Hobbit Business Review

Want to Go Green? A New Study Says Full-Time Remote Workers Slash Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions By Half

Key Takeaways

  • A recent study found that those working from home full-time can slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 54%.

  • However, it’s not a net-zero solution, as increased emissions from social activities counteract some of the benefits.

Working remotely? You could be helping the environment.

A recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that those who work from home full-time generate less than half the greenhouse gas emissions than their office-based counterparts. Employees working exclusively from home in the U.S. were estimated to reduce their emissions by 54%, the study found.

Working remotely one day a week only resulted in a 2% emission decrease, largely due to increased non-commuting travel on remote workdays. On the other hand, those working remotely two to four days a week saw emissions reductions of up to 29% compared to on-site workers.

While remote work has the potential to reduce carbon footprints, the study underscores the need for a balanced approach, carefully considering commuting patterns, energy consumption, vehicle ownership, and non-commute-related travel to fully maximize the environmental benefits of remote work.

“People say: ‘I work from home, I’m net zero.’ That’s not true,” Fengqi You of Cornell University, a report co-author, told The Guardian. “The net benefit for working remotely is positive but a key question is how positive. When people work remotely, they tend to spend more emissions on social activities.”

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