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Working from home has taken root in everyday life, and many employees want to continue to do that at least a couple of days a week. Companies like SIX are embracing this trend and permanently allow their employees to work from home, usually for a set number of days per week or month, because a day spent working from home benefits one’s work-life balance, saves commuting time, and protects our environment.
Is Working from Home Good for Our Climate?
A dissertation written by Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute senior researcher Jan Bieser examined the question of how working from home affects the CO2 balance. As he explains in an interview with SIX, there is no simple answer. Reducing commuter traffic certainly has a big impact, he says. He therefore asserts that “if we are mindful of a few things, working from home is better for our climate than conditions were prior to the pandemic.” That mindfulness includes companies cutting back their office space to reduce energy consumption. But how can workers contribute to climate protection inside their own four walls?
New Work at SIX
Working from home is desired by SIX and will remain a fixture even after the pandemic. SIX employees can spend up to 60% of their working time at home. Meanwhile, the real estate management unit at SIX is trying to utilize offices spaces more efficiently wherever possible. For example, employees of the digital exchange SDX, who used to work in a separate building, are now stationed in the headquarters building of SIX. A pilot project with co-working spaces is currently underway in Biel, Switzerland. SIX is also constantly evaluating how offices spaces in locations outside Switzerland can be used more efficiently or downsized.
The design of working spaces is also being rethought, moving away from assigned cubicles and toward shared workspaces and the introduction of an activity-based work model. This means that working spaces in the future will be designed in accordance with each team’s specific needs. In the event that workers do come into the office onsite, SIX encourages commuting with ecological means of transportation and subsidizes public transit passes for its employees.
Working from Home: From a Temporary Arrangement to an Established Work Model
For many, the dawn of the work-from-home era was initially about getting the basics in place: a functioning laptop or PC, a headset, a small printer, a stable internet connection, and a place at home where a person can work with this equipment as undisturbed as possible. These makeshift beginnings have since turned into an established recognized work model. The matter at hand now is to optimize this work model from the point of view of sustainability.
How to Make Working from Home Sustainable
When your workspace at home ceases to be an interim solution and the first electrical, water, and heating bills land in your mailbox, by then at the latest it’s time to think about designing your office at home sustainably for ecological reasons, but also because it’s in your financial interests to do so – because electricity consumption at home racks up on your own meter and puts a dent in your wallet.
According to the Elektrizitätswerk des Kantons Zürich power company, private households in the canton of Zurich consumed 15% more electricity than usual during the lockdown in spring 2020. No wonder: the France-based non-profit organization The Shift Project calculates that information and communications technology around the world accounts for a total of 3.7% of all greenhouse gas emissions, exceeding the emissions footprint of the civil aviation industry.
Our five tips for a sustainable home office therefore help to save energy, but also go beyond that:
SIX allows its employees to perform up to 60% of their work hours from home. That fits with our culture of stability and agility, inquisitiveness and experience, and empathy and achievement. These are the values that distinguish us as a company. If you would like to discover what else distinguishes us as an employer, get to know us today.Work at SIX