Working from home could ‘significantly’ reduce UK’s CO2 emissions

Employers allowing staff to work from home more often could be the key to reducing the UK’s carbon footprint, new research has suggested.

Research by the jobs site Monster.co.uk found that doubling the UK’s number of home workers would drastically cut CO2 emissions and the number of cars congesting city streets.

The study comes as growing numbers of people in the UK work from home, highlighting the positive environmental impact of changing the way we work.

Louise Goodman, marketing director at Monster.co.uk, said: ‘At Monster, we ran a few “what if” scenarios looking into the positive impacts that increased working from home could bring.

‘It turns out beyond potentially improving work life balance, we could see less crowded trains, substantial savings and significantly reduced CO2 emissions. All very good reasons to consider a switch.’

Greater London would have 374,931 fewer cars on the road in the year 2025 if the UK’s number of home workers doubled by that time, Monster found.

According to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), around 13.4% (4.33 million people) of the UK’s 32.4 million workers currently work from home.

Monster explored what would happen if the UK doubled its number of people working from home by the year 2025.

The jobs site found that not only would boosting the number of home workers could cut the number of commuters entering cities each day drastically, it would also reduce the number of cars on the roads.

The site estimated that doubling the UK’s number of home workers to 8.66 million would see 374,931 fewer cars on the road in Greater London in the year 2025.

Greater Manchester would also see a serious drop in the numbers of cars with 275,213 fewer cars on the streets.

This plummeting number of vehicles on the road would also have a dramatic positive effect on the amount of CO2 emitted by the UK each year, Monster found.

Looking at the conversion factors per mile of an average petrol car and the average number of trips commuters make a year, London would save 420kg of CO2 equivalent per person per year.

Wales would see the second highest emission reduction of the UK’s 12 regions, saving 1,548kg CO2e per person/year, while Northern Ireland’s emissions would drop by 1,364kg CO2e per person/year.

‘The environmental impact of a shift to home working primarily comes from the fact that there would be fewer people commuting by car,’ Monster added.

Monster’s research suggests that encouraging employers to allow more work from home could make a vital contribution to helping the UK meet its carbon targets.

Earlier this month, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) updated its energy and emissions projections for the UK’s next three Carbon Budget periods.

While the UK is set to meet its current third Carbon Budget which will run until 2022, it will currently miss its fourth and fifth Carbon Budgets into the mid-2030s, according to BEIS projections.

Image credit: reca2g from Pixabay