editione1.0.2Updated September 6, 2022
You’re reading an excerpt of The Holloway Guide to Remote Work, a book by Katie Wilde, Juan Pablo Buriticá, and over 50 other contributors. It is the most comprehensive resource on building, managing, and adapting to working with distributed teams. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, 800 links and references, a library of tools for remote-friendly work, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
The increasing rate of natural disasters around the world have forced many companies and local governments to consider remote work as part of their disaster and emergency plans. U.S. events like Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Harvey, or the 2018 California wildfires kept thousands of people from going into work, and disrupted business operations for a large number of companies. During a severe East Coast snow storm in 2010, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management originally estimated the shutdown would cost $100M per day in lost productivity. They later revised the number to $71M per day to reflect the fact that their teleworkers (remote workers) were still able to work.* Companies that already support remote work are at an advantage, as they don’t need a separate set of policies, technology, and equipment for when people suddenly have to work somewhere other than the office.
importantRemote work can help in localized, non-life-threatening situations. Of course, in the event of larger incidents that threaten people’s safety, companies will want to ensure that no one is put in danger in the name of business continuity. It also raises the reality that individuals may be impacted locally themselves when the rest of the company is not. While companies may not necessarily have full-blown disaster and emergency response plans and protocols for remote workers, it’s wise to ensure remote employees know what steps to take, including whom to contact at the company, when a disaster or emergency happens.
Early forays into remote work in the 1970s emerged in direct response to growing gridlock and concerns over fossil fuel consumption.* More recent studies have turned up some very convincing data when it comes to remote work reducing daily commutes, which has a positive environmental impact. FlexJobs reports on a host of positive outcomes, including:*
7.8B car miles not driven
530M trips avoided