COVID-19 and climate change

Today is Earth Day, an annual global event that aims to raise awareness of environmental issues.

This year’s event – the fiftieth Earth Day – falls in the midst of an unprecedented interruption to life as we know it, and so provides a unique opportunity for us to understand the impact we and our working habits have on the natural world.

The environmental benefits of staying at home

It should come as no surprise to learn that restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have had a noticeably positive effect on the environment: already, air quality has improved, carbon emissions have dropped significantly and wildlife is thriving where once it was absent.

These are, of course, short-term effects, and many experts are understandably concerned that the environmental benefits caused by the lockdown will quickly be reversed once restrictions are lifted. However, we don’t have to go back to the way we were before. We can learn from the experience and change the way we live and work – to everyone’s advantage.

Calculating our own impact

Here at IT Governance, we have a climate change action group that aims to reduce our own environmental impact. We’ve calculated that in the current seven-week lockdown period alone we will have saved 41.46 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions: equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from an average passenger vehicle driving 101,737 miles, or around the world more than four times.

Obviously, this saving will be offset by increases in CO2 created in our homes, but the overall effect is undoubtedly still a good one. Factor in all the other companies that switched to remote working in mid-March and the effect on the environment in just a few weeks is little short of astonishing.

So, the question all responsible companies will now be asking is: how we can continue to benefit the environment and maintain productivity once the lockdown restrictions are lifted?

Homeworking: the new normal?

Campaigners have spent years pointing out that, with communication and collaboration technology, there’s little justification in insisting on your workforce assembling in one place each and every day unless they absolutely have to – they waste time commuting, you waste money providing offices and equipment, and both of you waste energy and cause damage to the environment.

Obviously, there are countless organisations that can’t modify their working practices to any great extent. For many others, the realisation that homeworking is actually a perfectly viable way of operating might well lead to remote staff continuing in some form or another after the restrictions are lifted – or at least for there to be greater flexibility than before COVID-19 came along.

Training courses and remote delivery

All change is, to an extent, disruptive, and if your staff have suddenly switched to homeworking you will face many challenges that you might not have anticipated or had time to address.

Read more about the cyber security risks associated with homeworking >>

Fortunately, we have everything you need to help adjust to this new normality.

Almost all of our products and services are capable of being delivered remotely, and we’ve launched a range of new ones to help our clients through the coronavirus crisis, including training and staff awareness courses, penetration testing and vulnerability scanning.

Learn more about how we can help you >>