Trends with Benefits: Making remote work for you and the environment |

Trends with Benefits: Making remote work for you and the environment

Claire Kantor
Walking Mountains Science Center
Working remote can include working from home, biking to a local coffee shop to work or taking a charged laptop out with you for a hike and setting up somewhere to enjoy the outdoors while working.
Chris Montgomery, Unsplash

On April 22, the celebration of Earth Day turns 51, and those 51 years have certainly seen many environmental accomplishments. The formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, saving the ozone layer from destruction and the evolution of the solar panel are just a few. But, you don’t have to invent new technology or write game changing legislation to protect the environment. As we enter into a new half-century of saving the planet amidst a pandemic, one of the most effective methods we can employ to protect Mother Earth this Earth Day is a simple one and one that many of us are already well-versed in; remote work.

We’ve hashed out many of the ways remote work can benefit both employers and employees in Eagle County, and those resources can be found at Now, in the spirit of Earth Day, we’d like to share the positive impacts remote work has on our environment.

The largest and most obvious benefit is remote work reduces transportation emissions. If Eagle County residents don’t use their cars to get to work just two times per week, we can eliminate almost 73,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from our atmosphere each year, reducing our community-wide emissions by 10%. That’s the equivalent of taking about 15,700 cars off our roads over the course of the year or planting 1.2 million tree saplings — that’s a lot of trees! Remember, our Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community has a goal to reduce community-wide emissions 50% by 2030, and never has a climate strategy been so simple and cost-effective.

This past year, we’ve measured the impacts of remote work on reducing emissions, and we’re seeing success. For town of Vail employees, remote work reduced their carbon emissions by 38% since the pandemic began. The town of Eagle saw a 10%-14% decrease in traffic volume in the core downtown, and Holy Cross Energy saw a 20% decrease in its employees’ emissions as a direct result of employees staying home one day a week.

Another benefit to remote work is that an office only partially full of employees can save energy and resources simply by using less of them. Fewer lights on, no need to heat or cool every space in your office, less energy consumption from printers, phones and other office equipment, less paper being used on site, and the list goes on. That’s a lower carbon footprint for your company and likely a lower energy and supplies bill at the end of the month.

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Finally, remote work doesn’t necessarily have to mean “working from home.” Your home office is bigger than you think and can provide a re-connection with nature or with your community. Need an inspiring environment to do a report? Good thing there are no shortages of awe-inspiring views in Eagle County. Bring a charged laptop and hammock to your favorite park/trail and get to writing. Does the subdued chatter of your local coffee shop keep you focused? Take a nice bike ride or walk to your nearest café and set up shop. The possibilities are endless once you realize you aren’t tied to your home office. Walk, bike and explore your community, both the natural and human constructed, all in a good day’s work.

We’ll leave you with this final idea. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to completely ditch office life in order to have a big impact. If Eagle County commuters work remote just a few days each week, our entire community will profit from a better climate.

For this pandemic tinted Earth Day, do more for yourself and for Mother Nature by working remotely a few days of your work week. This can be done by working from home, condensing your work week or working with your employer/employees to find a flexible schedule that works best for you. No matter the method, take advantage of the perks so we can all #BeBetterTogether.

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