How Remote Workers Are Helping Build a Greener Work Environment

Monday June 20, 2016

When most organizations start the conversation about a mobile workforce, the discussion usually veers toward flexibility, productivity and security.

While these are some of the most critical components of facilitating remote workers or employees who are consistently working from the road, the impact of a mobile workforce on the environment is an equally important part of the dialog.

The push for green technologies and solutions that reduce businesses’ carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment has gained increasing speed over the past few decades. The Small Business Administration explained that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators develop, implement and enforce a variety of laws that affect small businesses. For instance, there are restrictions on the amount and types of pollutants that businesses are able to send into the air or water supplies.

How the Mobile Workforce Figures into the Discussion

Mobile workers are able to complete their daily duties and tasks away from the office, resulting in a number of benefits for the environment and employers. A 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 76.4 percent of people who travel to work drive alone. Obviously, this has a major impact on the environment.

According to Flexjobs, Dell was able to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 6,700 metric tons in 2014 by implementing a flexible work policy. That translates to roughly 16 million miles on the road. At the same time, Xerox saw a 40,894 metric ton drop in its carbon dioxide emissions by creating an 8,000 person virtual workforce. That’s the equivalent of 4.6 million gallons of gas, Flexjobs explained.

When mobile workers aren’t tied to a physical office space, businesses are able to reduce the amount of real estate and square footage necessary to operate. This reduces energy expenses in terms of cooling, heating and electricity. Additionally, an article for 1 Million for Work Flexibility explained that mobile workers use fewer supplies and office equipment. As a result, organizations can make use of smaller facilities, which helps them increase profit margins.

What’s in It for Businesses?

Climate change has had a significant impact on the direction the EPA is moving in to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which are regulated by the Clean Air Act. The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is a project that aggregates data related to greenhouse emissions for a variety of industries. This helps to showcase the environmental impact business sectors have on climate change.

Businesses that make an effort to reduce their greenhouse emissions and implement policies that support environmental sustainability are able to take advantage of financial incentives. For instance, the Montgomery County government in Maryland offers businesses with a number of resources to help organizations integrate environmentally friendly business practices, including those involving commuting to work.

How Mobile Technology is Helping

One of the biggest issues for the mobile workforce is having access to the tools that allows them to be as productive and efficient as possible. Cartridge World is one business that is creating solutions for remote workers who need access to printing and scanning capabilities, especially when they’re on the road. The PrintWorld® mobile app gives on-the-go employees this tool – and allows them to print securely. It also helps businesses promote environmentally friendly practices by having their mobile workers print as needed.