Keeping employees connected, while also reducing emissions

This week we celebrated #worldcarfreeday. You may think this an odd choice for a transportation consultancy, but Abley is much more than that. We provide a range of transportation, digital, location and sustainability solutions to a wide variety of clients and we are well known for our advocacy and innovative expertise in active modes and safe, sustainable travel.

As it turns out #worldcarfreeday was a fairly typical day for the Abley team, with the vast majority of our employees (73% according to our latest survey) commuting sustainably every day. It is in our DNA, it is part of who we are. I posted on LinkedIn about our support of #worldcarfreeday and had a number of replies (both public and in my DMs) suggesting that the best carbon zero approach is to work from home.

While working from home is irrefutably a fantastic way to reduce your commuting emissions, it does come at a cost to individuals and businesses, and these should be carefully considered before abandoning the office!

Working from home is not the only solution

Vodafone recently published their “Disconnection Report” which reminds us that working from home does have a downside, a lonely downside. According to this report:

33% say that working remotely leaves them feeling remote

66% of remote workers miss face-to face time with people

2/3 of employees lack a sense of team belonging when they work remotely”

Such sentiments pose a risk to individuals and organisations, since being socially connected is directly linked to our wellbeing and happiness. Time and time again research has proven that good social relationships are the most consistent predictor of happiness. From a business and economic perspective, we know that people who are happy are more productive, plus it turns out they are at a least 13% more productive. Perhaps more importantly, happy people are unquestionably healthier. A couple of good reasons to ditch the slippers,  jump on a bus or haul that bike out of the shed!

But there is a further compelling reason to brave the commute – this is where the magic happens. Being connected and present is a critical factor for innovation, as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon identified last year, remote work “doesn’t work for spontaneous idea generation”.  

So how can we reduce our carbon emissions and preserve a happy, healthy, innovative and productive workforce?

The answer is a hybrid, flexible approach. At Abley we adopted flexible working arrangements well before the pandemic and integrating these systems into the way we work has been critical to the wellbeing of our people. It has driven our ongoing growth and innovation.

Commuting isn’t going anywhere, the trick is to harness its benefits and minimise its cost, specifically the environmental cost. Our team launched CarbonWise earlier this year, which is a tool designed to measure employees’ commuting emissions, providing both employers and employees with actionable data to encourage more sustainable commuting choices.

Both flexible working arrangements and sustainable forms of commuting can reduce emissions – without compromising your innovation, productivity or wellbeing. In fact they will give them all a boost!

Biking over Avon River
Biking through Hagley Park
Richards commute

Richard’s morning commute

hybrid workplace