How to cut costs, improve your employee experience and reduce Carbon Footprint

Global warming, climate change, carbon emissions, greenhouse gases and climate crisis... whichever you choose to acknowledge they all boil down to the same active issue concerning us all.

Climate change isn’t new, sadly we’ve been witnessing the impact of our activities for over two decades, the majority of us have taken steps to minimising the impact we have, however there is room for improvement.

Reflecting upon my previous roles I was commuting 40 miles to and from work, Monday to Friday (duration of 45/60 minutes per journey). On top of this, my role included driving to sites for sales visits, equating to an extra 50-100 miles a week.

In total, my previous roles could account for 1000 miles of driving a month.

However, today I will rarely do more than 30 social miles a week and zero commuting, how? Working remotely.

This was a big factor when changing careers and a great benefit offered by acrinax. Not only could I reduce my carbon emissions, but also stress. The modern world is demanding ever more that we aim for carbon neutral processes, individually and corporately.

Working remotely can have massive and immediate effects reducing carbon emissions. Although it is not suitable for everybody, I do believe there is room within the United Kingdom for flexibility. Companies are acknowledging they play the biggest role in fighting back against climate change; swapping single use plastics for sustainable products, reducing paper trails, cycle to work/car-pool schemes, recycling profusely, educating employees and customers on the impacts we have as individual consumers.

A report released by the carbon trust “Homeworking: Helping businesses cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint” identifies 40% of jobs in the U.K. are compatible with home working, fewer than 35% of companies offer their staff the choice to work remotely and up to 50% of employees reject the option.

The last point stood out to me, why are we rejecting the option to work remotely?  I understand it is not for everyone, personal circumstances may not be best suited to work from home. Monday to Friday remote working is challenging for some, as can be isolating. However, the option to work for 1 or 2 days from home, for me, isn’t one of personal concerns today, moreover, the chance to have an immediate and positive impact on your carbon footprint. Should you, like many of us, commute to work via personal means of transport, i.e via petrol and diesel powered vehicles to jobs that don’t necessarily require it. Case studies into Dell, Xerox and BT have all produced astonishing results, atoned to remote working.

Take a look at the BT case study taken from the Carbon Trust report. “BT has been very active in the area of homeworking. One of their projects focused on the benefits and trade-offs of homeworking versus office working, including the home energy monitoring of 30 employees’ households. Homeworking resulted in reduced commute travel emissions and office energy use, as well as some increase in home energy use”.

“The project found that net annual saving per home-based employee was 1.4 tonnes CO2e. This equates to a 14% reduction of emissions per person, assuming the total emissions per person in the UK are approximately 10 tonnes CO2e per year. A roll-out of home working within BT saved 14,000 tonnes CO2e over a period of 12 months. As well as the carbon savings, homeworking allowed BT to reduce their office space, resulting in annual savings of £60m or approximately £6,000 per full-time homeworker”. The results speak for themselves, adopting a new approach and a potential shift in culture has allowed one company, including many individuals, to make a unique difference.

A sector that has the potential to pioneer a shift in U.K. work culture is contact centres. The nature of the work, evolving customer experience platforms, evolving employee experience and technological innovations, has broken down many barriers. We should now be contemplating what’s on the other side?? Well, Genesys Pure Cloud, a resilient internet based customer experience platform. The increasing power of today’s broadband and technologies like SIP (call me I’ll explain) and continuous development of Genesys Pure Cloud, means companies can have agents that work from home effectively. Employees can deliver the same, if not better results, in contrast to being in the office.

Built in work-force management tools, internal chat systems, advanced dashboard analytics and web based platforms, means employees can communicate, manage, understand and deliver high levels of customer service, from the comforts of their homes with Genesys Pure Cloud platform. (We can also help with the dreaded PCI DSS and put in a compliant payment taking IVR). Introducing remote working will give you a competitive advantage over your competition that doesn’t offer remote working in their job roles. Breaking down geographical barriers you will be able to recruit and retain the best talent in the industry from outside of your local pool of employment.

Although, it isn’t down to the contact centres to help bridge the gap between necessary and unnecessary commuting. As a company we choose to work with those that share the same ethical approach as ourselves and aim for carbon neutrality. For instance, one of our clients, Ovo Energy, was founded on the grounds of creating a greener future. Recently, they have moved into their sustainable office space in West London.

Highlights include FCS sourced wood, recycled materials and solar panels on the roof, all part of Ovo Energies commitment to helping the U.K reach Net Zero. In the process of meeting the Government’s ambitions of becoming Carbon Net Zero by 2050, the owner of Ovo Energy, Stephen Fitzpatrick has launched his own campaign known as ZeroC. ZeroC calls upon the newly elected Prime Minister to introduce a Carbon Charge for all products and services, based on the emissions generated over their life cycle.

The funds generated would be paid back to the general public as a ‘Carbon Dividend’. Ovo’s introduction of cycling initiatives around the U.K, sustainable marketing strategies and Project Jua in Kenya (electrifying 300 schools and health clinics using solar panels). It can be noted that they aren’t waiting for the rest of us to show how it’s done.

As 2020 draws closer, the polar ice caps retreat further and the sea begins to rise, can we reflect on our individual and more importantly, corporate processes. Educate, inspire and convince those around you to make changes.

Would you like to know more about enabling your teams to work from home? Cloud Contact Centres? Artificial Intelligence? Contact Centre Analytics? Or any of the research/topics discussed in this article? Contact: richard.bird@acrinax.com or call on 07960 285 338.

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