Earth Day: FlexJobs Reports How Telecommuting Policies Helped 3 Companies Save Over 95,000 Metric Tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2014

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Xerox, Dell and Aetna illustrate carbon footprint reductions, positive environmental impact of remote work

"The cost savings to both employers and employees tend to dominate discussions around telecommuting and flexible work benefits, but the positive impact flexible work arrangements have on the environment is equally compelling,” says Sara Sutton Fell.

In recognition of Earth Day, FlexJobs reports that the telecommuting policies of Xerox, Dell and Aetna, three companies that have embraced flexible work, cumulatively saved 95,294 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions last year -- equivalent to taking 20,000 passenger vehicles off the road. According to FlexJobs, the leading service for remote and flexible job opportunities, telecommuting positively impacts the environment, resulting in reduced congestion, minimized construction, lowered pollution emissions, reduced strain on transportation systems, less fuel consumption and improved air quality.

To examine how these benefits are also positive for companies, FlexJobs spoke with Xerox, Dell and Aetna, three companies featured on its 2015 top 100 companies to watch for remote jobs list, about the specific environmental savings that have been generated by their respective flexible work policies.

With more than 8,000 employees – 11 percent of its U.S. domestic workforce – forming part of its Virtual Office program, Xerox reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 40,894 metric tons in 2014. Xerox added in excess of 1,000 remote jobs in the past year alone. Remote staff saved an estimated 92 million miles of driving and 4.6 million gallons of gas. The figures are even greater when considering that Xerox encourages and supports thousands of onsite employees worldwide to work from home on an as-needed basis.

“Xerox focused on environmental performance and sustainability long before it was a popular practice, in order to positively impact our operations, offerings, customers and communities,” said Diane O’Connor, vice president of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Xerox. “Beginning with double-sided printing and work-at-home, data-entry jobs to efficiently process transactions at a massive scale, Xerox has continually evolved its efforts to benefit the environment while helping employees of diverse career backgrounds live a better work-life balance.”

In 2014, Dell’s flexible work programs resulted in 6,700 fewer metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions–the same as not driving nearly 16 million miles–and saved Dell $12 million. The program includes approximately 20,000 team members, or 20 percent of its workforce. Another 20 percent of Dell’s workforce also occasionally works outside the traditional office--from home, coffee shops or hotels, depending on the employees’ needs. Dell encourages eligible team members to enroll in Dell’s flexible work programs, which also aligns with its Legacy of Good program.

At Aetna, where teleworking has been part of the workplace for 20 years, over 43 percent of its employees engage in some form of work-at-home or other virtual work arrangement. In 2014 alone these teleworkers reduced Aetna’s carbon footprint by preventing 127 million miles of driving, saving 5.3 million gallons of gas and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 46,700 metric tons.

"The cost savings to both employers and employees tend to dominate discussions around telecommuting and flexible work benefits, but the positive impact flexible work arrangements have on the environment is equally compelling,” says Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

The Total Impact of Flexible Work on the Environment, in Numbers:
According to the Global Workplace Analytics, if employees who held telework-compatible jobs (50% of the workforce) and wanted to work at home (79% of the workforce) did so just half of the time, consumers would save $20 billion at the pumps.

The U.S. as a whole would:
Gas Use: Reduce greenhouse gases by 54 million tons – the equivalent of taking almost 10 million cars off the road for a year

Oil: Save over 640 million barrels of oil valued at over $64 billion

Roads: Reduce wear and tear on highways by over 119 billion miles a year

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, telecommuting also saves 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year—roughly the amount of energy needed to power 1 million U.S. households annually.

There are also other overlooked eco-friendly benefits of a telecommuting workforce:
Offices need less office space, build smaller buildings, and eliminate the energy use associated with heating, cooling, and electrifying these unneeded spaces.

Travel associated with work is cut-down in favor of teleconferencing, online training courses, and Skype meetings, resulting in fewer flights and less carbon emission.

Telecommuters use less paper, opting instead for digital files like PDFs and other electronic documents.

Using less paper means using less storage space, again cutting down on a company’s need to construct and maintain office or storage buildings.

To request additional information, please contact Kathy Gardner at kgardner[at]flexjobs[dot]com.

About FlexJobs
FlexJobs is the leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. With flexible job listings in over 100 career categories, and opportunities ranging from entry-level to executive, freelance to full-time, FlexJobs offers job-seekers a safe, easy, and efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible job listings. Having helped over one million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Marketplace Money, and many other trusted media outlets. FlexJobs is also a proud partner in the 1 Million for Work Flexibility initiative, which seeks to unite people advocating for work flexibility.

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Kathy Gardner
FlexJobs
+1 (203) 253-9531
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