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Dell emissions decrease from Connected Workplace

How Dell Saved $39.5 Million, Cut Carbon Pollution via Telecommuting

Dell emissions decrease from Connected WorkplaceAllowing US employees to telecommute has saved Dell $39.5 million and avoided an estimated 25 million kWh of energy and 13,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions since fiscal year 2014.

According to a report published this week, The Sustainability Benefits of the Connected Workplace, working remotely results in more than pajama-clad employees. It also has environmental and cost-savings benefits that can be replicated at other companies across the US.

“When a company is considering a work-from-home program or telecommuting or remote work, sustainability is probably not the primary reason why,” said report author John Pflueger, Dell corporate responsibility, principal environmental strategies, in an interview. “The primary reasons are issues related more to work-life balance and being the sort of employer that the 21st-century employee has come to expect. But we found sustainability-related benefits are an important side effect.”

The report follows a 2014 study that found Dell avoided 6,700 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saved $12 million in 2013 through its Connected Workplace program.

In its June 2016 study, Dell looked at emissions decreases (see chart) due to reduced vehicle use and facility energy use, emissions increases due to “rebound effects” such as increased home electricity use during the day, and emissions increases due to IT footprint. The study found Dell work-from-home programs mitigate about 1.15 metric tons of CO2e per employee per year. Most of the decrease comes from employee GHG emissions with a smaller percentage attributable to Dell GHG emissions.

As part of Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan, the company’s corporate responsibility program, it plans to enable half of its workforce to take advantage of flexible work arrangements by 2020. Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan has also set a goal to reduce GHG emissions from facilities and logistics operations by 50 percent by 2020, among other environmental goals.

For fiscal year 2015, Dell reported that one of every four of eligible employees was enrolled in its Connected Workplace program.

The average Dell employee works remotely 9.7 times per month, which is higher than the US average of 2.3 per month. This saves employees and the company money: more than $12 million in fuel costs per year, or about $350 per employee.

The Connected Workplace program also allows Dell to avoid 136 million miles of travel per year and more than 35,000 metric tons of CO2e annually. “Our employees will avoid a little over 1 metric ton per employee per year by working remotely,” Pflueger said — and that’s even considering rebound effects. “Those numbers seem to be borne out fairly well when you look at other studies that look at the state of work form home across the US.”

Plus it’s a selling point for millennials, Dell says. At the close of FY16, Dell’s university hiring represented 32 percent of all external hires, up from 24 percent in FY15.

It also gives Dell more hiring options. “It’s about finding the best employees for your company,” Pflueger said. “This means we don’t have to be limited to the folks who live in Austin. We can really work on making sure we’re finding the best people.”

While the benefits within Dell are apparent, they could be even greater when scaled up across the US, the report says.

While the impact within Dell is significant, the benefits are even more impressive when scaled across the US. At the current average of telecommuting 2.3 times per month, the US workforce currently avoids 2.7 billion round-trips per year, according to Gallup data. This equals a reduction in commuting footprint of 30 million metric tons CO2e of per year — and could be an even larger savings if increased to Dell’s average of 9.7 times per month.

Pflueger realizes that working from home doesn’t work for all companies. But it could be an added cost-savings and sustainability tool for many.

“It works for us,” he said. “Every company is going to have to consider its own situation and its own needs. But this is a viable option that is going to be available to a lot of employers and a lot of employees and it’s working very well for us. We’re pleased with the flexibility it offers our employ and the positive consequences it has on carbon emissions.”

Don’t miss our Environmental Leader 2016 Conference in June.

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4 thoughts on “How Dell Saved $39.5 Million, Cut Carbon Pollution via Telecommuting

  1. Hi….this report doesn’t sound at all convincing to me….as transport is one of the lower savings in WHSE I seriously doubt the mode and the savings. The same “??”goes for recycling/composting paper which unless shredded will end up as anaerobic challenge. My queries are not from Dell being developed in a nation of pathological liars concerning its purportedly 1948 (in fact 1934) origins, and utterly immoral in government and commerce performing relentless genocide on the real owners of Canaan but because what’s written in the environmental leader report here doesn’t add up at all to me…It’s all so very general “ooooohhh-ahhhhhh isn’t Dell a good boy, advertising” and very short on reality. That Pfleuger /Dell regards sustainability as a ‘good side effect’ of saving corporate money to me looks as though they really don’t give any more of a toss about the rest of us than Israel does about Palestinians/Canaanites. In other words…it was the money they wanted, not a cleaner environment but someone decided to promenade these “estimations” . The more I read the information and it’s doubled paragraph the more convinced I am that Dell is bullshxxxing, simply manufacturing fantasies …one in four for example it says opt for the home workplace then extrapolates that into and entirety. It also ignores that the electricity it saves is at least used at the workers homes in the ‘home option’. Pfleuger then distracts us all by Dell promenading itself as a ‘good example’ to America….well Dell….let’s have some complete accounting by some genuinely committed climate change / environmentalists with no connections to you but recognised as honest…..that’s probably about as numerous as Lott’s wife but there are real environmental scientists without their hands out for cash to the highest bidder or the most amoral companies or politics and perhaps even John Pilger could have a look at Dell’s claims….he’s a fan of truth.

  2. As someone who benefits from Dell’s great telework policies, I was really excited to see the results of this study. I’m hopeful that others can use it to justify a better work environment for employees everywhere. I’ve spoken about the study with people from NGOs, other companies and even state agencies. When you have a win-win-win situation, you need to find a way to make it work.

  3. As a a UK based Dell employee I welcome the work from home policy. Aside from saving me a near 2 hour commute each way around one of the busiest pieces of road in Europe, it also makes it easier to achieve a better work/life balance. Rather than 4 hours sat in a car, I can use my time more productively. It also means a massive reduction in stress. Which I suspect that the family also appreciate. It also allows day time appointments for things like Doctors and Dentist by doing some flexible working.

  4. As someone who has had a terrible experience with Dell’s customer service department this past week, I have to wonder if this policy is ineffective. Although, I highly doubt that their customer service department is based in the US. Take a moment to read the customer comments on their Facebook page. Dell seems to be going downhill quickly!

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