We might assume that increased adoption of remote work is indefinitely better for our planet. However, the environmental benefits of remote work are still very much up for debate - especially when employees are split between homes and offices.
In an analysis of energy usage changes with increased adoption of home working, the World Economic Forum does seem to conclude that the potential environmental gains of remote working are limited by hybridity.
“For companies to see the biggest benefits from home-working, it needs to be widespread enough that they can downsize office space and maximize energy savings.”
This is good news for companies who are, or are planning to go, fully remote.
That being said, we have seen some positive environmental change over the past year of remote working en masse. Over 35% of the UK working population worked at home in 2020, up from 9.4% in 2019 (Office for National Statistics). Also in 2020, provisional figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that:
This is, of course, just the bigger picture. Companies that commit to remote working cannot just assume that their processes are geared towards environmental gains.
Office equipment disposal, for instance, is a mass landfill dump exercise at present.
Sustainable waste reduction charity WRAP estimates that 1.2 million desks and 1.8 million office chairs end up in UK landfill annually. Only 14% of office chairs are reused or recycled in some way.
In addition, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 2 million tonnes of Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) - which includes IT and telecommunications equipment - is thrown out by UK households and companies every year.
Green waste disposal efforts may have been easier to implement from one or two central office hubs. If waste is now being created from thousands of home offices, the ability to control and manage waste disposal is potentially much more difficult.
At Hofy, we want to see the world move towards a more sustainable, resource-efficient circular economy - in which we maximise our use of resources, and recover and renew materials instead of disposing of them.
Here’s how we ensure our equipment recovery process is waste-free, and our other contributions to a more sustainable future.
We never throw equipment away at the end of a rental.
We donate any equipment in good condition to charity. We work with Globechain, a reuse marketplace, to connect with charities.
If a product is damaged and cannot be donated, we try to recycle as many parts as possible to avoid sending the bulk to landfill.
We often work with companies that have provided equipment to employees in the past and want to upgrade to Hofy equipment.
We don’t want to see that equipment go to landfill, so we offer a collection service for non-Hofy equipment. We sanitise the equipment and either donate it to charity, or recycle it on your behalf.
We don’t let good equipment go to waste if an employee leaves mid-rental term. And we also want you to maximise the value of the rentals you commit to.
We give you the option to redeploy equipment from leavers to other team members after we’ve inspected and sanitised it.
We always provide new input devices, such as mice, keyboards and headsets.
But for other product categories, we occasionally recognise an opportunity to maximise the life of a pre-loved product.
We only issue second-hand products if they are in ‘like-new’ condition, and always ask your consent to issue pre-loved goods.