This analysis was done in collaboration with Wren, a great service helping you reduce and offset your carbon footprint, as an individual or as a company. I'm a customer both for Slite and for myself, and I can't recommend it enough.
These are times of radical changes. We are faced with multiple global-scale phenomenons, seemingly disconnected, that will weigh heavily on each other.Here, we explore the interaction between two of those: climate change and the huge tide of remote work.
Even though I've been a strong believer in remote working for years - and while we made it the norm for our team - this discussion is even more interesting in the context of the current pandemic, forcing nearly all the "knowledge workers" to adopt this new way of working.
Why this analysis
Our civilization went off the charts on all levels when it comes to development: number of inhabitants, actualized value created, scientific progress... We did "more" in a single century than in the millennia preceding it.
But that did not come for free. We took and are still taking a huge debt on our planet. All this progress required more energy, food and other material consumption: we consumed non-renewable stock of rare materials, emitted a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, gradually impoverished our soils, you know the story.
The scientific consensus now clearly shows that we need to pay back this debt or at least stop raising it, right now. In that context, as our habits keep evolving we need to be lucid: new isn't always better, and we need to bring the part of novelty that actually makes a positive difference.
So we sat down to answer a simple question: is remote better or worse for the planet?
We built a very simple calculator to compare the CO2 costs of the same company in a physical office or remote environment.
Between each setup you have a few big factors able to counterbalance each other:
Remote working removes all the need for commute and office.
But remote workers travel often to gather physically.
To be noted, we don't attempt to compute the whole CO2 costs of your company, we simply compare office & remote setups.
Here is a quick example of Slite's results. We are a small 22-people team, distributed but with a strong gravity center around Europe. We gather between three and six times a year, usually around Paris, but sometimes a bit further away.
I had no idea what the results would look like when I started this. But it turns out all companies should be asking themselves this question.
for remote teams, how often and where you gather in person has a huge impact on your carbon footprint
I know this will impact our way to work, as we'll prioritize finding a city reducing our bill over its touristic appeal. From my experience the latter really doesn't matter for team retreats, your team is the one bringing the magic ✨.
Clone the spreadsheet, try it out for yourselves by entering your employee locations, and let us know what you think.
It's worth noting some cost-headings are too complex or too light to be considered. For instance:
I would expect office buildings to be suboptimal in terms of energy consumption, as either heating or AC are turned on at all times. But as it weighs low against transport I decided to not include it in this analysis.
We don't consider business travel, as we assume it would be similar in both setups.
We also don't consider the carbon footprint of using video services, as it's trivial compared to the carbon footprint of flying.
We also consider, based on our qualitative experience, folks in remote companies either work from home or walk/cycle to their co-working spaces.
We assume employees are flying to their team retreats on economy tickets. If they flew business class, the carbon footprint would be significantly higher.
What’s a Rich Text element?
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
How to customize formatting for each rich text
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
Christophe Pasquier is Slite’s co-founder and CEO. He founded 2 companies before, Staffit (an app to assess developers) and Cabine (a clothing-delivery service in Paris). Chris’ goal is to help teams get their asynchronous communication and knowledge under control. He currently lives in Berlin with his wife and baby Noé. Find him @Christophpas on Twitter!
No items found.
Put some humanity back into your remote life. Our learnings, straight to your inbox.
All set! Next piece will land straight in your inbox.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No fluff, no spam, no corporate filler. Just a friendly letter, twice a month.
How to create a knowledge base as a team from day One
Looking for P̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ D̶e̶s̶i̶g̶n̶e̶r̶s̶ Creatives
We're done searching for people who can tick boxes. We want creative & technically-skilled humans instead.