March 8, 2011
Regarding ‘‘Smart work’ could be key to green growth‘:
I am rather puzzled with the concept of ‘smart work’ being green.
I must admit I would like flexible working hours and an office right next to my home. I guess that teleworking, if correctly arranged, would do that, although it is true (as rightly pointed out by your article) that not everyone has a spare room in the house or so-called working tranquility (no distractions).
However, I fail to understand how this is green. Is it only based on the fact that you do not commute anymore? Well that is not enough.
Here are a few examples:
1) I go to the office 2 or 3 out of 5 days. Well, that means the company and yourself are actually paying to keep two offices running rather than one, in terms of heating, cooling, electricity for lighting, etc. You are actually consuming double compared to before.
2) Computers and the Internet: we all know that it’s not about your personal computer nowadays, rather it’s about the network and the servers to which you connect with your online portal, called a laptop. The servers of the company to which you are connecting cannot just be switched off because you are not coming in on a Friday or a Tuesday. They will always be on, as will all the new ‘smart centre’ servers mentioned in the article, which means double the use of electricity and cooling for server systems. And this can also be scaled to telephone and Wifi, etc, which are all doubled or trippled to make sure you are connected. All these systems use electricity, so consumption will actually increase.
So unless you close your office and only use smart centres, you are actually increasing your company’s energy requirements.
In the Netherlands, many people go to work by bicycle: this is not only ‘green’ but healthy. So how does ‘smart work’ save on fuel in that country?
Again, I am not against the idea. It really has many positive sides: one, for example, is house pricing, although teleworking already achieves that.
Before saying that ‘smart work’ is green, we need to be given a better reason than private or public transport savings.
Private citizenAuthor : Letters to the EurActiv editor