Leadership & Productivity

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Why saving the earth doesn’t have to cost the earth

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Many of you will be familiar with the famous movie line: “Flash Flash, I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth…”. Yes, you get 10 points if you attributed the quote correctly to Dale Arden in Flash Gordon.

Today, there is a queue of potential wannabe Flash Gordon’s who want to step into the role. Jeff Bezos is the latest in a long line of philanthropists whose aim, now they have made their money, is to funnel it back into good causes.

Big business tries to help

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Jeff Bezos is trying to help battle climate change.

The Amazon founder intends his $10bn Earth Fund to help scientists, non-governmental organisations and activists who are working on climate change.

Many companies are joining the cause. From Microsoft making a pledge to be carbon negative by 2020, to Sainsbury’s commitment to £1 billion to reach the carbon neutrality goal set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Everybody, it seems, has a plan to save the planet. In part, it’s good Customer Service Relations (CSR).

Every company knows that the ‘green agenda’ sells and promising to fulfil your environmental commitment is part and parcel of the green pledge. But there is also a growing corporate awareness that time really is running out.

Reducing your carbon footprint in your business

Large offices are the fourth largest greenhouse gas contributor in the US. That’s all to do with the energy, lighting, facilities management, heating systems, computer power, photocopiers, TVs, monitors and everything else that goes into an office.

ƒspaFor employers looking to help battle climate change, the statistics and science behind homeworking are overwhelmingly good. It has also become a standard operating mode for at least 50% of the population.

Remote working 101

The statistics show:

• More than 1.54 million people in the UK work from home

• Companies allowing remote work have a 25% lower turnover than those that don’t

• 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours

• The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005

• Telecommuting has grown 115% in the last decade

• By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers

• 69% of Millennials would give up other work benefits for a more flexible working space

Technology making it happen

Issues that remote working can create for businesses
Technological innovation makes remote working easier.

For remote working to be effective, companies need to ensure they have the right technology, connections and security provisions to make it work. Although email and messaging has its place, there is nothing that can physically beat face-to-face interactions.

But how do you do that with a dispersed workforce? Many companies are turning to videoconference as the next big thing in remote working. It provides face-to-face experience without the environmental impact of being face-to-face.

People who video conference can read facial expressions, gauge the tone of a conversation and feel really connected to colleagues around the world.

93% of communication is non-verbal

You can pick up on clues that you never could on email. Videoconferencing platforms today enable so much more collaboration opportunities with screen sharing, chat, transcription and recoding to ensure before, during and after meetings are as productive as possible no matter where you are sitting.

However, being prepared for planned remote working is one thing, unexpected working for home is another. Many companies are currently experiencing a mad dash to prepare for their whole organisation working remotely in the wake of the spreading Coronavirus threat.

Having the technology in place to enable remote working long before it becomes a necessity is key to minimising any economic impact of such events. Looking to the future Application integration specialist Zapier is taking telecommuting to the extreme.

A business case study

With 320 employees, in 27 countries, it has no office. Zero. It is the epitome of what has come to be known as the ‘pro-location’ company – a professional service provider with no bricks and mortar office accommodation.

Zapier also invests in carbon offsets to compensate for the carbon footprint that it does have. This is very sci-fi and futuristic – Flash Gordon would be proud of its environmental zeal and cutting-edge approach to business (if only he could find the front door).

There is a long-term proven impact from remote working, but to understand how drastically an impact it can make on the environment you just have to look to China.

The country is experiencing such a drastic drop in air pollution due to the work from home restrictions around Coronavirus that it can be seen from space. If it is a case of “Flash Flash, we only have until 2030 to save the Earth,’ then we’d better start acting now.

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