How can the hybrid working environment be sustainable for employees and the planet?

By Atkins

No one could have predicted the pace of change in the move to the virtual environment, catalysing the adoption of new ways of working.

The makeshift home office setting has changed our working habits and given employees more autonomy over their working day. This has, however, in some cases led to overworking and made it harder for employees to ‘switch off’. Now, we must take these learnings and apply them to the new working environment in a post-pandemic world.

An increasing number of organisations are now asking if remote working should be the new normal and what added value this would bring. Hybrid working; a mixture between office working and being home-based, appears to be popular with employers and employees alike going forward. A recent Atkins survey asked employees what they envisaged the working week to look like in the future, and the results forecast spending 50% of the week in offices. Other high profile organisations, such as Morgan Stanley and Apple, have explained how they envisage the future workplace, showing the variety of approaches companies are taking to a hybrid model. Apple is encouraging staff to return to the office three days a week, whereas Morgan Stanley has taken a firmer approach, saying “employees must return to work full time by September”.

An additional consideration is how sustainability and the UK 2050 Net Zero target will impact corporate plans. Studies have revealed that during lockdown the overall carbon emissions from commuting had fallen from pre-lockdown levels – a strong argument for increased or fully remote working. But has there been a digital carbon footprint cost? And if so what is its impact?

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