Published: April 22, 2020

    Working From Home Benefits

    As we adapt to ever-changing circumstances, more of us are working from home for the first time. All changes require an adjustment, but the pros of telecommuting are numerous: an eliminated commute, the comforts of home, and more flexibility.

    Telecommuting is also environmentally conscious, which is a benefit you may not even realize. For our readers being asked to work from home for the first time, and for those who regularly telecommute, here are the top environmental benefits of clocking a full day of work from your couch.

    Reduced Gasoline Consumption

    The total commute when you work from home is about 10 steps from your bedroom to your desk. Cutting out the drive to and from work translates to millions of gallons of gas saved per workday.

    Americans consume an average of 392 gallons of gas daily. If 50% of the workforce is currently working remotely, that saves nearly one billion gallons of gas per workweek. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable and contribute to carbon emissions that threaten the environment. Staying at home and working in your remote office helps conserve valuable resources.

    Reduced Carbon Emissions

    Cutting your commute lowers your carbon footprint significantly. The EPA estimates that each car emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon each year. If most commuters drive 30 miles or less to work, converting to remote work eliminates about two-thirds of total emissions, or about three metric tons of carbon dioxide over 12 months.

    If 80 million people work from home for the next four months, that translates to 80 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Calculator, that reduction is the rough equivalent of planting nearly 2 billion trees or recycling almost 28 million tons of waste.

    Reduced Waste

    Remote workers predominantly use email, software, and cloud-based apps to communicate, create projects, and complete work. The average office worker uses about 10,000 pieces of paper per year, but working digitally can reduce the amount of paper discarded by your company.

    Telecommuters also use less plastic and disposable materials. Remote workers have easy access to their coffee pots, to leftovers in the fridge, and to dishware they can wash and reuse. By reducing the amount of packaging used for corporate meal orders, takeout, and catering, virtual workers cut back on the waste of disposable plates, cups, and utensils.

    Reduced Energy Use

    You will still use some energy at home, but workers tend to use energy differently when they are in their homes compared to the office. A study conducted in 2008 about telecommuting found that energy consumption nearly doubled in an office setting compared to the amount of energy used at home.

    When working remotely, you are more conscious about turning off unnecessary lights, conserving water, and only using essential electronics and appliances. By working from home, you are contributing to a decrease in overall energy use, thereby saving yourself money and further cutting down on carbon emissions.

    Opportunities to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

    When you’re spending your workdays at home, you have the chance to take stock of the appliances and items you own. There are simple changes you can make to save water and energy by updating aspects of your abode.

    Eco-conscious washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens can drastically scale back your energy and water consumption, even if you live in a tiny home. While you’re going through your belongings for spring cleaning, outfit your pantry with reusable bottles and swap out your plastic toothbrushes for sustainable toothbrushes.

    You can even shop online to find environmentally impactful gifts. Father’s Day is around the corner. Why not give Dad one of our favorite eco-friendly gifts like a composting barrel or a seltzer maker?

    Once you adjust to your new work from home routine, you can take pride in the ways you are contributing to a healthier, happier planet.