Sustainability in a new world of remote working

Posted in COVID-19, News on 19 June 2020

Alex Noble, Outcome Analyst for Touch Medical Media looks at how we might maintaining an impactful commitment to climate and carbon action during COVID-19 and beyond.

For many people working from home used to be the dream, a more flexible working day, less stress, more time with the family and of course, no commute! Well now, in the wake of COVID-19, for many people working from home is their new reality. Here at Touch Medical Media we’ve been working remotely for 17 years – so welcome to our world!

In these uncertain times we find ourselves asking many new questions, such as: “Is remote working here to stay?”, to which I would answer “Maybe… but it should be!”. The tangible benefits are clear, not only for the individual but for businesses. Research has consistently demonstrated a more productive, satisfied and engaged workforce when working from home; something I can certainly attest to at Touch.

All thumbs-up so far, but what about the impact of remote working on the environment and our relationship with the environment? It will come as no surprise to many of you that the extensive lockdowns across the globe have had major impacts on the environment: better air quality, less noise pollution, the return of wildlife and cleaner waterways to name but a few. This is the change we need to see, so what can we do to maintain the momentum?

Don’t go back to work – well not in the traditional sense anyway! You’re on board and where feasible, the majority of your workforce is now working from home. As a result, you’re smashing your voluntary and mandatory Green House Gas (GHG) targets without even trying.
You should not stop trying, it is not time to ease up.

What we don’t want to do is get complacent and repeat history. The graph below highlights previous crises in recent history which have resulted in the most notable decreases in oil consumption. In an environmental context a decline in fossil fuel consumption is great, but the sharp rebounds that leave us with a zero-sum game or worse, after the crisis are not.

The key message here is that the landscape of our working environment has drastically changed. Many businesses will find that components of their plans to enact commitments to environmental sustainability are now obsolete. Cycle to work schemes, office waste management, energy efficiency and reduction plans all become ineffectual when no one is actually using the office space.
At Touch we believe it is integral to our future that we find new, innovative, and impactful ways to maintain a commitment to an environmentally sustainable future. Touch’s long-standing experience in the remote working world gives us a unique insight into what’s possible, and as we grow as a business it is our mission to continually find and share these solutions, creating a greener future for everyone.

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