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How to achieve sustainable remote work?

No, mom! It’s not a phase!

Remote working is here to stay.

It was already in our imagination; we could see it on the horizon. Job sectors were adopting it here and there, voices were encouraging it, and new technologies were making it possible – and more accessible. But for most employers, remote working was a marginal way of working, a fad at most. Then a pandemic shook the world and accelerated the process. Today, the labor market can no longer ignore it, and the demand for remote work is growing. In some areas, remote working has become normalized thanks to a true “mobile revolution”.

Our society is still in the process of taming the strange little creature that is remote working. Because it is new, it touches the fundamental structures of our way of life. It’s impossible to know all the effects of this reorganization of work on our society and our lives. 

However, we do know that what seemed to be a more ecological way of life has significant environmental repercussions. And we too often forget a major impact of this change in the working world that is here to stay: the negative effect of remote working on the environment.

If you don't take change by the hand, it will take you by the throat,” said Churchill.  In addition to this mobile revolution of work, it is urgent to implement a digital revolution to mitigate the negative effects on remote working environments.

It is time to act, and we can! Concrete solutions exist to make remote working eco-friendly.

At the heart of this ecological digital revolution is peer-to-peer communication technologies.

A third side to the coin: the environmental impact of remote work

Generally speaking, remote working is seen as positive. If it is not for all, those who practice it, both companies and employees, can see its immediate benefits: schedule flexibility, work-life balance, less commute, reduced expenses, less presentism and tardiness, easier recruitment, increased productivity, etc.

On the other hand, remote working has several downsides. The negative impacts are often discussed from the mental health and human relations perspectives, particularly the effects of isolation and psychological distress. Whether you are an employer or an employee, we strongly suggest that you educate yourself on this subject. Take care of yourself, your loved ones and your employees!

However, it is also imperative to look at the mobile revolution from a third angle: the impacts of remote working on the environment. 

Remote working does have a substantial environmental benefit: the reduction in commute (and therefore in the number of cars emitting carbon on the roads). But this great news is being cancelled out by the most critical consequence of remote working on the environment: digital pollution, also known as e-pollution or server-based pollution. Although invisible to the naked eye, it is staring right back at us.

The numbers speak for themselves. The environmental impact of remote working is real. This digital pollution is caused mainly by the 70 million servers worldwide. All our data and digital operations circulate: emails, social networks, streaming, photos, video calls and videoconferences, and then some. We're talking about very high electricity consumption and considerable amounts of polluting electronic equipment. Here are some facts.

  • Remote working accounts for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A simple digital enquiry on Google emits 7g of CO2. Multiply that by 3.5 billion searches per day!
  • Online video streaming produced more than 30 million tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to what Spain issues!
  • If we made the Internet a country, it would be the 6th biggest polluter!

Employees and employers on the same boat: How to sustainably work from home

The world is reaching the tipping point beyond which climate change may become irreversible. If this happens, we risk denying present and future generations the right to a healthy and sustainable planet – the whole of humanity stands to lose.
- Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)

At Crewdle, we believe that we are all crew members of one big ship: our planet. We are currently in troubled waters, and we must row together to quickly right the ship. 

It is within reach of every one of us to make small daily gestures to keep the ship from sinking. Thus, we can already act concretely to reduce digital pollution (or e-pollution) and tend towards digital sobriety, choose a green host, etc.

As far as remote work is concerned, reducing the number of servers is key to preventing further environmental degradation and maximizing the positive outcomes. In comes peer-to-peer videoconference and video calls service. That’s the digital revolution!

Traditional videoconferencing services are transmitted via servers. A simple one-hour daily call between two participants generates 110 kg of CO2 per year, the equivalent of a 565 miles trip. It also requires 1460 litres of freshwater per year, the equivalent of 27 showers! This is huge! Thinking about the sum of team meetings, work sessions, board of directors' meetings or management meetings in a single week makes you dizzy...

And it's often the employer, the captain, who decides which video conferencing service will be used in the company. But employees can make several compelling arguments for adopting a peer-to-peer calling and videoconferencing service. 

This is the way to achieve greener remote working.

Peer-to-peer: safer, competitive, green!

So, what can a peer-to-peer video conferencing service do to change that?

Greener. No servers, plain and simple! Peer-to-peer establishes direct contact between users without the need for servers, thus eliminating all the environmental disadvantages of using them and reducing the carbon and environmental footprint to the minimum. Plus, Crewdle has worked very hard to outset its small remaining carbon emissions, becoming the world’s first video communication service provider to achieve carbon neutrality.

Safer. Eliminating servers prevents outages and server overloads and prevents server breaches, decryption, and eavesdropping. In other words, a truly private environment. As such, peer-to-peer videoconferencing is the ideal solution for people in professions where confidentiality is fundamental, such as doctors, notaries, accountants, and lawyers, to name a few.

Cost-effective. No more server hosting fees! It's free, or almost free. The packages are simple, and the costs are minimal for superior service.

And it's a very easy change to make!

Things do not change; we change,” said Thoreau. Now is the time.

There has been a mobile revolution in the work environment with the COVID-19 pandemic: the normalization of remote work. There is a virtual revolution going on to ensure the sustainability of working from home: peer-to-peer video conferencing and video calls.

And Crewdle is leading this new paradigm – with you, one conversation at a time.

Let’s green this!

PS: Oh! Also! Don’t forget to get out and move! There’s nothing like disconnecting a little every day to make any lifestyle sustainable!

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Crewdle Team
April 27, 2022
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