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Sep 19 – According to a new study, remote labour might result in a 54% lower carbon footprint than onshore operations.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, discovered that hybrid workers who work from home two to four days per week can lower their carbon footprint by 11% to 29%, whereas working from home one day per week reduces it by only 2%.
Researchers from Cornell University and Microsoft used survey data and modelling to include factors such as residential energy use based on time-use allocation, non-commute distance and mode of transportation, communications device usage, number of household members, and office configuration, such as seat sharing and building size, that are sometimes overlooked when calculating carbon footprint.
“Remote work is not zero carbon, and the benefits of hybrid work are not perfectly linear,” said study senior author Fengqi You, a professor in energy systems engineering at Cornell.
According to the study, seat sharing among hybrid workers with full-building attendance can cut carbon footprint by 28%.
Because of variations in housing options, hybrid workers tend to commute further than onsite workers.
According to the study, the effects of remote and hybrid work on communication technology like computers, phones, and internet use have negligible implications on overall carbon footprint.
“Remote and hybrid work shows great potential for reducing carbon footprint, but what behaviours should these companies and other policy makers be encouraged to maximise the benefits?” said Longqi Yang, principal applied research manager at Microsoft and corresponding author of the study.
“Globally, every person, every country and every sector has these kinds of opportunities with remote work. How could the combined benefits change the whole world? That’s something we really want to advance our understanding of,” said Yanqiu Tao, the study’s first author.