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Climate Action Collaborative: Trends with benefits

Paul Abling
Climate Action Collaborative

Today, remote work is all the rage. Sure, part of this is due to the pandemic, a situation that isn’t going to last forever. But even as it resolves, the working from home craze isn’t going to disappear. It’s part of the landscape, for one. For another, as many companies are noticing, it comes with a lot of benefits.

Telecommuting was increasingly popular pre-pandemic, with 5 million professionals working remotely at least part-time in 2018.

But, once COVID-19 struck, and safer-at-home orders became the norm, the growth rate exploded. In what felt like no-time flat, 66 percent of employees in the United States began working from home at least part-time.



Plus, a startling 44 percent of employees are telecommuting five or more days a week. Before the pandemic, only 17 percent were working from home that frequently. That’s nearly a 160 percent increase in a matter of months.

In some cases, the increase was born of pure necessity. However, even in a post-pandemic world, remote work isn’t going to go away. By now many of us have started to figure it out. Some prefer it. Additionally, studies find that telecommuting reduces turnover and makes employees happier. That’s a win-win.



If you are asking yourself, “why is the Climate Action Collaborative talking about remote work?” the answer is simple. We are on a mission to combat climate change in the Eagle River Valley with a goal to decrease our emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Thanks to great work from Climate Action Collaborative members like Holy Cross Energy, our local electricity today comes from more renewable sources than ever before. As such, the largest chunk of our pollution pie no longer comes from our natural gas or electricity use. Instead, it comes from transportation.

In 2017, 36% of local emissions came from transportation. The largest portion of that came from commuters driving alone in their cars to work. Did you know that the average American worker commutes 20 miles round trip for work each day? Being overachievers, here in the Eagle River Valley we average 40 miles a day on our work commutes. Gypsum to Avon tips the scales at 60. If we can all leave our cars at home just twice per week we can decrease our emissions from transportation 13% each year.

Which is why we have been hard at work creating all the resources you need to create a custom remote work policy for your organization. We’ve built templates for you to customize and will provide you with examples from other local entities who have adopted policies and are “making remote work.” We’ve even created an email you can send to your boss with loads of good reasons why working remotely just makes sense.

But we also realize that not all local industries are set-up for remote work. Some organizations have employees who can be remote full-time, while others need to be on the front lines. Which is why we have also created all the tools you need to create your own flexible work agreement (or arrangement).

Simply put, flexible working agreements are alternate arrangements or schedules from the traditional working day and week. Employees may choose a different work schedule to meet personal or family needs. Similarly, employers may initiate various schedules to meet their customer needs. Yep, flexible work is trending too.

Many flexible working agreements include options for remote work. After all, not everyone can or may want to work from home. A flexible arrangement enables everyone at the organization to benefit and be able to help meet our Climate Action Plan goals. Think of it like an a la carte menu consisting of options like condensed work weeks, customized working hours, job sharing, part-time positions, and obviously telecommuting.

Flexible schedules have long been touted as the benefit du jour. So much so that 21 percent of professionals would willingly give up a chunk of their vacation time to get flexible schedules instead.

So what are you waiting for? The trend of working remotely has gone mainstream, and local teams are reaping the benefits of increased productivity, reduced operating costs, and rebalanced priorities. Whether you are running the show or kicking off your career, everybody wins.

Visit trendswithbenefits.org today to create your own remote or flexible working agreement and you will be doing your part to help us meet our local Climate Action Plan goals.

Paul Abling is the marketing and communications director for Walking Mountains Science Center. The Climate Action Collaborative is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Eagle County 25 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.


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