When I came back from maternity leave at the beginning of this year, I wasn’t ready to put my child into full time daycare. I had very supportive family members who were able to help out with part time child care, and a super supportive boss who allowed me to work part time and from home. At first this remote working arrangement was really about allowing me to have more time with my daughter, but I quickly realized it had major environmental benefits.
My old work style was to drive 26km one way to work every day of the week. I sometimes took transit, and sometimes carpooled, but the nature of my job often made driving solo easier (site meetings). Now that I have a home office, I’m very motivated to plan all my meetings into one day a week, so that I only have to do the commute once. This means I’m doing a lot more conference calls, circulating material for review by email, and just generally minimizing the meetings I attend. Not only has this improved my efficiency and productivity, but it has drastically reduced my carbon emissions from travel. It’s also meant a huge reduction in paper, as I am entirely computer based and hardly ever print anything.
I return to work full time come September, but I’ll continue with my home office location. And I’ll continue with my reduced emission approach to getting work done. I admit my motivation isn’t entirely pure, as it’s as much about freeing up my personal time by not spending hours driving, but the result is the same. Less time on the road, fewer emissions, and a happier planet.