As remote work continues to grow in popularity, it’s become clear that it’s no longer just a perk for employees, but rather a requirement for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and a happy workforce.
But the benefits of virtual offices extend beyond just improved employee satisfaction; they also have a positive impact on the environment.
With a virtual office, your business can not only reduce its carbon footprint but also build a reputation for being environmentally conscious and attract customers who are increasingly mindful of eco-friendly practices.
In fact, sustainability has become a key competitive advantage for businesses today.
In this article, we’ll explore the 5 positive environmental impacts of virtual offices and why your business should go green to protect the planet while also driving profitability.
Table of contents:
- Less paper usage
- Fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- Less usage of office supplies
- Improved air quality
- No more noise pollution
1. Less Paper Usage
According to the Government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), around 20 full-grown trees are needed to produce a ton of non-recycled paper.
Moreover, the manufacturing of one tonne of paper from fresh materials requires over 90,000 litres of water, which is comparable to the volume of two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The production of paper incurs emissions, with an average output of 1.6 tonnes of greenhouse gases (mainly nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide) per tonne of paper created.
The report also highlights that Australians use on average 230 kg of paper per year.
By switching from a traditional office to a virtual office, your business can significantly reduce paper usage and make a positive impact on the environment.
In addition, even one saved tree can take in about 50 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
That’s a lot of greenhouse gas emissions that could be avoided with a simple switch to a virtual office.
2. Fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Virtual offices come with a wide array of advantages over traditional offices, including flexibility and autonomy.
Since a virtual office allows you and your team to work from anywhere in the world, you have no commute. This, in turn, means more personal time and more time spent on work than when spending time stuck in traffic.
Not only does this improve productivity, but it’s also an example of the positive environmental impact of virtual offices.
According to McCrindle, the average commute time for Australian workers is 48 minutes per day and 4.5 hours a week.
The average commuting time for Sydneysiders is 71 minutes, making it the longest among Australia’s major cities. Brisbane follows with an average commute of 67 minutes, while Melbourne has an average commute time of 65 minutes.
Considering that the average passenger vehicle in Australia emits around 171 grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled and that more than two in three Australians drive to work, imagine how much you could reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a virtual office.
Plus, your business can save a lot of money for each employee that works from home instead of commuting to the office (e.g., you can save money on transportation, fuel, parking, tolls, etc.)
3. Less Usage of Office Supplies
Another way virtual offices have a positive impact on the environment is by reducing the usage of office supplies.
Just think of the large number of supplies employees consume in a typical workday, from desk supplies to stationery, from furniture to mailing supplies.
Virtual offices enable digital communication between team members, eliminating the need for printing, labelling, and archiving physical documents in large storage rooms.
Additionally, virtual offices help avoid the use of plastic, such as coffee cups, bottles, straws, food packages, etc.
When you commute to the office, you often tend to buy coffee, breakfast, or lunch on your way to work, every day of the workweek.
The packaging of these items contributes to a significant increase in plastic usage.
But when you work from home with a virtual office, you tend to use reusable supplies, which significantly reduces your plastic waste.
4. Improved Air Quality
Virtual offices play a significant role in minimising air pollution.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a higher percentage of Australian workers, i.e., 67%, reported that they were working from home either sometimes or always, as compared to 42% before the pandemic outbreak (source: Australian Institute of Family Studies).
This caused gas emissions to drop to levels not seen in more than 30 years.
By cutting greenhouse gas emissions, we get to improve air quality.
According to a report from The Guardian, outdoor pollution causes the premature death of over three million people annually, and if no measures are taken, the number of deaths will double by 2050.
Numerous studies conducted over the years have demonstrated that outdoor pollution contributes to health issues such as lung and heart diseases, as stated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But thanks to remote work policies, it is possible to make this better air quality the new normal, resulting in easier breathing for everyone.
5. No More Noise Pollution
According to Frezza, approximately 70% of offices are designed with an open-plan layout, which means that nearby conversations are a constant and everyday occurrence.
When a person is exposed to such conversations, their productivity can plummet by as much as 66%.
Not to mention noisy machines like photocopiers, coffee makers and fax machines.
Considering also the Lombard effect, which is the involuntary tendency to speak louder in response to surrounding noise, it appears that there is no way to stay productive in a loud office.
Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated how loud noises harm the brain and impact our ability to concentrate, with serious effects on our mental and physical health.
Implementing remote work policies and giving employees the freedom to choose their work environment can reduce noise pollution, resulting in a quieter working environment that is more conducive to concentration and focus.
This will ultimately benefit the environment by lowering energy consumption and reducing the carbon footprint of office buildings.
The Bottom Line
These days, if you’ve got a business, it needs to be eco-friendly.
Not only going green will make a huge impact on the environment, but it will also help you slash costs and make your business more responsible and profitable.
Plus, sustainable businesses that prioritise environmental and social responsibility are more likely to gain customer loyalty and trust.
Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and they’re looking for businesses that share their values.
If you’re ready to embark on your own sustainable business journey, sign up for a virtual office today and start saving on costs, as well as your environmental impact. Contact us to find out how we can help!