Employees have praised the convenience that remote work offers but it looks like its also good for the planet as well. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that people who WFH all the time produce less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of office workers.
“One day of remote work a week reduced emissions by just 2% because energy savings from not being in the office were offset by factors such as an increase in non-commuting travel when working from home,” wrote The Guardian in an analysis of the findings. “Working remotely two or four days a week reduced an individual’s emissions by up to 29% compared with on-site workers.”
Cornell University and Microsoft researchers teamed up to evaluate Microsoft’s employee data among other data points to predict greenhouse gas emissions of those who work from home, remote workers and others who split time at home and the office.
“People say: ‘I work from home, I’m net zero.’ That’s not true,” said the co-author Fengqi You of Cornell University per The Guardian. “The net benefit for working remotely is positive but a key question is how positive. When people work remotely, they tend to spend more emissions on social activities.”
The researchers wrote: “While remote work shows potential in reducing carbon footprint, careful consideration of commuting patterns, building energy consumption, vehicle ownership, and non-commute-related travel is essential to fully realize its environmental benefits.”