Does Telecommuting Really Reduce Carbon Emissions? 

November 29, 2017

Thanks to technological advancements, more and more companies offer their employees the possibility of working from home.  What was once only a dream is now becoming a reality for a growing number of people.


Apart from cutting company costs and providing a better balance between work and personal life, telecommuting reduces carbon emissions and the negative impact on the environment.  The main question is whether remote jobs really help companies cut their carbon footprint and if that is the case, how can business maximize such savings?

A major report from the Carbon Trust suggested that working from home can potentially save companies $5 billion and 3 million tonnes of carbon emissions because of reduced commuting from home to work and vice versa.   The Carbon Trust research found that telecommuting offers the biggest advantages to employees who live far from their office and need to commute to work.

On the other hand, workers who can walk to work or use public transportation can soon realize that they aren’t reducing carbon emissions.  For example, when it’s cold, people will turn on the heating in their homes and might even push up costs and carbon emissions.  The report showed that if telecommuters heated their house for just over one hour, it would eliminate the carbon savings from a commute.  However, heating just one room wouldn’t replace the average commute emissions.

According to the report, ‘’ working from home will shrink an employee’s carbon footprint if they usually drive more than 4 miles to work in the morning, take a bus for more than 7 miles, or travel by train for 16 miles or more.’’

Hugh Jones, managing director of Advisory at the Carbon Trust stated that, ‘’ Significant financial and carbon savings can be achieved from the roll out of homeworking. But companies must be careful to ensure that they get the balance right, for if employers do not take account of their individual circumstances, a rebound effect from employees heating inefficient homes, may actually lead to an increase in carbon emissions.

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