In-Office Work Did Not Return After COVID-19 Like Many CEOs Anticipated, But New Research Suggests The Remote Work Trend Can Greatly Decrease Our Carbon Footprint

N Lawrenson/ - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many CEOs and companies thought workers would go back to in-person office operations. But, the much-anticipated “back to the office” scene has not exactly panned out according to corporate expectations.

Loads of empty office spaces nationwide are still gathering cobwebs, and a large percentage of remote employees admit they would rather find new jobs than be forced to commute daily again.

Whether or not in-office work will ever fully bounce back remains a mystery. But, a recent study conducted by Cornell University and Microsoft suggests there is another viable reason for employees to continue working from home– it is eco-friendly.

Research indicates that individuals working from home can slash their carbon footprint by 54% compared to their office-bound peers. But, just a heads up, the researchers do point out that individual habits, lifestyles, and work setups greatly influence the green advantages of remote or blended work arrangements.

“Remote work is not zero carbon, and the benefits of hybrid work are not perfectly linear,” said Fengqi You, a senior author of the study.

“Everybody knows without commuting, you save on transportation energy, but there’s always lifestyle effects and many other factors.”

Still, even hybrid employees– who balance their workweek between home and the office for between two and four days– can trim their carbon emissions by 11% to 29%. On the other hand, opting to work from home just once a week makes a smaller dent, slicing only about 2% off their carbon footprint.

The study highlights travel and office energy consumption as the main offenders when it comes to the carbon footprints of onsite and hybrid workers. Though it’s no shocker that these two are major contributors, the researchers made sure to consider other elements that previous research might have missed.

This encompasses things like how much energy we use at home, non-work-related travel, the gadgets we use, the number of people we live with, and how our office spaces are set up, such as seating arrangements and the building’s size.

N Lawrenson/ – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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