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Digital workplace environment benefits examples

06.28.2013
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This is the last in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace and new ways of working. It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  My previous posts in this series have covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, and property costs savings.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how changing to new ways of working can improve your organisation’s green reputation and have a good impact on the environment.

How to reduce the environmental impact

Governments, organisations, and people are realising more what their impact on the environment can be.  More importantly there are options we can take which can reduce the impact we have by changing our behaviour to work.  Simply we can now bring our work to us more rather than have to travel to it.  So, as well as striking a better work/life balance we can also reduce our impact on the environment by:

  • not commuting to work
  • video and conference calls with other people instead of every meeting being face to face
  • less office space to be heated and lit
  • when travelling is necessary, doing it outside of peak commuting hours if possible
  • using collaboration tools that replicate what used to happen when people were in physical workplaces

What organisations can achieve

  • Reducing environmental impact is a key factor of an organisation’s Corporate and Social Responsibilities commitments.
  • If US employees with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so half the time, it is estimated the nation could cut its Persian Gulf imports by 47%. The greenhouse gas impact would be equivalent to taking the entire New York State workforce off the road. (Wow!)
  • Reducing an organisation’s liability to environmental taxes and penalties by changing behaviour.
  • Significant savings can be achieved through reduction in business travel. For example: Ernst & Young (£2.5m a year) and Cisco ($10.3m a year).
  • Digital workplace technology has the potential significantly to reduce the negative environmental impact of organisations.

Examples

  1. During 2010, consolidation enabled Hewlett Packard to close 16 data centres and 447 computer labs and reduce floor space by around 12,000 square metres, while maintaining HP’s presence in all the world’s major regions and their ability to support customers worldwide. In turn, HP estimates that this consolidation avoided 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) emissions.
  2. Through its award winning flexible working programme, in 2009/10 Ernst & Young avoided 6.8m air miles from using video-conferencing facilities. And in 2010/11, it achieved a 24% reduction in distance travelled by road per head, and a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions per head, compared with 2006/07. It also achieved a 5% reduction in distance travelled by rail and CO2e emissions per head in 2010/11 compared with 2006/07. Its flexible working strategy has been supported by a £650,000 initial investment while the potential annual direct cost savings from business travel avoidance is £2.5m.
  3. In its 2010 CSR report, Cisco makes an explicit link between using collaboration solutions internally (principally WebEx and telepresence) to host a staggering 19.3m hours of virtual meetings. This represents an annual saving of 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year and a general reduction of 12% of Cisco’s output in greenhouse gases since 2007.
  4. Capgemini’s carbon emissions have fallen by 12.6% since 2008 as a result of its TravelWell programme, which included providing technology alternatives to non-essential travel. It has also achieved WWF UK’s ‘One in Five Challenge’ (reducing business flights by 20% in five years). A founder sponsor of the challenge, Capgemini achieved this in the first year, reducing flights by 4,508.

I hope these posts have made you pause and think about how you can help your own organisation.  You can contact me if you want more help.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.

Published at DZone with permission of Mark Morrell, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)