Is energy efficiency the next work-from-home benefit?

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Michael Jordan
Strategic Consulting, Sustainability

As Jones Lang LaSalle knows from helping companies design and deploy workplace strategies for in-office collaboration, employee mobility and telecommuting, employees view these programs as important work-life benefits.

It is a common strategy for companies to provide more support for working from home if employees in qualified roles give up their office and commit to being a remote worker 60%, 80%, or more of the time.  Full time remote workers often receive reimbursement for internet access, telephony and home office furniture or equipment such as printers.

But what about energy efficiency?  Is it more energy and carbon efficient for employees to work from home than from the office?  Or, are we just moving the problem around?  The answer, of course, depends on a variety of factors.  In fact, Jones Lang LaSalle helped develop the ECO2 Workplace tool to help figure this out.

Until Microsoft and Google cancelled their home energy monitoring services, it seemed as if home-based workers were going to have consumer-structured services to support energy efficiency in their residence.  Now I’m wondering if this might not become another employee-structured service.

Who will be the first company to offer energy efficiency monitoring and controls as part of their work-from-home package?  Will companies start to recognize the carbon footprint of at-home energy consumption and commuting as part of their emissions responsibilities?  Will HR departments offer carbon offsets as a benefit to home-based workers?

We’ll see.

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