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Environment Protection and Remote Work

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In recent years employees have started to demand more flexibility regarding how and where they work. Remote work is likely to become very popular in the future. The pandemic and the development of technology have greatly contributed to its popularity, and people are starting to realize what its real benefits are.

Remote employees have less commute stress, a better life-work balance, flexible schedules, a lower level of work-related stress, better personal relationships, location independence, they save money (each employee who works remotely saves about 5000 $ every year), but they also have increased productivity, which leads to higher earnings. They also have healthier diets and practice more sports. By working from home we can spend more time with our families, meet our friends more often (since we have more time to ourselves), we can travel to see the world and work at the same time (we can spend a wonderful day at the beach, while we simultaneously work on our laptop to earn money for our next trip).

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Many large organizations worldwide encourage remote work or make it mandatory for their employees after the pandemic because it brings them great advantages. Companies have lower costs since they no longer have to pay for the office rent, office furniture, equipment, supplies, as well as utility costs. At the same time, remote work improves productivity and leads to easier recruitment and improved retention of employees.

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But besides all those personal advantages, there is a far greater benefit to working from home. Remote work protects the environment.

It reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it takes at least 8 million cars off the road. Since employees no longer have to travel to work they no longer pollute by using vehicles and thus reduce emissions by about 50 million tons every year. This has a great impact on the environment and could help reduce pollution drastically. Working from home has the same impact on air quality as planting 100 million trees. Since an estimated seven million people die each year from air pollution, we can understand the benefits of having clean air and protecting the forests. Exposure to high levels of ozone can cause lung inflammation, lung damage, sore throat, and coughing. Particulate pollution from all types of burning reduces the amount of sunlight and this has an impact on climate. Less sunlight reduces photosynthesis, thus forests and crops grow at a slower rate.

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Remote working also decreases fossil fuel consumption for the same reason, travel is no longer necessary. Burning fossil fuels releases sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide mix with water droplets in the atmosphere they form acid rain, which damages the leaves of vegetation, and increases the acidity of soils and water. Buildings are also impacted by acid rain, which causes an estimated five billion dollars worth of property damage per year. It destroys ancient buildings and statues carved from marble or limestone.

Employees also reduce pollution by monitoring their lighting, air conditioning, and heating. Due to digitalization, there is a great reduction in the use of paper. Considering that one saved tree can remove up to 15 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air, we can analyze the impact this has on increasing air quality.

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The use of plastic will also decrease since employees no longer feel the need to use plastic cups or cutlery from home. Digitalization has reduced the need for office supplies, which are also mostly made of plastic.

Office spaces tend to use more energy than homes since they have heating and cooling systems, data servers, and printing stations. Thus remote work reduces energy consumption by at least 5,000 kWh every year.

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