Telecommuting Policies Shrink Carbon Footprints of Major Corporations

Telecommuting Policies Shrink Carbon Footprints of Major Corporations

Home office and computer and chair with brown walls.

Telecommuting has a lot of benefits, and not just for employees. Nearly six out of 10 employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to telecommuting. Aside from perks for both employees and employers, telecommuting offers several environmental benefits as well.

April 22 marked the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Since its inception, Earth Day has continued to evolve and change, but its message remains the same. Instead of just a small number of environmentalists participating in Earth Day activities, large corporations are also jumping on the go-green bandwagon.

Companies such as Aetna, Dell, and Xerox are taking advantage of their unique position in order to help their employees make a bigger, long-term impact on the environment than any one individual would be able to accomplish on their own. Thanks to their telecommuting policies, these companies and their employees are making a big, green difference.

Aetna is far ahead in the telecommuting game, as they have had a remote work option for over two decades. Nearly 43% of its current workforce have telecommuting arrangements. Aetna’s company statistics reveal that their telecommuting policy reduced greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 46,700 metric tons in 2014 alone. In addition, last year the company was also able to reduce its employees’ commutes by 127 million miles, which saved 5.3 million gallons of gas.

In 2012, Dell created its “2020 Legacy of Good Plan” which vowed to make 50% of its entire workforce remote by 2020. As of now, 20% of Dell’s employees — nearly 20,000 people — telecommute, and it’s already making a positive environmental impact. In 2014, Dell’s telecommuting policy reduced its greenhouse gas emission by 6,700 metric tons, which is the equivalent of not driving 16 million miles.

As for Xerox, the company’s Virtual Workforce Program currently has 8,000 employees, or 11% of its workforce, working from home full time. Because of this, Xerox was able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40,894 metric tons, and its telecommuting employees saved 4.6 million gallons of gas by not commuting. In fact, the program has been so successful Xerox added an addition 1,000 remote positions in 2014.

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. uses a staggering 19 million barrels of oil every single day. However, if employees worked from home part-time, 1.75 million barrels — roughly 10% — could be completely eliminated.

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