption of resources within office buildings;

• in the long run, the demand and, implicitly, the consumption related to the construction of new office buildings decreases.

Let’s take a detailed look at these three trends.

Alternatives to the hours spent in traffic

It was said that the pandemic lockdown has reduced the traffic in big cities by 50-70%. Although this was the consequence of an exceptional situation, the post-lockdown figures show us that returning to a more dynamic and unrestricted lifestyle maintains some of this advantage, as a result of hybrid work’s implementation in many companies.

Any organization can calculate how much it reduces its carbon footprint and improves its CSR indicators by offering remote work to its employees.

The environmental benefits of coworking

Although at a first glance we could say that in the pandemic we replaced the office consumption of resources with more home consumption, it was noticed that, overall, work from home was a more efficient option because the entire infrastructure of an office building is much more complex and expensive to manage than a household. 

Still, work from home has its disadvantages, which makes us look for dedicated workspaces that stimulate our creativity and productivity.

If we also take into consideration the fact that “shared resources” is the central idea of coworking, choosing such a space nearby your residence becomes an ideal alternative to working from home or working from a fixed office, but also a way to participate in environmental protection. 

Meanwhile, companies that opt for keeping their office buildings can reduce their spaces and equipment, no longer having to block individual offices for all their employees at a time, as they can be used on a rotating basis.

In addition, allowing for interiors with flexible and friendly designs, coworking spaces encourage the creation of green areas by bringing potted plants, which greatly improve air quality. One such example is the transformation of an old 1892 Lisbon market into an attractive and green coworking space. Those who participated in the project also managed to replace the classic air conditioning system with a natural ventilation facility, consequently reducing energy consumption.

Decongested business centers

In the long run, the transition to hybrid work will produce, as we have indicated in a previous article, a different kind of urban valorisation by transforming already existing spaces into coworking hubs. 

The current labour market trends and the increasing scale of the remote phenomenon suggest that the old model of the employee who produces 11 kg of CO2 with daily commuting will be gradually replaced by a much more responsible option towards the environment and towards our own health: the employee who works near home.

Hybrid work reduces the need for new office buildings and, automatically, the demand for new constructions. In contrast, companies that encourage flexibility support the regeneration of cities and the reduction of pollutant emissions, without these entailing radical changes on their part. 

In the past, numerous studies have warned about the negative environmental impact of our daily commuting. Here we are now in front of a solution that can significantly improve this situation: have you ever thought that, by advocating for remote work, you are actually advocating for a healthier planet?

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Written by Cristiana Tănase


Former bank officer for 12 years, I am currently testing entrepreneurial remote work and a self-taught way of life which combines different hobbies.

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