Save the Planet: Work at Home
If every person in the U.S. with a telecommuting-compatible job worked at home on Earth Day, collectively it would:
- Save 900 Million vehicle miles
- Save 45 Million gallons of gas — $188 Million in consumer savings
- Save 2.3 Million barrels of oil — valued at $185 Million
- Eliminate 423,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases — the equivalent of taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year
- Save 28 million kWh in net electricity — enough to power 2,600 homes for a year
- Save 775 people from traffic injury and deaths
Less than 2% of U.S. employees work from home the majority of the time (not including the self-employed), but 40% could. If they did so just half of the time (roughly the national average for those who do), as a nation we would save over a half a trillion dollars a year and much more.
Telecommuting — specifically, home based work — offers a relatively simple, inexpensive solution to some of the world’s most vexing problems:
- Environmentalists applaud telecommuting because it significantly reduces greenhouse gases and energy usage.
- Astute company owners support telecommuting because of the cost savings and increased productivity.
- Work-life experts endorse telecommuting because it addresses the needs of families, parents, and senior caregivers.
- Workforce planners see telecommuting as away to avoid the ‘brain drain’ effect of retiring boomers.
- Human resource professionals see telecommuting as a way to recruit and retain the best people.
- Employees see telecommuting as a way to save time and money, and improve the quality of their lives.
- Baby Boomers find telecommuting offers a flexible alternative to full retirement.
- Gen Y’ers see telecommuting as a way to work on their own terms.
- Disabled workers, rural residents, and military families find home-based work an answer to their special needs.
- Urban planners realize telecommuting can reduce traffic and revitalize cities.
- Governments see telecommuting as a way to reduce highway wear and tear and alleviate the strain on our crumbling transportation infrastructure.
- Organizations rely on telecommuting to ensure continuity of operations in the event of a disaster or pandemic — all federal workers are required to telecommute to the maximum extent possible for just this reason.
It's time we made the road less traveled the way to work. Let's start with Earth Day.
Editor's note: Kate Lister was the principal researcher at TeleworkResearchNetwork.com