SWM News April 2020 - Sustainable remote working and connectivity
In February, we were privileged to speak at the Microsoft 'How green is your digital' conference in London, just before the lockdown came into force. Since then we have embraced the world of remote working, become accustomed to video conferencing, collaborating on documents online, making improvements to our website and considering how we can continue to support our stakeholders virually. But what are the implications of this on the environment and on carbon emissions?
Some of the benefits of home working are obvious. With less people traveling there is less congestion and lower air pollution. By working at home, people can achieve a better work-life balance and avoid the stress and costs associated with travel. Migrating to on-demand cloud services can result in lower carbon emissions, and collaboration on cloud-based software to produce documents can result in more efficient processes, quicker decision making and reduced paper consumption. Improved connectivity will result from the roll out of 5G with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.
When improving our websites have we thought about the associated carbon emissions? By using compressed images, efficient file formats and lightweight fonts we can make our websites more carbon efficient. And then there's the impact of energy use at home and how this changes with the seasons. Working at home during the winter can result in greater overall energy use as each individual heats their own home, often using systems which heat the whole house rather than just the office space.
We know that our stakeholders are keen to understand more about the sustainability aspects of remote working and are asking us for support on how to quantify and report on this. We've set up our new online forum for members to support even more opportunities to network and make connections.
Our Comment a deeper analysis of the aspects to consider in making remote working and connectivity more sustainable, as well as highlighting useful resources.
Anna Bright, Chief Executive, on behalf of the Sustainability West Midlands Team