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The Green Effect: An Overlooked Benefit of Remote Collaboration

The Green Effect

With all the talk about the impact of remote collaboration on the business bottom line, we may be forgetting one of its most important benefits: the effect on the environment. You may be skeptical about why reducing your company’s environmental footprint really matters, but there are many reasons why green business should still head your list of concerns. Here are the top five:

1. Even if you don’t care, your future workforce does: Millennials – a generation of workers even larger than the Baby Boomer generation – have demonstrated concern for environmental consciousness, and prefer to work for companies who share that same value:  They believe  that business “can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern: resource scarcity (56 percent), climate change (55 percent) and income equality (49 percent).

Additionally, “50 percent of Millennials surveyed want to work for a business with ethical practices”, states the Deloitte Millennial Survey. 70% of employees say they would see their companies in a more favorable light if they helped them reduce their carbon emissions, and 24% of employees declare they’d take a pay cut of up to 10% to help the environment.

2. It’s not only Millennials who care; consumers and investors are also deeply concerned. According to The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, “50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs that give back”.

And there’s a growing socially responsible investing movement led by shareholder activists who demand that firms “disclose their carbon footprints, mercury emissions, performance on energy efficiency, recycling policies, political contributions to groups that oppose environmental protection, etc. They have also been asked to disclose their stances on issues ranging from global warming to the use of renewable energy.”

3. Remote collaboration can reduce business costs in a vast number of areas. Global Workplace Analytics, an independent research company, estimates that teleworking could save the US a total of over $700 billion annually. “Businesses would save over $500 billion a year in real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover and productivity… [They would] increase national productivity by 5 million man-years or $270 billion worth of work [and also] save on utilities, janitorial services, security, maintenance, paper goods, coffee and water service, leased parking spaces, transit subsidies, ADA compliance, environmental penalties, equipment, furniture, and office supplies”.

4. Potential tax breaks are starting to become available for companies willing to make changes in their environmental policies. In the US, a number of states, including Virginia, Georgia, and Oregon, now offer financial incentives for businesses to adopt telework. Other states including Arizona, Vermont, Washington, and Connecticut offer free training in order to encourage companies to give it a try.

The US Environmental Protection Agency works with businesses in the USA and across Europe, offering advice and tools to assist American and international companies in complying with existing and future policies and regulations. The EPA has even begun offering pollution credits to companies in five major U.S. cities that allow employees to telecommute from home.

5. Being environmentally-conscious may soon be less of a perceived competitive edge for a company and more of a compulsory mandate. “Enforcing environmental laws is an integral part of the EPA’s strategic plan to protect human health and the environment. EPA works to ensure compliance with environmental requirements and, when warranted, will take civil or criminal enforcement action.”To coin a phrase, “it isn’t easy going green”, so it’s time for your company to get a head start.

About the author

Suzanne Smith is the Director of Human Resources for Arkadin North America, based in Atlanta, GA. She is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction of company human resources functions, policies and processes that help drive growth and maximize achievement of short and long-term business goals. As a member of the senior leadership team, Suzanne develops and communicates strategies to support a capable, engaged and energetic employee community. Suzanne has held various HR leadership positions where she has designed and implemented human resource programs that attract, engage and retain key talent and drive business success. Outside of the office, Suzanne enjoys cooking and attending live music, sports and cultural events.

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