"People who work remotely all the time produce less than half the greenhouse
gas emissions of office workers, according to a new study.
Employees in the US who worked from home all the time were predicted to reduce
their emissions by 54%, compared with workers in an office, the study found.
But hybrid workers did not reduce their emissions so dramatically, according to
the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
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. Working remotely two or four
days a week reduced an individual’s emissions by up to 29% compared with
Researchers from Cornell University and Microsoft used multiple datasets
including Microsoft’s own employee data on commuting and teleworking behaviours
to model the predicted greenhouse gas emissions of office workers, remote
workers and hybrid workers in the US, examining five categories of emissions
including office and residential energy use.
They found that IT and communications technology had a negligible impact on
individuals’ work carbon footprints.
The main causes of remote workers’ reduced emissions were less office energy
use, as well as fewer emissions from a daily commute.
Wider emissions reducing benefits of working from home include the easing of
vehicle congestion during rush hour in commuting areas, which is likely to
improve fuel economy. But the authors warned that working from home needed to
be carefully planned to deliver emissions saving benefits.
“People say: ‘I work from home, I’m net zero.’ That’s not true,” said the
co-author Fengqi You of Cornell University. “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.”"
Via Khurram Wadee, Susan **** and also Diane A.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics