Light vehicles, including passenger cars, account for about a third of global oil demand and produce about half of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Teleworking is the fastest and most effective way to reduce commuting-related emissions for all staff (1).
#1 Encourage staff
Allow and encourage staff to work from home or close by.
#2 More teleworking days
Go beyond the minimum number of days of telework per week required or recommended by the authorities.
#3 Financial support
Pay home internet bills, coworking space memberships and cell phone bills.
#4 Technological support
Provide good videoconferencing tools and train staff in their use.
Join forces with other organisations to advocate the right to telework with the authorities.
#6 Corporate resources
Establish corporate policies and procedures (test them in advance if possible) on accessing corporate resources and who to contact in case of problems.
#7 Regularly check in with the staff
Set up realistic goals, working schedules and follow-up mechanisms, being flexible where possible and taking into account personal circumstances.
#8 Secure systems and practices
6 key sub-actions
- Secure teleworking equipment: hard disk encryption, inactivity timeouts, privacy screens, strong authentication, removable media control and encryption (e.g. USB drives), process to remotely disable access to a device that has been lost or stolen
- Secure remote access: only allow your employees to connect to the corporate network through a company-provided VPN with multi-factor authentication, ensure that remote sessions automatically time out and require re-authentication after a specified period of inactivity
- Secure your corporate communications: enforce the use of multi-factor authentication to access corporate email accounts. Provide access to secure communication channels for employees to reach each other easily, as well as to communicate with external stakeholders
- Keep device operating systems and apps updated. This will help mitigate the risk of cybercriminals exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities
- Increase your security monitoring: actively check unusual remote user activity and increase your alert levels for VPN-related attacks
- Raise staff awareness about the risks of teleworking
- Reduction of transport costs
- Time savings and improved work-life balance
- Health-related benefits (less time spent in transportation and stress due to commuting)
- Increase awareness of teleworking benefits (senior management, in particular)
Prerequisites & specificities
- Authorities allowing teleworking
- Access to appropriate IT tools, materials and internet connection
- Some remote locations do not have the necessary connectivity to ensure teleworking
- A working spirit that encourages, trusts and recognises the value of its employees, regardless of teleworking
- Reluctance of some employees or managers who consider teleworking negatively (eg. career-damaging)
- Social isolation
- Health effects related to the excessive use of screens
- Weaker information protection (depends on IT facilities)
- Lower productivity for some staff if not well managed
- Gender inequalities
TDH Suisse teleworking support
As part of its teleworking policy, TDH Suisse has identified a focal point whose role is to support, in the form of training and expertise, TDH teams in organising online events (workshops, meetings). Not only does it make remote working more efficient, but by demonstrating that online work sessions can be fun and useful, it encourages their use, thus generating more e-meeting and e-working opportunities (6).
E-teleworking platform in Bolivia
In response to the lack of adequate training in the use of new technologies, Unifranz University, Microsoft Bolivia, the Foundation for the Development of Information and Communication Technologies (FUNDETIC-Bolivia) and the International Labor Organisation (ILO), developed a telework platform called: “e-telework”. This platform aims to contribute to the development, promotion and implementation of telework as a new way of working through a digital platform that allows to generate new skills and abilities, offers training and virtual learning spaces. So far, it has allowed 55 Bolivian companies to implement telework in a better way, training employees and providing a safe telework environment (7).
EPFL teleworking policy
The EPFL is constantly improving its regulations and guides to reinforce its teleworking policy. EPFL distinguishes three types of teleworking: regular teleworking, fixed or flexible. They have developed the project ”Future of Work @ EPFL” intending to promote work-life balance, flexibility, inclusion, the engagement of employees, and create a positive impact on the environment. This initiative includes a broad range of teleworking opportunities at EPFL (8).
Bancolombia and Try my Ride
In Colombia, Bancolombia has increased its teleworking options for employees to reduce their CO2 emissions. The “flexiwork” modality allows employees to work up to a maximum of 16 hours per week outside the office from their homes or other spaces, and they can also register their hours in the bank’s sustainable mobility application, Try my Ride, to obtain benefits and discounts related to sustainable soft mobility (9).
Gender equality and telework
If organisations are promoting telework policies, they should be aware of gender inequalities. (10) Most teleworkers are men, but women often carry a disproportionately high burden of unpaid care and domestic work which can be exacerbated by teleworking. (11) It is therefore important that organisations have a gender-sensitive approach to achieving the necessary social and technological innovation to ensure that telework contributes to promoting gender equality.
Tools and good practices
To go further
Car use rationalisation
Online meetings & trainings
(1) The ICCT – Light Vehicles. Read here.
(2) Telework one day per week reduces emissions by 271 kg CO2e per year. Read here.
(3) A long-term favourable rebound effect of +52% if the teleworker is in flex office. Read here.
(4) 7 out of 10 French people commute using their car. Read here.
(5) Commuting represents 57% of local mobility emissions from Monday to Friday in France. Read here.
(6) TDH Suisse teleworking support.
(7) E-teleworking platform in Bolivia. Read here.
(8) EPFL teleworking policy. Read here.
(9) Bancolombia and Try my Ride. Read here.
(10) Lyttelton, Thomas & Zang, Emma & Musick, Kelly. Gender Differences in Telecommuting and Implications for Inequality at Home and Work, 2020. doi:10.31235/osf.io/tdf8c. Read here.
(11) European Economic and Social Committee, Teleworking and gender equality, 2021. Read here.
Cover photo © Chris Montgomery/Unsplash.