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Ifo Institute points out: Home office could damage the climate in the long term

Ifo Institute gives cause for concern
Working from home could damage the climate in the long term

Despite the waning corona pandemic, working from home is still in demand. Even if working from home saves the journey to the office, according to the Ifo Institute, this does not necessarily have to be good for the climate.

Although working from home saves the journey to the office or factory, according to the Ifo Institute, it can still increase CO2 emissions. “In the short term, people go to work less often and CO2 emissions fall temporarily,” said Ifo researcher Waldemar Marz. “In the long term, however, they will move further away from the expensive inner cities and accept longer commuting distances.” In addition, the incentive to buy more economical vehicles decreases if more work is done in the home office. “These two adaptation processes offset the initial CO2 reduction by about 90 percent,” said Marz.

“If you also take into account higher building emissions with larger living space and lower passenger numbers in local public transport, the often hoped-for reduction in CO2 emissions through more home office days turns into an increase in the long term.” The climate problem has a very long time horizon. Therefore, the long-term view is particularly important.

The model calculations are based on data from the USA. “However, the results can also be transferred to Europe, since most differences such as per capita income, vehicle preferences or building land prices have a small influence on the predominantly percentage results,” said Marz.

Mandatory home office regulations abolished

Working from home remains in demand despite the waning corona pandemic. The proportion of German employees who worked at least partly from home was 24.9 percent in April, as determined by the Ifo Institute in its company survey. In March it was 27.6 percent.

On March 20, all severe corona restrictions were abolished, including mandatory home office regulations intended to slow down the corona pandemic. Around one in six employees does not want to go back to the office even after the obligation has expired, according to a representative Forsa survey commissioned by the Xing platform.

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