(CBS NEWSPATH) – The UK company Tyler Grange is helping other corporations protect the planet. But even that can be a dirty business because employees often burn fuel traveling to different job sites. “Our main environmental impact is around CO2 emissions and driving cars,” says Tyler Grange Managing Director Simon Ursell.
Ursell says shortening the work week from five to just four days seemed like a better way to nurture nature. “We noticed there was a 21% reduction in miles traveled,” says Ursell who notes that employees typically drive tens of thousands of miles a year. “That’s a heck of a lot of reduction in CO2 emissions and emissions from vehicles, rubber emissions from your tires, maintenance.”
Last year, the company joined the world’s largest four-day workweek study, and the benefits kept adding up. Most participating businesses found it was a better way to work, while employees saw their mental health improve.
Now scientists say dropping one work day is also better for the environment. “When countries have higher hours of work, they tend to have higher carbon emissions,” says Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College. “And when they have lower hours of work their carbon emissions are lower.”
Researchers found commuting times in the U.S. dropped 27 percent. Professor Schor says the reduced hours are not a cure for climate change but can be part of the solution. “If large numbers of people move onto four-day schedules, I think we can expect a pretty significant carbon reduction from that first and foremost is commuting,” she says.
Employees also noticed savings. “It affects the wear and tear in your vehicle and the cost of fuel to drive in and out of work,” says Tyler Grange employee, Helen Brittain.
What was good for the environment was also better for business. “Our clients are saving a lot of money, that’s for sure because we tend to do some miles for work and we would charge the client for those miles,” says Ursell.
And that savings from shifting to a four-day workweek have made his company more competitive. “We did more in four days than we did in five,” says Ursell pointing to a six percent increase in productivity. “So, if you can’t answer the question of why you’re not shifting to a four-day work week, you’re on borrowed time, because the world is changing rapidly,” he says.