Work from home and save the planet

Millions of workers across the UK did not go into the office on Thursday - but this time sunny weather or an outbreak of the norovirus was not to blame.

An estimated five million people avoided the daily commute and took part in National Work from Home Day.

As well as reducing stress levels and improving work-life balance, organisers Work Wise UK said working from home can have a significant impact on pollution levels and CO2 emissions by reducing commuter traffic.

National Work from Home Day, now in its third year, was the first day of a week-long campaign aiming to integrate smarter working practices into the business world throughout the year.

The RAC calculates that 25m people commute to work and 18m of them travel by car.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, told edie: “If you think about that slow moving or stationary traffic and all those emissions going up into the atmosphere.

“If you can get people out of their car for one day a week, that will make a big difference over 12 months.”

Nearly 3.5m people in the UK already work from home at least occasionally – adding up to one in eight of the working population.

The highest proportion is in the South West with 15.7% and the lowest is in the north east with 9.3%.

Working from home is just part of Work Wise Week, which on Friday focused on working practices that can benefit the environment, such as using video conferencing instead of travelling to meetings, and allowing staff to work compressed hours.

Mr Flaxton said: “Increasingly people are becoming aware of the damage that’s being done and it doesn’t do any harm to say ‘we can change the way we work’.”

Work Wise UK has produced handy free guides to flexible working for employers and employees which can be found here.

Kate Martin

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