Travel costs, carbon footprint make telepresence a necessity


Businesses looking to reduce travel costs and minimize their carbon footprint may want to consider adopting telepresence meeting options such as videoconferencing and unified communication tools. According to a recent study by University of Alberta researcher Emily Huddart-Kennedy, frequent flyers contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, organizations interested in cutting their carbon output should look to adopt new conferencing tools – a solution with the added benefit of reducing travel costs and avoiding lost work time.


Huddart-Kennedy’s research found that the volume of greenhouse gas emissions from just the flights of the top bracket of frequent flyers was triple the amount of the entire household and driving emissions of the average middle class home, according to the Edmonton Journal. As a result, these “extreme emitters” are undermining many common conservation efforts. While great attention is paid to policies like encouraging recycling, for instance, these programs have a relatively small effect on overall emissions, Huddart-Kennedy noted.


“That’s why it makes sense to focus on reducing business travel,” she told the Edmonton Journal, recommending that local governments consider policies that reward reductions in business travel and encourage the use of technology such as videoconferencing.


The advantage of videoconferencing over travel

Not only does videoconferencing help companies reduce their carbon footprints by eliminating travel, it can also help them save money and improve collaboration as the workforce becomes more geographically distributed. A recent Australia Business Review article noted that travelling can be expensive, take a toll on families and cause employees to lose work time while they’re in the air or at the airport. Additionally, businesses often try to cut costs by booking cheap redeye flights, depriving employees of sleep and further impacting productivity. In contrast, telepresence technologies enable effortless sharing, save money and allow workers to maintain daily rhythms instead of disrupting their lives with travel.


“If you have a team or clients around the world, it’s not likely that everyone can make the meeting,” contributor Peter Walters explained. “Teleconferencing bridges the physical gap with a computer or phone line. Share documents or slides effortlessly to everyone across screens for webinars, trainings, or briefings.”


By adopting policies to cut travel by switching to videoconferencing and other unified communication and collaboration tools, businesses can not only reduce their carbon footprint, but also lower costs, boost productivity and improve employee satisfaction. Working with a managed IT services provider, organizations can adopt a communication and telepresence solution that works seamlessly with existing systems and offers long-lasting advantages for addressing their specific business needs.