The climate change news is bleak. “The report “is a code red for humanity”, says the UN chief.”
Having a day off and needing to do business in Boulder, I turned on Colorado Public Radio in my car and heard the news on climate change. Human activity is definitively causing climate change according to a new report produced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
If we don’t take rapid extreme measures, the record breaking heat, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters that have been ramping up the last decade will only get worse.
So why is it corporate America is actively trying to reverse the good that work from home has produced the past year towards contributing to the solution?
We all know that commuting is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions in America. According to this article in Quartz, commuting contributes the greatest share at 28%. The good news – the drastic shift to work from home in 2020 reduced emissions from commuting by 7.5%.
The shift last year meant that a tiny fraction of work from home office works shot up to more than 50%. And if my office is representative of most, employees embraced it. Here are just a few of the benefits I experienced in my own life.
More and better sleep. I admit it, I’ve always been a night person. It’s difficult for me to force myself into bed before 11 p.m. Which inevitably meant less sleep, when I had to get up at 6 a.m. to get dressed, eat breakfast, do hair and make up and spend 40 minutes getting to work. These days, I set my alarm for 7:15 a.m., to start work at 7:30 a.m. Just enough time to slip on a pair of short and shirt, and grab coffee and a bagel.
More time with family and pets. My husband and I actually have dinners together most of the time. What a concept! With his hour-long commute in traffic, I never really knew when he would get home. I would get hungry and start nibbling. By the time he got home, I didn’t want a full dinner.
I embrace lunchtime by walking with my husband and two dogs. Our older dog is trimmer than she’s ever been from the daily walks, and we talk about our day. I feel better from getting a walk in the middle of the day. Previously in the office, I would eat up my lunchtime buying lunch and running errands. Oftentimes, I was so fried by the time I got home or it was dark, so the dogs just got a quick potty break.
Saving money. A full tank of gas can last for weeks now, instead of 4-5 days. I haven’t bought any work clothes in eons, instead content with my jeans and t-shirts. Our checking account isn’t depleted by pay day like it once was, and we’re actually saving money.
So, here we are in August, and my office along with so many others are forcing people back into work. Isn’t it clear from today’s report that drastic action is needed? Two years ago, the excuse was we can’t work from home, it’s not possible, it won’t work. But over the past year and a half, we have proven that we can do it, and be darn good at it. Most of my colleagues are working harder than ever, getting more done.
So why is management of offices and companies everywhere bent on giving up all that we gained in the past year? Companies that pride themselves on being progressive are still stuck in the Mad Men era of doing things. They refuse to see that this is a win-win situation. A win for employee morale and a win for the planet.
On top of that, it’s a win for rural communities like Nederland. It’s a win for our roads and infrastructure in Colorado that we all know are falling apart. If you can work from anywhere, you can live in Nederland or Craig or Meeker. All you need is a good internet connection and you’re good to go.
CEOS and managers, I hope you were listening today when that climate report came out.
Don’t you want to be on the right side of the solution?