Saving Money and the Planet with Unified Communications

There is no question that Unified Communications solutions are good for business. But it’s often understated that UC solutions can have a great impact on the environment too. UC tools are all about connecting people and making their lives as easy as possible through smart deployment of technology.

Consider the following two aspects and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Virtual Meetings Do Pay Off

With the power of UC solutions to unite business partners around the globe at a moment’s notice, in many cases in-person meetings are no longer the necessity they once were. Rather than having international business partners travel to a specific location to negotiate, consuming a lot of resources and time in the process, partners can now call from anywhere they are, with the same personalized, seamless interactions they would have in real life. Add to that the recording capabilities of the best UC software, and you will get an even more powerful means of following up on meetings.

According to the Economist Intelligent Unit’s report on the emerging role of ICT in Managing the Company’s Carbon Footprint, “the attraction of conferencing as a CO2 reduction tool is increased because it is easily measurable in terms of the resulting reduction in air or car miles following its adoption. In terms of an internal environmental audit, this makes conferencing an attractive technology compared to other initiatives which may not deliver such direct benefits.”

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

With the help of Unified Communications features such as conferencing and instant messaging, collaboration is immediate and effective. At the same time, travel expenses for employees are significantly reduced, since UC allows them to work remotely instead of commuting. According to the Telework Research Network, “even just one day of telecommuting could save 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas – the equivalent of taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year.”

So, any tool that can make your business more efficient is worth another look. But what if there was a tool that can accomplish that goal while saving your company time and money and preserving the environment at the same time?

Less Commuting Means More Productivity

Because cloud-based UC tools are so comprehensive today and allow employees access to the communications resources they would have at the office, they are making telecommuting just as effective as driving in to the office. And in some cases, UC tools are making telecommuting employees more productive, as those employees don’t have to spend a good chunk of their days driving to and from the office, but focus instead on work-related tasks during that time. By diminishing a need for costly commutes, UC tools greatly reduce greenhouse emissions and noise pollution.

The winter of 2014 was a snowy one and, by March, federal government buildings in Washington, D.C. closed four times due to inclement weather. Thanks to telecommuting, the government saved $32 million over those four days, according to figures released by Global Workplace Analytics and Telework Research Network. If all federal employees who were eligible to telecommute had done so during those four days, the research suggests the government could have saved $68 million more over that period.

Recent research indicates that 78% of Americans drive to work alone. According to Sustainability Consulting, the average solo commuter is responsible for 0.7095 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions for each mile driven to work. The U.S. Census Bureau says the average commute for each employee is 25 minutes each way, so if we assume an average speed of 40 miles per hour during those commutes, that’s a total of 33.3 miles driven each day by each employee, resulting in 23.65 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Over the course of an entire working year, that comes out to about 5,500 pounds per employee.

How many employees do you have? If you want to learn what benefits a company may have, besides taking care of the environment, check out this infographic.

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