Making Remote Work for You and for the Environment
As parents of kids and pets, as ski bums, or as morning alarm battlers, more and more of us are becoming well aware of remote work benefits. Schedule flexibility, financial savings, and productivity boosts are just a few of the perks experienced by employers and employees here in Eagle County (more on those at TrendswithBenefits.org). But did you know doing virtual meetings in your sweatpants can also help the environment? Remote work is an effortless way to achieve that dreamy work-life balance and do some good for the planet while you’re at it.
The largest and most obvious benefit of remote work comes from reducing transportation emissions. If Eagle County residents don’t use their car to get to work just two times per week, we can eliminate almost 73,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from our atmosphere each year, reducing our community-wide emissions by 10%. That’s the equivalent of taking about 15,700 cars off our roads over the course of the year or planting 1.2 million tree saplings – that’s a lot of trees! Remember, our Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community has a goal to reduce community-wide emissions 50% by 2030, and never has a climate strategy been so simple and cost-effective.
This past year, we’ve measured the impacts of remote work on reducing emissions, and we’re seeing success. For Town of Vail employees, remote work reduced their carbon emissions by 38% since the pandemic began. The Town of Eagle saw a 10-14% decrease in traffic volume in the core downtown, and Holy Cross Energy saw a 20% decrease in their employees’ emissions as a direct result of employees staying home one day a week.
Beyond transportation, an office that’s only partially full of employees can save energy and resources simply by using less of them. Fewer lights on; no need to heat or cool every space in your office; less energy consumption from printers, phones, and other office equipment; less paper being used on site; and the list goes on. That’s a lower carbon footprint for your company and likely a lower energy and supplies bill at the end of the month, all from remote work.
Lastly, remote work doesn’t necessarily have to mean “working from home”. Your home office is bigger than you think and can provide a re-connection with nature or with your community. Need an inspiring environment to do a report? Good thing there is no shortage of awe-inspiring views in Eagle County. Bring a charged laptop and hammock to your favorite park or trail and get to writing. Perhaps the subdued chatter of your local coffee shop provides nice background noise to keep you focused. Take a bike ride or walk to your nearest café and set up shop. The possibilities are endless once you realize you aren’t tied to your home office. Walk, bike, and explore your community, both the natural and human constructed, all in a good day’s work.
We’ll leave you with this final idea. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to completely ditch office life in order to have a big impact. If Eagle County commuters work remote just a few days each week, our entire community will profit from a better climate.
Do more for yourself and for Mother Nature by working remotely a few days of your work week. This can be done by working from home, condensing your work week, or working with your employer/employees to find a flexible schedule that works best for you. No matter the method, take advantage of the perks so we can all #BeBetterTogether.
If you’re asking yourself, “Why is Walking Mountains talking about remote work?”
The answer is quite simple: we aim to reduce local carbon emissions by 50% by 20305. Telecommuting, compressed workweeks, and other flexible schedule options can reduce you and your business’s carbon footprint. With less commuters on the road, we can improve our communities’ air quality and put ourselves one step closer to achieving our carbon reduction goals. Drive less to do more for Mother Nature.