Does telework mean sustainability?

During the pandemic we have seen pollution levels reduced. Something that has given the cities a break and has left us numerous stories, some real and some not, such as the sightings of dolphins in the canals of Venice.

The COVID-19 leaves us with a series of lessons and transformations that can lead to a radical change in our way of life. Following the trend, the need for long commutes and long hours at the office is decreasing.

Statistics from Global Workplace Analytics show that 80% of employees want to telework at least partially and 35% say they would even change jobs to be able to work remotely.

Teleworking is prevailing and showing multiple benefits for companies, workers and, also, for the environment. It is a model that meets the demand for greater environmental responsibility, supports economic growth and reduces the gap between urban and rural communities.

Benefits of teleworking in sustainability

Within the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, a series of goals are defined that are closely related to the benefits derived from teleworking.

1. A healthier life for all people

No other aspect of our daily professional lives is considered as effective in achieving a healthy work-life balance as teleworking.

According to the latest global report by Moovit, trips to the workplace last an average of 30 minutes in Spain, with Madrid and Barcelona being the communities where the most time is spent on these trips.

In addition, with the Coronavirus situation, the use of public transport has been reduced by 42% among Spaniards.

The universalization of teleworking, and the decrease in labor mobility are helping to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases; but it goes further than that. The time saved on these journeys also benefits individual well-being since that space can be dedicated to personal matters.

The improvement in the reconciliation of professional and private life helps reduce stress for people and maintain a greater emotional balance.

2. Access to affordable, sustainable and modern energy

The Greenpeace report “A year of teleworking. Its impact on mobility and CO2 emissions” identifies teleworking as an opportunity to reduce emissions related to passenger transport.

Reducing trips to the workplace, especially those that are made by private car, has an impact on the environment and also on the economic and structural field, being an element of potential savings.

It can be an incentive for investment in sustainable energy for mobility and improving the quality and efficiency of transport.

3. Sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth

Against the odds, teleworking has boosted the productivity of companies. The average increase worldwide is 18%, a figure that is accompanied by an improvement in the quality of life of workers.

The reduction of fixed costs is allowing companies to invest in innovation and digitalization processes. Both help to improve the optimization of processes and resources, which has a great impact on sustainability and benefits Corporate Social Responsibility.

On the other hand, managing a team remotely requires an extra effort in communication, which is building up much more cohesive cultures and the profile of empathetic leadership is exploiting.

4. Inclusive and sustainable settlements

The reversal of the "rural brain-drain" can be observed, a phenomenon that describes the migration of young and well-trained talent from rural areas to large cities with better job opportunities.

Teleworking is not only a great opportunity for these talents not to migrate, but it also promotes the growth of wealth in rural areas. If more and more young and highly skilled professionals can live in remote locations, more capital will remain in those areas.

5. Fight climate change

Teleworking stands out, among other things, for reducing the carbon footprint and air pollution. According to the state report on ozone prepared by Ecoembes, in 2020 ozone pollution decreased by 41%. A piece of information that still needs to be worked on, but that offers a hopeful point of view in the fight against climate change.

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