In 2019, no-one could have possibly foreseen how much the CV19 pandemic would utterly transform how modern organisations operate. Perhaps a more unforeseen circumstance, however, is that mass working from home has given prominence to a new work model – one that appears to come with a considerable environmental benefit.

Hybrid work is an arrangement that allows employees the freedom to choose to work on or offsite on a day-to-day basis. While this will obviously vary from company to company, the model is based around the idea that an employee will work two or three days in the office; then work from home for the remainder of the week.

The hybrid model is becoming increasingly popular amongst workers – according to a report conducted by Accenture, 9000 workers surveyed from around the world prefer a hybrid model 83% of the time. The report further found that 63% of high-revenue growth companies embraced hybrid workforce models; as opposed to 69% of companies with negative or no growth; which preferred all onsite, or all remote employees.

In another example, The Work Trend Index survey took a sample of 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets during January 2021. Of these, 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to stay; with 66% of leaders reporting that their company is considering redesigning office space for hybrid work.

While far from a universal consensus, both studies indicate a majority in favour of hybrid working being here to stay – and considering that the CV19 lockdowns in 2020 caused fossil carbon dioxide emissions to decline by an estimated 2.4 billion tonnes, less pressure to commute to work may be just what the doctor ordered with regards to climate change.

Research network DecarboN8 used mobile phone data from 23million devices to investigate the change in commute journeys in the UK between February – June 2020; finding that, across 375 Local Authority Districts, homeworking resulted in an average overall CO2 reduction of 17-60%. The study found that areas with the greatest carbon emission reduction were those with the highest proportion of specific industry roles that could be worked from home (40.3%); as well as the highest levels of car ownership.

With the state of climate emergency ever-looming, these are not findings that businesses can afford to ignore. While adopting a hybrid work model would not achieve the same level of CO2 reduction, and is far from a long-term solution in isolation; it stands to reason that less personal vehicles on the road would at least be a step in the right direction – especially considering that, according to DecarboN8, commuting makes up 15% of all the journeys in the UK.

Not that that’s the only incentive - a global study by Accenture found that consumer priorities have drastically changed since the start of the pandemic, with 60% making more ‘environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases’ – a further indication that ‘sustainability’ is fast-becoming a global priority. Incorporating the hybrid work model into new working behaviours could be the key for organisations remaining relevant in a post-pandemic landscape.

“As a result of the pandemic, there’s no doubt that sustainability is now very much front of mind for companies around the world – and they know this is something their customers expect,’ says Mark Dixon, Founder and Co-Executive of IWG. ‘We believe that the adoption of a hybrid working model brings considerable sustainability benefits and can be a major pillar in any company’s ESG agenda. And it can also be the foundation of a new approach to work and life that benefits both the planet and its people.”

Aurelio Maruggi, CEO of Apogee, says that he intends for the business to "become the leading Managed Workplace Services provider ensuring all employees based at home, the office or a hybrid of both can work effectively, efficiently and securely."

"The business has outlined a number of sustainability programmes… the Executive Leadership Team will continue to demonstrate leadership and commitment by investing in appropriate technology and green products to help accelerate our efforts to achieving net positive by 2030."