LOS ANGELES—In yesterday’s blog, we looked at some of the results from the biggest flexible working initiative ever. To review, London-based wireless carrier O2 asked 12,000 employees to work from virtual offices one day in February.

On Wednesday, we looked at how this alternative workplace strategy, even though temporary, saved time and increased productivity. But the results of the flexible working initiative also include a sustainability story. Let’s take a look at how alternative workplace strategies can help the environment:

  • 12% reduction in electricity consumption

  • 53% decrease in water usage

  • 12.2 tons of CO2 emissions were saved

Perhaps inevitably, the sustainability issue around flexible working is more complicated than it might at first appear. Paradoxically, for example, gas usage in the building increased slightly, probably due to the loss of body heat in the building.

Virtual offices are green offices. That’s really the bottom line. If O2 didn’t have such a large building, gas usage in the facility would not have been an issue. And although employees do use more energy at home when working from a virtual office, it doesn’t ultimately compare to the overall costs associated with operating a larger building.

Now that we’ve explored the productivity and sustainable aspects of virtual offices, be sure to come back tomorrow for the final installment in this series. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the technology tale of virtual office space and flexible working.