When businesses look for ways in which to implement “going-green initiatives”, there are many avenues that they can explore. Recycling to smart energy usage to utilizing green office products, it is endless. However, one significant approach is to implement work from home policies.
Due to the desire to reduce the carbon footprints, working remotely has become an increasingly viable choice for companies that wish to go green.
The contact center industry in the US had led the way for all industries to follow. Instead of housing customer service organizations in large call centers, many leading-edge companies now understand that today providing remote customer service via a work from home structure is a very cost-effective alternative which if done right will deliver a superior quality at less cost.
IDC has estimated that the number of home-based customer service professionals will increase to more than 300,000 by 2020 with no end of that rising trend insight. Here are some remote work condition predictions from Remote.co.
Transforming your customer service organization to a work from home structure is beneficial for many reasons: Reliability due to diversified locations, Higher call quality due to better-skilled professionals, better work/life balance for employees, lower cost to reduced fixed cost and last but not least, a measurable impact to sustainability.
Less Gas in the Tank
First and foremost, working from home saves gas. While this means a great deal on an environmental scale, it means just as much to each customer service professional as gas prices have passed the $3.00 national average price per gallon tag.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average round-trip commute is 24 miles per day. That means that if a call center employs 100 customer service professionals, their combined commute is 2,400 miles per day, or 12,000 miles per five-day work week, or 600,000 miles in a 50-week work year!
If the average automobile’s fuel efficiency is conservatively estimated at 25 miles per gallon, the cumulative total of gasoline used just to get these 100 employees to and from work comes to 480 gallons per week or 24,000 gallons per year.
However, gas used while the car is moving is not all that commuters burn on a daily basis. According to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2017 Annual Mobility Report, the average peak period commuter spends an extra 26 gallons of gas per year sitting in traffic, on top of that used by their commute length. This means that when all is said and done. A call center that employs 100 customer service professionals is therefore responsible for the use of 26,600 gallons of gas per year.
An added bonus for remote customer service professionals is that working from home not only means a smaller carbon footprint due to the reduced use of gasoline—a finite non-renewable natural resource— but also incredible savings overall.
Using the conservative estimate of $3.00 per gallon gas prices, a corporation that shifts 100 customer service professionals to a work from home setup is saving a collective $79,800/year for their employees.
In addition to the 26,600 gallons of gas saved per year by implementing work at home for a 100-seat call center, there are other environmental factors to consider that amplify the environmental benefit of keeping employees off the roads.
Four major pollutants are emitted as by-products of burning fuel in a vehicle’s exhaust system. These pollutants are hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2). Hydrocarbons and NOx are both recognized contributors to smog, while the link between CO2 and global warming has been proven.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average annual carbon dioxide emissions per person, they found, was 20 metric tons, compared to a world average of four tons.
This means that the same 100-seat call center, with its combined commute of 600,000 miles per year, produces 1,680 kg of hydrocarbons emissions, 8,340 kg of NOx, 12,540 kg of CO and 549,600 pounds of CO2.
A Shorter Walk Down Electric Avenue
Work at home has a definite benefit for the environment—less use of natural resources, and fewer pollutants being released into the environment. However, it is not only oil that is being conserved; there are significant electricity savings as well.
According to Carnegie Mellon University, the average office building consumes approximately 16.8 kWh of energy per year for every square foot of office space. If each employee working in the office requires approximately 100 square feet of floor space, that means that every office worker uses approximately 1680 kWh of energy per year. For a 100-seat call center, 168,000 kWh of energy per year are saved by the elimination of commercial floor space, saved thanks to working from home.
Unlike cost savings associated with the conservation of gasoline due to work from home conditions, the cost savings associated with less use of electricity are seen on the corporate bottom line versus in the individual home-based worker’s pocketbook.
Using the average retail price of electricity for 2007 as stated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for Virginia, where VIPdesk Connect is headquartered, Telecommuting a 100-seat call center results in corporate savings of $10,735 per year.
Work from Home can be for any Industry
The good news is in today’s information age, work at home models are not only limited to customer service. Working remotely has been proven to be a viable business trend that is good both for the environment and the bottom line in not only customer service jobs, but in any information-based profession.
In addition, a work from home call center solution is scalable. The statistics highlighted above refer to a mere 100 work from home customer service professionals.
The more employees that are set-up to work from home, the more savings will be recognized, both in terms of cost-savings as well as helping the nation go green.
VIPdesk Connect offers home-based contact center solutions and remote working conditions for their customer service professionals.