Office staff cutting commute by 2.5 days a week on average to help the environment

Office workers are cutting their commute by an average of 2.5 days a week as part of an effort to lower their carbon footprint, according to new research from IWG, the flexible office and workspace provider.

In a survey of FTSE 250 businesses and employees, three quarters (76 percent) of office workers agreed that commuting less would majorly contribute to tackling the climate crisis. This has led to weekly commutes being cut in half as hybrid working allows employees to split their time between home, a local office and city centre HQ.

Cutting the commute is also helping businesses to hit their green ambitions. 69 percent of FTSE 250 leaders agreed that empowering employees to reduce their commuting distances will help their company meet sustainability targets.

Over three quarters (77 percent) said that hybrid working has already had a positive impact on their business’ carbon footprint with two in five (38 percent) saying their companies have made greater savings on utilities and building costs.

With the latest UN Climate Change report warning that resistance to change is one of the greatest barriers to tackling the climate crisis, the organisation has already highlighted that hybrid working addresses six of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The long-term adoption of hybrid working is seen to be the best way to cut commutes by almost all (84 percent) of those surveyed. In fact, nearly half (45 percent) of employees felt so passionately about this that they would outright refuse to go back to a five-day commuting week.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, global CO2 emissions fell by as much as a quarter when people stayed at home. Today’s data confirms that workers are determined to do their bit to sustain the environmental benefits seen throughout the pandemic, and an additional two thirds (66 percent) say that is also makes their work-life balance more sustainable.

IWG CEO Mark Dixon said: “Even at a time of almost unprecedented increases in the cost of living and conducting business, this research shows both business leaders and employees are equally united in their concern for the environment.

“Companies want to retain their best talent and reduce their impact on the environment. The adoption of hybrid working does both. Not only does cutting long daily commutes into city-centre locations have clear environmental benefits, but hybrid working also helps companies save more than £8,000 per employee. Ultimately, by adopting hybrid working, businesses save money, gain flexibility, and reduce their carbon footprint, while employees spend less time and money travelling without losing the social aspect of office life.”

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