Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Keeping in Touch
’ve worked in three organisations where the headquarters have been in Bristol, while I’ve been in Edinburgh. This made keeping in touch with the rest of my team challenging! Phone calls and emails can keep in touch to a point but team meetings are really helpful for people to get to know each other and discuss work.
Travelling between Edinburgh and Bristol takes a long time and leaves a big carbon footprint. Two of the organisations I worked with actively encouraged rail travel (and I happily took the train!), but that takes about eight hours between Edinburgh and Bristol! Although taking the train to London actually doesn’t take that much longer than flying (when you take into account airport bus journeys and all the hanging about in the airport) with Bristol you do save time by flying. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the train and would always encourage colleagues to take the train too, but I can see the argument that a hard pressed organisation might want to save the additional time and cost of the train journey.
It’s vital to meet face to face at least sometimes, but how can you reduce the number of journeys that you make?
I’ve been involved in video conferences, but being the one person in the Edinburgh office faced with eleven people in the Bristol office can make it difficult to properly participate in the meeting, specially if you’re the kind of person who likes to think before making your contribution. I’ve also been involved in telephone conferences with all participants being in different offices, those have worked better, because no-one can see anyone else and so everyone is in the same boat and needing to think carefully about how to include everyone in the discussions. There’s Skype too of course, which is good because it needs minimal equipment and is free. I’ve only ever used Skype in an internet cafe though, which didn’t lead to the most positive atmosphere for a meeting!
If you work in an organisation that is based in widespread offices, how do you manage to reduce the carbon footprints of your meetings?