Charting the path towards carbon neutrality for the future of work | HCL Technologies

Charting the path towards carbon neutrality for the future of work

Charting the path towards carbon neutrality for the future of work
April 11, 2022

Introduction

Decarbonization is a critical transition affecting all businesses in reshaping the foundations of the world’s energy sources. A key driver of this transition is public policy, and the two pillars transforming the energy landscape are decentralization and digitization. Technological developments are helping to overcome some of the challenges of decarbonization such as reducing carbon emissions, and are expanding the opportunities for optimization of new business models. Digital solutions and the growing influence of new-age carbon neutrality technologies, and their applications in the workplace present a golden opportunity for an aspirational net-zero standard.

Charting the path towards carbon neutrality for the future of work

Decarbonization: A digitization opportunity

The implementation of new policies also brings with them a set of new challenges such as increased operating costs, energy costs and compliance costs. Action must be taken to reduce exposure to these potential risks. Decarbonization not only creates opportunities beyond risk avoidance and long-term financial savings, but is also driven in its foundations by societal concerns of reducing carbon emissions. Achieving carbon goals can present an opportunity for customer preference, especially as the importance of environmentalism in society increases going forward.

As enterprises continue to build towards their net-zero journeys, workplace solutions need to be technologically proficient and flexible to keep pace with the evolving standards of a growing hybrid workforce. The hybrid future of work has the potential to transform traditional processes and standards for a sustainable and eco-friendly enterprise. The stage is set for forward thinking organizations to revamp and reorganize business-critical processes with a decarbonized future mindset. This is where digital decarbonization workplace solutions can augment your enterprise’s efforts to fast-track the road to net zero.

Across any business operations, end-point devices and per-employee power consumption are prioritized for improving sustainability. Device-as-a-service, or DaaS, can help regulate the overall power usage of these devices on an enterprise-level, and ensure measures to create a more eco-efficient, cradle-to-grave lifecycle of devices.

This includes manufacturing provisions for recycling and repairing instead of replacing old and inefficient devices. Beyond physical devices, alternatives to common enterprise applications that are more energy-efficient are also coming into focus. For instance, MS teams consume lesser energy in comparison to their competitors. This is based on the application infrastructure on the back end that can be scaled to an enterprise level, and is not influenced by personnel factors.

Expanding into physical workspaces, energy consumption metrics need to be tailored to measure per desk consumption across dynamic environments within the physical office. This includes environmental factors such as ventilation, lighting, external climate, and other elements that affect energy consumption. Optimizing the new hybrid work model by empowering employees to choose the right workspace and leveraging desk booking or rotation, we can create eco-efficient workspaces with better software and devices.

The next step for our digital decarbonization effort will look into physical and virtual collaborations for the hybrid workplace. Virtual collaborations, including unified communication platforms and virtual workspaces for remote workers will majorly affect hybrid working and positively reduce the energy consumption of physical workspaces. Enterprise-sponsored transportation for employees can be made eco-efficient with a revamp to a fleet of electric vehicles, an increasing trend in major public and private transport providers. Gamification can encourage the usage of these vehicles with rewards and recognitions for employees’ contributions towards the net-zero effort

The importance of CO₂ emissions within policy initiatives is increasing. Although the future of policy interventions and their extent is difficult to forecast, it is hard to envision policy-driven pressure to relax in the future. Therefore, an early move towards decarbonization presents an opportunity for “future-proofing” businesses. Strategies will differ from business to business, but actions on all fronts need to come together for a coherent roadmap towards the net-zero future of work. For this purpose, it can help prioritize the right actions across the business, embrace the digitization of workplace activities, and establish standards for the net-zero future of work.

The only way forward

Reducing emissions will not be a simple task as there are a wide variety of actions and routes that lead to decarbonization, and differ from business to business. The first step for companies should be to carve out a long-term energy strategy. However, the success of any strategy will depend on a clear vision and strong commitment from the business.

The imperative for a net-zero future of work creates an urgency for businesses to act. Many companies the world over have begun to implement their decarbonization strategies. It is a necessary endeavor, and one in which we need to succeed. Fortunately, decarbonization and a net-zero future of work are more technically and financially feasible now than ever before.