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Hybrid working can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%

New research has found hybrid working can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% in cities across the UK.

Cities could benefit from a massive decrease in carbon emissions by ditching the five-day commuting model, which has the largest carbon footprint of any working pattern, and moving to a hybrid working pattern. The research found Glasgow could cut emissions by 80%, for example.

Manchester, by comparison, could cut emissions by 70% and London by 49%.

In London, carbon emissions were reduced by 49% for those mixing time between a city-centre location and local workspace, and 43% lower when splitting time between a local workspace and home. 

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Local workspaces generate less emissions per square metre than city-centre offices, despite having higher usage rates. 

Mark Dixon, CEO of workspace provider IWG which conducted the research, said employers should offer hybrid working wherever possible. 

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Not only does hybrid working create a happier and more productive workforce but now we have the data to show how much of an impact it can have on the environment. 

“With up to 70% reduction in carbon emissions, it's a no-brainer for organisations, and employers should consider this in their planning.” 

However, Dixon said that people should be cautious of their habits when working from home. 

He added: “Many people like to work from home part of the time as part of the hybrid working week.  

“When they do so they should be mindful of only heating the spaces needed and to continue good practices like recycling.” 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK in 2020, 25% of carbon emissions and 28% of greenhouse gas emissions came from the transport sector, the most of any sector.  

On average, 68% of commuters drive to work, according to figures from the ONS from 2021. Although in London this figure was much lower at 27%. 

Matthew Dillon, director of city economics and planning at Arup said transport to work is one of the most important things people can change to achieve low-carbon targets. 

He said: “We can choose to walk and cycle, and to make more journeys by public transport.   

“Governments must also choose to invest in these networks, and use them to secure both environmental benefits and economic growth.”