April 24, 2010
Employees, don't wait for the next Earth Day to green your job
Maybe you went to a recycling event, planted some trees, or otherwise did your part to honor the planet during the past week's green festivities. Good for you.
[Photo courtesy of NASA]
But amid all the fanfare around Earth Day's 40th anniversary, there was little talk of how much telecommuting could reduce the carbon footprint of the planet's squillions of employees. Since it would be a shame to wait until next April to lay a few startling statistics on you, allow me to do it now.
According to Kate Lister of the Telework Research Network, if every U.S. worker who had a "telecommuting-compatible job" worked from home on the same day of the year (perhaps next Earth Day?), the collective effect would eliminate 423,000 tons of greenhouse gases. Essentially this would have the same effect as taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year.
In addition, says Lister, who's co-author of author of Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home, a national day of telecommuting would save the country:
- 900 million miles driven to work
- 2.3 million barrels of oil (value: $185 million)
- 45 million gallons of gas (value: $188 million in consumer savings)
- 28 million kilowatt-hours in net electricity (enough to power 2,600 homes for a year)
- 775 people from getting injured or killed in traffic accidents
According to Lister, "less than 2 percent of U.S. employees work from home the majority of the time (not including the self-employed), but 40 percent could." What's more, Lister says, if those who could work from home did so just half the workweek, the nation would save more than half a trillion dollars annually.
There's plenty more statistics where those came from. Six months ago, I used Lister's research to write a post about how much telecommuting could trim from your personal budget. (If you'd like to dive further into such statistics yourself, try this Telework Savings Calculator.)
Posts like this always elicit questions about how to join the telecommuting party. Unfortunately some jobs don't lend themselves well to working offsite (think teaching elementary school, working as an ER doctor, or ringing up groceries). But for those with jobs that don't require face-to-face interaction with colleagues and customers all day long, here are a few related posts to get you started:
- Asking to telecommute in a bad economy
- More ammo for employees hoping to telecommute
- Amid scams, some do find work at home
- How to avoid work at home scams
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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