angle-left Remote work reduces emissions and promotes sustainable commuting

Remote work reduces emissions and promotes sustainable commuting

01.06.2021 08:14

Kokeileva Kaupunkiseutu Joensuu project run from September 2020 until May 2021. The project carried out remote work pilots for municipal employees in North Karelia to cut commuting related emissions and make use of empty office spaces in the region. In addition, the project aimed at solving some of the challenges of working remotely.

The employees chosen for the pilots were able to use remote workspaces set up in their hometowns. Nine employees from all around the North Karelia participated in the pilots by working at six locations.

Sustainable commuting

The remote workspaces were used for 160 days in total. As a result, long commutes by car decreased by 11 207 kilometres. In addition, the CO2-emissions from commuting declined around 1828 kilograms in total. 

Moreover, the employees used more sustainable means of transport while working remotely, both when commuting and in their free time. In total, the employees walked or biked 230 kilometres to the remote workspaces. Most of the participants claimed the pilots increased their awareness about the climate impact of commuting.

Time savings and flexibility

For the employees, the biggest benefit of the pilots were the time savings from shorter commutes. The employees saved around 156 hours (6,5 days) in total during the project. Majority of the participants used the extra time to do outdoor activities and exercise. In addition, most of the employees experienced positive effects on their well-being and job satisfaction. One third of the participants said their absence from work due to illness reduced as well.

Majority of the employees thought remote work increased the flexibility, productivity, and efficiency of work. Work become more multi-local, which was mostly seen as a positive thing by the employees. For the future, the employees hoped for a hybrid model of work – a combination of remote and in-office work.

The project was funded by the Ministry of the Environment and the City of Joensuu, with a total funding of €50 000. The information gathered in the project plays an important role when developing new flexible ways of working and solving the challenges of remote work.