A virtual office is better for the environment. Fact. We may have been forced to put this theory into practice in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This undoubtedly came with some challenges. But it certainly came with some benefits too. It has given us a taste of the environmental impact of a virtual economy.
We all know that cutting a commute reduces carbon dioxide emissions which are bad for the environment. Many businesses have been slowly reducing their carbon footprint to help this. Some have started incentivising staff to bike to work or work from home these days. But, we have yet to reach the peak of this in terms of our full potential.
What the COVID era has taught us that we can survive with an entirely virtual office. We can conduct our day-to-day business, stay connected and be secure. I feel we have really only just scratched the surface here as there is so much more we could be doing.
What environmental benefits have there been?
Since the nation went into lockdown and worked from home, the environment has already started to benefit. According to The Evening Standard, the air quality is cleaner, the wildlife is thriving, we have increased visibility due to less smog and a reduction in harmful gasses since people are spending less time in vehicles and factories.
‘Reductions in particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide have been registered in localities throughout the UK, with London and several other major cities all recording a dip in the presence of the harmful substances.
Elsewhere in Europe, cities including Paris, Madrid and Milan have all seen a reduction in average levels of nitrogen dioxide from March 14-25, compared with the same period last year, according to new satellite images’.https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/positive-impact-environment-coronavirus-lockdown-a4404751.html
The Evening Standard
Without a doubt, if we continued working this way, we could start to see a reverse on climate change. The climate was deemed an emergency back in December 2016. Whilst efforts are being made across the globe to help, it was widely considered that our efforts, unless drastic, could be too little too late.
Could a virtual economy be the answer?
Did Mother Nature answer our prayers, albeit it in a rather extreme way? I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
Being in recruitment gives Simpson Dean access to discussions with lots of different industries. We are finding that many businesses within those industries are looking at plans to continue operating virtually where possible. Aside from the obvious benefits to the environment, it can be more cost-effective, more time-efficient and less stressful. Of course, there is the issues of staff connectivity and staff mental health to consider, not to mention productivity. Still, it’s a balance that employers and employees can work together to get right, for the good of the business and its staff.
Simpson Dean has always operated virtually, so the COVID era has presented very little change, other than the slowing down of recruitment within organisations. But I would wholly recommend the benefits of a virtualised office – both from the perspective of the health of our planet and economy.