In early 2021, 32% of working-age Canadian employees worked mostly from home, compared to only 4% in 2016. As we enter a post-lockdown reality, many employees are considering working remotely on a permanent basis.
But is remote work worth it for the long haul? Surely employees will miss their water cooler buddies, cubicles, and ergonomic office chairs, right? Well, turns out, this may not always be the case. In fact, working from home can positively impact the environment, both inside and outside your home.
At Sparx, we’ve embraced remote work, a decision that aligns with our mission to make the world better. Here’s our list of 8 benefits of working from home.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to climate change through a warming effect in the Earth’s atmosphere. In a 29-year time span from 1990-2019, this warming effect from GHG added by humans increased by 45%.
While GHG can be emitted from a variety of sources, transportation accounts for a significant portion. In Canada alone, GHG emissions from passenger vehicles increased 21% from 2000 to 2018. By working from home, you’ll cut out your drive or transit ride to work, which helps to reduce GHG emissions.
While there are many factors that affect air quality, the two most common sources are ground-level ozone and particulate matter (i.e. smoke, soot, dust, etc.). Gasoline vehicles are guilty of contributing to both of these sources, as they burn fuel, which creates nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds that combine to create ground-level ozone. Industrial sources are bigger culprits of pollution, but any way to decrease your individual impact helps.
Did you know that buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions? Bigger office buildings require more energy to heat and cool, which means they have a higher carbon footprint.
Whether or not a building implements greener practices, such as renewable energy, is often left up to the building management and not you as an employee. However, when you work from home, you’re able to better control your carbon footprint by turning off lights, minimizing your water usage, and controlling your heating and cooling.
The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper and 156 plastic water bottles annually. On top of that, there are often huge amounts of food waste from unfinished lunches and expired items in the office fridge. Of course, some waste is unavoidable in certain workplaces, and some workplaces do a better job than others at waste reduction overall.
However, by working from home, you not only save paper by shifting to online documents, but you can better control your overall waste by recycling, composting, and using your own kitchenware instead of coffee cups and takeout containers.
Did you know that ditching the office dress code can have a positive impact on the environment? The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global water waste, and is a major source of microplastics in the world’s oceans.
Typically, remote workers have more leeway when it comes to apparel. As long as you look professional from the waist up for video calls, you’re fine! By not needing to purchase an additional work wardrobe to conform to a specific dress code, you can help reduce the consumption and waste associated with “fast fashion.”
You can’t make the world better if you’re not taking care of yourself. Remote work allows for a better work-life balance because you can spend more time with loved ones and enjoy more time for rest and relaxation that may otherwise have been spent commuting.
Your employer may also offer the flexibility to schedule appointments, provide caregiving, and complete courses during the typical 9-5 that you would not otherwise be able to do. Just look at Finland; it’s no coincidence the happiest country in the world also leads the way in flexible work.
Working from home lets you spread your skills and expertise around the globe by providing a broader range of jobs that aren’t limited to your geographic location.
Remote work also promotes inclusivity, as jobs aren’t filtering out prospective employees based on socioeconomic status, especially if an office is located in an expensive area that’s hard to find accommodation in. As well, it allows for greater accessibility and job opportunities for individuals with disabilities and the aging population.
According to Stats Canada, over 12 million Canadians commuted by car in 2016, with an average commute time of 24 minutes. Those commuting by car, especially with long commutes, are at a greater risk for a variety of health problems. Studies have found that people who commute by car, especially those with long commutes, are at greater risk of health problems, including increased blood sugar, higher cholesterol, blood pressure spikes, back aches, and stress and anxiety that can lead to long-term health problems.
By working from home, not only do you eliminate the pesky commute, you can prioritize your mental and physical health by getting more sleep, spending time with family, working out, and cooking healthier foods at home.
Whether you’ve been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, reevaluating your career path, or re-entering the workforce, you may want to consider embracing remote work. Not only can it improve your environmental impact, it can make you happier and healthier. Plus, you may even save money while you’re at it!
Sparx Publishing Group is a digital marketing agency that creates content to make the world better. We’ve embraced remote work, and we’re always looking for enthusiastic, ambitious, and value-driven people to work (virtually) with us. Our roles cover publishing, marketing, design, copywriting, project management, and coding. If this sounds like you, keep an eye on our Careers page for the latest job openings.
If you’re an organization seeking marketing support, you can reach out to us via our Contact page.