The term "net-zero" has been on the lips of climate experts, politicians, and sustainability advocates for a while now. As a result, reaching it inevitably occupied much of the agenda during last year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
The issues discussed during the 2021 COP26 had far-reaching implications, all of which have been carried into 2022. As the topic continues to garner attention in the public domain, the actions needed to mitigate climate change are an absolute priority among world leaders. The scrutiny world leaders are under has inevitably trickled down onto organizations.
Business leaders are now in the spotlight and are being forced to act to mitigate climate change if they are to survive.
Pressures to Mitigate Climate Change Intensify
The rise of social media has made it easier for the public to direct their worries. This has intensified the need for companies to focus on corporate social responsibility.
Negative limelight is now mainly focused on organizations deemed guilty of committing acts of environmental irresponsibility. This pressure towards responsible and sustainable operations will only grow.
Thus, it's imperative that all organizations, from small independent start-ups to global brands, recognize that running sustainable operations is the key to unlocking a positive brand reputation.
Data Is the Light at the End of a Dark Tunnel
The pandemic led to a sudden change of working culture worldwide, forcing businesses to rethink how their people, procedures, and technology interfaced. This change also brought about industry-wide expectations that the pandemic would damage productivity.
As the Omicron COVID variant became more widespread earlier this year, the effects were felt globally. Organizations will need to rapidly adjust their plans to keep employees safe and comply with the law in the event of other variants rising in the future.
The need for people to work from home makes hybrid working not only necessary and more prevalent, but also complicated as it demands better implementation. Although data requirements initially might seem burdensome, they can be a source of hybrid working optimization.
Workforce data will be the key for organizations to successfully navigate these challenging and dark times. A business now requires uncovering real insights from company data and implementing data-based operational changes that promote cultural and performance consistency in a hybrid working world.
Many business leaders will recognize that capturing real-time data at an aggregate and individual level can enable a company to uncover more pertinent organizational trends that drive overall business efficiency, including sustainable, environmental-friendly operations.
In a global business environment that is both highly competitive and relentlessly volatile, access to real-time performance data – or a lack of access to that essential data – will make or break businesses.
It is worth considering the profound consequences when a business doesn't have the data and insight required for managers to make fast and accurate decisions across departments. For example, data on resource shortages, limited capacity, and work backlogs yet to be processed inevitably affect customer experience and impact employee morale in the workplace.
Similarly, without accurate data on employees’ issues like burnout due to traditional touchpoints of in-office work, digital surveillance, and the potential for missed training or guidance can cause problems. This lack of info can genuinely eat into overall efficiency and subsequent engagement, leading to lower productivity and higher staff turnover.
Fortunately, businesses are coming to appreciate the value of having a data-backed structured approach to managing operations. As such, the application of this data in hybrid working arrangements is essential for three key reasons:
- Managers can know workers’ real-time location, the team's productivity and availability, meaning workload can be distributed where and when required.
- Location-based performance data expands planning opportunities for managers to identify areas where office capacity can be modified, meaning carbon footprint targets are more easily achieved.
- Sustainability teams now have access to historical data regarding the commuting environmental impact of their employees, meaning businesses can reduce unnecessary travel to lower their carbon footprint and increase work output.
Technology Supporting Sustainable Operations
With the knowledge that a focus on sustainability and data can improve an organization’s relationship with the public, companies are now looking into ways to get an advantage over their competitors. One way of doing so is by leveraging technology.
It is now possible to have a workforce optimization solution (WFO) to provide sustainability managers with real-time data in respect to the location of where employees are working and how they perform. This allows businesses to gather data efficiently and affordably, allowing them to meet their sustainability goals better.
Modern WFO technology also help business leaders and managers with employee scheduling, shift management, breaks, vacations, and more.
Indeed, there are many balances to be struck and trade-offs to be made in the quest for hybrid working optimization and carbon emissions reduction, but the goal can be reached if businesses recognize what is required and act upon it promptly.
Most firms are now fully committed to reducing their carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable. If your business is using data to support a hybrid workforce, then you should see a reduction in emissions on multiple fronts.
You may see reduced emissions as fewer employees commute and those who commute do it less often. You may also see a reduced need for office lighting and heating – not to mention a reduction in office waste – as footfall in the office decreases.
The tools you use and data you gather to enable all this will demonstrate commitment to your businesses' emission reduction policy – or even form the basis of starting one if you have not already.
Invest in Sustainability Now, Reap the Rewards in the Future
Due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, it is no wonder that many sectors of the world's economy have accelerated their digital transformation attempts.
If businesses play their cards right, they will be able to maintain satisfactory productivity levels without raising their carbon footprint and harming the natural environment.
The drive towards optimizing organisational efficiency and productivity should no longer centre solely around performance and profit, but also equally revolve around sustainability and environmental protection for a brighter future for us all.