A SIMPLE CHANGE in your organization can help your company be more environmental friendly. Indeed your COMPANY can be more environmental friendly with REMOTE WORK. Indeed, LOTS of GREENHOUSE GAS is emitted because employees have to commute everyday. And, it is very likely that a large proportion of your workforce may not need to commute to your office AT ALL.
Why not let your employees work at home? YOU will RAPIDLY and quite SIMPLY REDUCE your impact on the environment. And for some of your employees, it will ALLEVIATE the BURDEN to spend many accumulated hours in their cars. A complete waste of time, away from their family, breathing high concentration of PM2.5.
NOWADAYS remote work can seriously be considered for numerous jobs. The technology is now mature enough, and studies praising the benefits of remote work on WORK PRODUCTIVITY are piling up.
Maybe you want a CONCRETE example, right?
Let’s talk about Xerox. This very famous IT company helped SAVING about 4.6 MILLION GALLONS of GAS in 2014 by having a remote staff of 8000 employees. In total, with other measures they have taken, they helped REDUCING greenhouse gas emissions by nearly nearly 41,000 METRIC TONS!
This is SIMPLE yet EFFECTIVE! Imagine the positive impact YOU can have, even with few remote workers.
Besides, your company can SAVE UP a lot of MONEY. You can rent a CHEAPER office, because you will need less space. Actually, according to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical business in the USA can save on average $11,000 per person and per year with remote work.
This will also reduce the risk for your workers to be injured while commuting. The QUALITY of LIFE of your employees will improve and their OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY as well.
But many people would be afraid to do such a change in their work organization. Would you? Well, I would like to reassure you: NO, your remote employees WILL NOT play the Nintendo Switch during work hours… This is a myth.
An INCREASE of PRODUCTIVITY is very likely to HAPPEN (according to Gallup 2017’s report: increase of productivity between 20 to 25%). And, if you’re still not convinced, why not perform a real-life experiment and decide by yourself?
But how to test it in practice?
Let’s imagine you want your entire CAD mechanical engineer team to work remotely. You can FAST TEST this by splitting your team by project and for a short period.
Let’s imagine one part of the team is working on designing a new aircraft brake and the other part is working on a new aircraft helix. We can make the assumption that these two teams will work independently. If you make the additional assumption that their productivity will not be impacted by their mission (work similarly difficult), then you can have one group working in remote and the other in office as a baseline for your test.
Note that it’s important not to tell your team you are making an experiment about remote work, this would create a bias in the results!
During the experiment, you, or your managers, will take metrics at regular intervals and at the end of the testing period you will compare the productivity of the two groups and reassure you! Or not …
If you cannot split your team, don’t worry: start taking metrics (again, without telling them) a long time before putting your team in remote. This way you will have your baseline for the entire team.
Of course, don’t forget to ask their points of view. Do they feel better working at home? Do they feel more productive? Would they prefer to come back to the office?
Ok but, how concretely put that in place?
Concretely, identify what needs to be changed or adapted, for instance:
- Physical daily meetings → Skype/Slack group meetings
- Going to the office and ask for changes → Slack/Mail/Phone in one-to-one (depending on urgency),
- Social time → Slack/Skype/other group and social timeslots (do not underestimate this!)
- Physical distribution of payslips → Mails
Start putting in place clear working hours. Discuss with them, individually, how they want to take their breaks. Establish clear communication rules to be efficient and limit unnecessary interruptions (so they can have the flow).
DO NOT NEGLECT social time with and between them: make sure they have a PRIVATE CHAT to joke and relax together, CALL THEM from time to time (not just to ask them how the work goes but how they feel and have a chat as normal human beings).
It is also MUCH BETTER if ALL the MEMBERS of a team work together IN REMOTE and not just some members of the team. It is important to AVOID a DRIFT in the perception of other team member works.
If you neglect these two things above, there is a risk that your experiment will fail after a while and so will your first fight to easily reduce the emission of greenhouse gas!
Below is a list of tools your remote workers can use
For creating/editing and storing documents:
- Google Docs (simultaneous editing is possible!),
- Google Drive (repositories can have level of permissions),
- Microsoft Office 365,
But if you don’t want to use these products: you can install your own OnlyOffice server in the cloud (in a nearby server to be more eco friendly, of course!). Tracim is also a very promising software!
- Skype Business/Skype,
- Slack (can be connected to a LOT of applications),
- IRC (old-school but efficient),
- E-mails/Phone calls …
For signing documents:
For organizing/scheduling tasks:
- Google Calendar,
For project management:
- OpenProject (OpenSource platform),
The list of remote worker tools is increasing year after year… Ping me if something better is released while you read this article!
Obviously, what I propose may not suit all kinds of job and/or all situations. Please, let me your suggestions in the comments below so I can make this article more general and less IT-centered. The content above is the fruit of my personal experience as well as the experience of my coworkers.