We all telecommute from our home offices. Here’s why.

Agile work, telework, remote work, virtual work, call it what you like, leaving the traditional office behind and substituting technology for travel has some great benefits. Imagine freeing up over 11 days, the time the average American commutes to and from work in a year or having a healthier work/life balance that results in increased productivity by working from home. Those reasons alone have more and more people turning to telecommuting each year. But personal reasons aside, there are substantial benefits that help the environment. While people are becoming increasingly concerned with supporting companies that line up with their sustainability values, virtual agencies and companies that support telecommuting are leading the pack with benefits any environmentally conscious customer or employee can get behind. Here are some of the top environmental benefits of telework:

No Commute

Not needing to step foot into a car to get to work has a huge benefit for the environment. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions at 29% with the majority of transportation coming from cars and trucks at 82%. (source: EPA) The current 3.9 million telecommuters that work from home at least half of the time avoid 7.8 billion miles of travel, and 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gases. It would take planting 91 million trees to make the same offset difference in greenhouse gases. The potential for even greater savings increases for each day employees are able to work from home and the more companies offer telework opportunities. Less commuting also means less wear and tear on cars which gives them a longer life and reduces the amount of automotive materials headed to landfills.

Reduced Paper and Plastic Use

Employees that work from home don’t need to make a daily trip to the coffee shop or for lunch to go. Having less reliance on paper and single-use plastic products saves resources. Virtual work creates less paper since most work and correspondence is sent digitally. Also, people who work from home tend to recycle more when it is already part of their daily household routine and is readily accessible which isn’t always the case in workplace environments.

Less Energy Usage

Electricity is the second largest greenhouse gas emissions source at 28%. The energy consumption rate is two times more with office equipment than home office equipment. Less traditional employees in a building requires less space, less energy. Employees that work from home can control their use of A/C, heating, lighting and equipment only when they need them unlike traditional work places.