Your new daily habits may have a major positive effect on the world from canceled commutes to what you eat for dinner. These days, our everyday lives are looking a lot different. Wearing face masks to the grocery store has become the norm, and important holidays or moments of life are held online rather than in person.
But above all, as COVID-19 (a novel coronavirus strain) began to spread rapidly across the world, many companies encouraged their staff members to work from home, if they could. Although fewer than 4 percent of American employees worked remotely prior to the pandemic, that number has now risen to more than half, a new study by Brookings found.
Working remotely has benefited the planet
It might not always be easy to shelter in place but there is one positive side to it: it helps the environment. Not only do we drive less but some of us eat less meat, drink less coffee, and even do less laundry. Reducing everyday activities such as commutes and coffee intake will reduce our carbon footprints— and help the planet.
Our latest habits already have tremendous optimistic environmental impacts. According to researchers at Columbia University, carbon emissions in New York have dropped by nearly 50 percent compared to last year. In April, Colorado announced improved air quality as ski resorts closed and traffic dropped.
Calculate how your new habits are helping
Curious about how much you support the environment by work from home? Zippia, a career resource, and technology company, has recently introduced an interactive calculator to assess how you calculate.
“With so much information out there on how much the environment has benefited from this slower pace of life, we thought it would be interesting to see how much people have personally impacted the environment,” says Kathy Morris, Zippia’s marketing manager.
According to Morris, the calculator focuses on two key environmental factors: carbon dioxide emissions, and water use. You will answer questions about how your daily behaviors have changed in relation to these factors, including the distance of your drive and how frequently you shower.
“Each question people answer is used to calculate their individual impact based on averages,” Morris says. “For example, the average person drives 29.2 miles a day which averages out to be roughly 1.4 gallons of fuel. This daily commute releases roughly 12,441.8 grams of carbon dioxide. The number goes up or down in the calculator depending on your personal commute.”
You may be shocked at how far your normal routine will go with minor adjustments. Drinking 1 cup of coffee a day, instead of 3, will add up to 12 gallons of water a month saved. Taking one less round trip flight a month saves 163 pounds of carbon on average. Cutting out a daily commute of 30 miles lowers carbon emissions by 213 pounds a month.
When you consider an entire office or nation making these changes, “you can see why the air is clearer in so many big cities,” Morris says.
What you can do in the future
In order to reduce your carbon footprint once you return to the workplace, Morris recommends carpooling instead of driving or using public transport. She also urges companies to continue giving its workers more flexible schedules. It would be a win-win situation, says Morris: Telecommuting would benefit the environment and increase job satisfaction and efficiency, for just one day a week.