Carbon savings with hybrid working

The daily commute to and from work has been recognised as one of the most significant drivers of global emissions. In the UK and the US, the transport sector is responsible for emitting more greenhouse gases than any other, including electricity production and agriculture. Globally, transport accounts for approximately a quarter of CO2 emissions.

A recent study from IWG, with support from Arup, across major US and UK cities suggests that some regions could deliver an 80% reduction in carbon emissions through reduced travel and office use.

As we wrestle with the impacts of climate change, the shift towards hybrid working models offers a unique opportunity to not only reduce our carbon footprint but also to improve the work-life balance of employees and make businesses more attractive to valuable talent. 

In this blog, we will explore the carbon savings of hybrid working, its importance in the journey to net zero, and the added benefits for businesses and employees.

The carbon savings of hybrid working

Hybrid working combines the flexibility of remote work with the structure of in-office work, giving employees the best of both worlds. By reducing the number of employees commuting daily, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon emissions. Fewer cars on the road lead to decreased fuel consumption, reduced traffic congestion, and lower emissions of greenhouse gases. Moreover, companies implementing hybrid working models often see reduced energy consumption in their offices, further contributing to carbon savings.

The journey to net zero

The growing focus on reaching net zero emissions has placed immense pressure on governments and businesses to prioritise sustainability. At the end of 2022, scientists highlighted the imminent risk that, even at the current 1.1˚C level of global warming, at least five dangerous environmental ‘tipping points’ are likely to be passed – including the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, as well as a key current in the north Atlantic, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost. These events would result in huge sea level rise, rain disruption (impacting the food production vital for billions of people), and the potential release of vast quantities of heat-trapping gases.

Hybrid working plays a critical role in this journey, directly addressing one of the main drivers of emissions. By embracing hybrid models, businesses not only contribute to reducing their carbon footprint, but also set an example for other organisations to follow suit. This collective effort is essential in mitigating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.

Post-pandemic focus on work-life balance

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of work-life balance, with many employees experiencing the benefits of remote work. As businesses plan for the future, hybrid working models have emerged as a way to maintain this newfound balance. By offering flexible work arrangements, employees can better manage their professional and personal lives, leading to reported higher satisfaction, increased productivity, and improved mental well-being.

Attracting and retaining valuable employees

In a competitive job market, offering hybrid working options can be a game changer for attracting and retaining top talent. Employees increasingly seek flexible work arrangements that cater to their individual needs, and companies that embrace this shift are more likely to secure valuable employees. Hybrid working also contributes to a more inclusive and diverse workforce, as it enables businesses to tap into a wider pool of candidates who may have been previously limited by geographic constraints or accessibility issues.

Hybrid working is not just a trend; it could be a crucial component in the global effort to reduce emissions and achieve net zero. By adopting this model, businesses can contribute to a greener future, while also reaping the benefits of smaller space requirements and lower real estate costs; improved work-life balance, increased employee satisfaction, and a more competitive edge in the job market. It is time for organisations to embrace hybrid working as a key strategy in the fight against climate change and the pursuit of a sustainable future.

Sign up for weekly insights, including SI Engage and industry news