When is home office sustainable?

Get up, move, get to the computer. Work alone, within your own four walls.
Get up, change, get in the car, drive through the morning traffic to the office. Work face-to-face with the team.

In recent years, home office has become a prominent topic for many companies and employees. For some, it works wonderfully. For others, they're more productive - and happier - in the office. Surely you have your opinion on this, too: Where are you more efficient at working? Which division makes the most sense for you? One aspect that is usually not discussed is our environment.

Home office - the digital world

Everyday traffic is a big driver of our immense carbon footprint. I myself live 75 km from our company headquarters. That's 150 km of commuting per day. Of course there is public transport, but not for everyone. Especially in smaller towns, the car remains the main mode of transport.

Simply cutting out the daily commute reduces CO2 emissions. If only 40% of employees worked from home two days a week, 5.4 million tons of CO2 could be saved each year. That's the equivalent of almost 20% of all CO2 emissions caused by commuters in the transport sector.

Even many business trips can be replaced by digital meetings. Staying connected? - The time in the pandemic showed us that this is also possible virtually. Home office has opened up new worlds for us. Worlds that already existed, but now we know how to use them more effectively.

Space for the environment

Speaking of digitization, many companies are not technically up to date. You'll often find outdated technology and while many private individuals have already switched to green electricity, companies are often still supplied with fossil energy. At home, you yourself have control over your energy consumption: coffee machine, printer, computer, automatic doors, lights, - all of these eat up vast amounts of energy in companies that you would certainly access more selectively at home.

Therefore: Even if fewer employees come to the office per day, the power consumption is reduced. If a company specifically implements home office, you can even save office space and parking spaces in this way. All space that can in turn benefit our environment.

Sustainability for the soul

But sustainability is not just about the environment, it's also about people. And here it's quite clear: Not everyone can work well in a home office. Not everyone likes to be alone all day. Not everyone can handle the merging of private space and the workplace.
For my part, I go to the office once a week. The rest of the time, I stay in my home office. Simply because it makes sense to me that way. It's my balance between mental health and an environmentally friendly lifestyle: It keeps me in personal, regular contact with my colleagues; but I couldn't reconcile a 150-kilometer daily commute with my conscience.

I don't have a recommendation for you. I don't think there is a solution either: home office or not. It's an individual thing. A matter of type. Depending on the situation of each individual and, of course, also depending on each company. The prerequisite for this is trust in one's own employees.

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