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The social impact of working from home #stayhomesavelives

Stay home, save lives

In these exceptional times we’re seeing many an infographic and explainer relating to Covid-19, as we all become way too familiar with daily graphs from Public Health England, and the elusive R factor which has claimed a central role in our hankering for a relaxation of current restrictions.

Within this field, if you’re interested in such things, you’ll likely be familiar with many a mathematical model of how the small actions of individuals play their part in the pandemic.

Even then it can be difficult to comprehend the difference you can make as a person, never mind Hart Square as an organisation of 21 people and all the activity which occurs as a consequence of our day to day work. As a modestly sized consultancy, we’re a drop in the ocean, right? Well, maybe not..

The tech

Manchester based Reason Digital has created a Social Impact tool to understand one of the most significant Covid induced behaviour changes – the great swathes of the nation working from home. By feeding in a few basic details the tool can calculate the social, environmental and health impact of your organisation working from home.

This is no facebook style random number generator, however simple this looks on the surface. The mathematics and data behind social impact modeling are robust and often mind bogglingly clever.

So what does it tell us..

At time of writing (Friday April 24th) if we take Monday 16th March as the day we started working from home our 21 staff have been doing so for 28 days. Plugging that into the tool we start to see the impact.

Environmentally it’s nothing but good news – we’ve saved the equivalent of 681Kg of Carbon Dioxide which is the same as planting 31 trees.

We reap the benefits too – £4,580 saved in travel costs and 568 hours of commuting time.

Invent me a tool to find where all that spare time has gone and I’ll be seriously impressed.

Socially it’s more of a mixed bag – as we are in theory more productive at home we should have gained 98 hours of additional productivity and if the opportunities for additional exercise are taken (!), we could have done 245 hours.

But here’s the number to put to what we are all experiencing – the social isolation of not sharing a space with colleagues and clients has caused us to lose 362 hours of social interactions through our work.

The big one..

It’s the final set of numbers which gives the greatest pause for thought.

By working from home we have prevented 3,480 Covid-19 cases and potentially saved 49 lives.

And that’s as it is now – extend that to the not unrealistic date of 1st June and that becomes an eye watering 240,347 prevented cases and 3,365 lives saved..

There are undoubted challenges with this enforced way of working, back to back to back virtual meetings, eroding work/life hygiene, unannounced ‘special guests’ breaking into your working space and of course the absence of those small but important in person interactions that we maybe took for granted.

However, the next time that starts to grate, just plumb the latest numbers into the tool, take a moment, and move on..

 

We are in this together and together we are literally saving lives

 

The Social Impact Calculator is available at https://impactreporting.co.uk/covid19-wfh-benefits-calculator