The Unintended Benefits of Working From Home

We find ourselves in a unique moment in time. Everyone in the world is going through a shared experience right now. There will be variations for each country and person to person, but for all of us, our usual way of life has been shaken up dramatically. Things are also constantly in flux, which can create uncertainty, anxiety, and an unhealthy focus on what’s going wrong.

In a small attempt to counteract this, I wanted to take a step back and try to find positive aspects amongst all of this change. There are good things happening in the world that aren’t even being done intentionally, that will benefit everyone. I don’t want to come across as Pollyanna, but right now I think it’s important to take the wins where we can.

I’ve been working from home for a while now and it looks like this will continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, nearly all of my colleagues are working from home full time. I want to acknowledge that not everyone can work from home, and sadly, some people do not currently have work at all. 

Working from home means that I’ve stopped commuting to the office. I used to drive to and from work three times a week. That reduction in driving means I’m contributing less carbon emissions. Sure, my hand has been forced by a global pandemic and the government’s recommendations, but it’s still a good thing.

In the first week I reduced my carbon emissions by nearly 7kg. After a month, I reduced my emissions by over 26kg. In three months, it will be more than 80kg of emissions. That might seem like a small drop in the metaphorical ocean, so I thought I’d survey the rest of my colleagues and look at how much we’re saving collectively as a company.

A lot of people walk, ride their bikes, or catch public transport. But for others, driving is the only option, with some people travelling in excess of 150km per day. In the first week of everyone working from home, as a company we’ve reduced our emissions by 260kg. After a month, it was over one tonne. In three months, it will be more than three tonnes of emissions.

Here’s what that looks like visually:

Calculations are based on a medium-sized car with fuel consumption of 8L/100km.

None of us can move through the world in the way we want to right now, but we can take a little solace in the fact that while we’re socially isolated, we’re all doing a little good, whether we like it or not. In situations like this, sometimes you need to take whatever good you can get.

Want to calculate your own emissions savings? I performed my calculations on this website:

Jason Reed

Senior Learning Experience Designer