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Take a moment to ask yourself one simple question: do you need to go into the office to do a good’s day work? For most office based jobs the answer is no, with the right equipment and trust from management you can get the work done anytime, anywhere.

The notion that you need to be seen in an office furiously working away at a desk is from a bygone era. Today mobile and flexible working is fast becoming the norm, offering benefits to employees and businesses that aren’t just savings or improved performance or a better work/life balance – flexible working can also help reduce your environmental impact.

In January ‘Climate Change: Future Actions’ went before Executive with a range of suggestions that aim to help the Council achieve net zero emissions by 2030. The suggestions include encouraging employees who live 10km or more away from their current office to work from home two days a week (sector or activity permitting).

Striking the right balance

How would that help? By reducing the need to travel and in turn emissions and, in most cases, people’s homes will be more energy efficient than most council buildings. Already several employees embrace working from home, not only to reduce their carbon footprint but to make the family juggle easier, including Lead Officer Climate Change, Mari-Claire Morgan.

Why do you work from home? I live 30 miles away from the office. There isn’t an easy way for me to take public transport to work so working flexibly helps me reduce the number of times I need to drive to work, cutting my emissions and lowering my impact. I also have three kids of school age so working from home two days a week makes it easier to juggle family and work life and allows me to do the school run on occasion.

What benefits do you gain from working this way? Apart from having one of the best work life balances of anyone I know, flexible working allows me to make better use of my time as I am free to choose when I leave the house and can avoid the rush hour commute, which can take at least an hour and a half each way. I also work from home two days a week in a more energy efficient building – my home. This also helps lower my impact. The main benefit, however, is personal rather than environmental and I think this makes me work harder to achieve more sustainable council services and lifestyles for employees and residents in the Falkirk Council area.

Do you feel supported to work flexibly? I’ve only ever had support from management; I don’t think it would work as effectively if there wasn’t a relationship of trust between both parties. I also have a very strict working policy that I personally employ to ensure that I am available when needed, and there is give and take in terms of switching the days I work from home. I truly believe having the ability to work from home lowers stress, makes better use of people’s time and increases productivity.

Boosting green credentials

But working from home isn't the only way we can help combat climate change, we can also follow the simple actions in our employee green charter to make Falkirk a greener place to live.