The shift to hybrid work – which blends remote and office-based work – has brought numerous benefits for employees and employers, but one often overlooked advantage is the positive impact it can have on the environment.

Hybrid work can significantly benefit the planet by reducing the need for daily commuting and embracing digital collaboration tools.

IWG surveyed more than 500 leaders and facilities managers at businesses that have adopted hybrid working policies. The findings reveal that average energy consumption in those companies has fallen by 19% since the introduction of hybrid working policies – benefiting both the environment and their bottom line.

Smaller, regional flexible workspaces boast higher occupancy rates and, consequently, lower emissions per employee. An earlier IWG survey showed that only one in five would commute more than 30 minutes daily, while 60% want to work within 15 minutes of home.

Some key benefits of hybrid working, according to the report include:

* Reduced carbon emissions: One of hybrid work’s most significant environmental benefits is reducing carbon emissions. With fewer employees commuting to the office daily, the use of fossil fuels for transportation decreases correspondingly. Reducing emissions can help mitigate climate change and improve air quality in urban areas.

* Energy savings: Companies can also reduce their energy consumption by encouraging remote work. Fewer employees in the office means lower energy usage for heating, cooling, and lighting. Additionally, using digital communication tools can reduce the need for business travel, lowering energy consumption associated with transportation.

* Less office waste: With fewer employees in the office there is likely to be a reduction in office waste. Less paper, plastic, and other materials are used when employees work from home, decreasing overall waste generation. Companies can further reduce waste by encouraging digital documentation and communication.

* Resource conservation: Hybrid work can also contribute to the conservation of natural resources. By reducing the need for daily commuting, companies can help conserve resources such as oil and gas used to fuel vehicles. This reduction in resource consumption can positively impact the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the demand for finite resources.

* Hybrid work not only promotes sustainable practices within the workplace, but also empowers individuals to make a difference. Employees working from home are more likely to adopt eco-friendly habits such as reducing energy usage, recycling, and using public transportation. These individual actions, when multiplied across a workforce, can have a significant positive impact on the environment.

* Enhanced corporate social responsibility: Companies can demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability by adopting hybrid work practices. This not only improves their corporate social responsibility (CSR) profile, but also attracts environmentally conscious customers and employees. Importantly, this shift towards sustainability can lead to significant cost savings for companies in the long run, making it a financially sound decision.

“The global shift to hybrid working is not only bringing strong productivity and financial advantages to companies and work-life balance improvements to employees, but significant environmental benefits too,” says Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG. “This latest research confirms that businesses adopting the hybrid model have reduced energy usage significantly.

“The environmental benefits of hybrid working do not end there,” Dixon adds. “By simply empowering people to work close to where they live, enabling them to split their time between a local workplace and home, earlier research by Arup has shown that this model has the potential to reduce a worker’s work-related carbon emissions by 90%.”