Working From Home: The Sustainability Question

How to Build a More Sustainable Future of Work

April 2021

Working From Home

The shift to Hybrid Working is happening in the middle of a climate emergency. That context matters, because WFH will influence how we travel, the technology we use, the waste we generate, and the energy, food and water we consume.

Organisations should not claim a commitment to the environment without designing sustainability into their vision for the future of work. This report offers an action roadmap for responsible employers.

The report is structured as follows. First, we introduce a new approach – Think Small — to how organisations can think about the evaluation of behaviours that matter for making WFH sustainable. To that end, we identified five behavioural domains that hold relevant sustainability impacts in the context of shifting to WFH: consumer electronics, information, and communication technology (electronic devices and internet use), utilities (water and energy), food (consumption), waste (food waste and recycling), and travel (for commute and business). For each, we highlight insights from the latest behavioural science evidence in terms of successful interventions and generate ideas on how these insights could be adapted to a WFH setting. Finally, we highlight the need for experimentation and evaluation, and show how organisations can achieve robust results within the “Think Small” framework. We also outline important knowledge gaps, foreseeable challenges, and caveats relevant to this moment that organisations can and should meet head on.

Ultimately, we address two important questions facing organisations: what behaviours matter from a sustainability perspective when employees work from home, and what can organisations do to address the environmental impacts that arise from home working?

For more info on the programme and its next phase, visit the MoreThanNow webpage

Client: MoreThanNow

Authors: Ganga Shreedhar, Kate Laffan and Laura M. Giurge

Download report