For years, we've been singing the praises of virtual teams for their ability to bring together differing perspectives, amass greater intelligence, and gain the benefit of more human diversity--then wrap it all together in a world where the sun never sets. Nice stuff.
Along the way, people have also been pointing out that working at a distance is less expensive, less stressful, and more environmentally friendly.
Now comes the news that HarperCollins UK, a Rupert Murdoch company,"has claimed it is the first major trade publisher in the UK to become carbon neutral, after reducing its carbon footprint by 8% over the past year and investing in carbon offsetting." According to The Bookseller.com, "After focusing on reducing its electricity and gas consumption, cutting business air travel and curbing fleet mileage, its carbon footprint dropped..."
Thus, let me introduce the idea of "carbon neutral" or perhaps better, "green teams." When we talk about "individual" efforts to reduce emissions, perhaps we can also consider "team" efforts. OK, we already have such teams--in our beloved city of Newton, Massachusetts, anyway--that "team up" every spring to remove detritus from the banks of the storied Charles River. Thousands of other communities are doing the same.
But what about making our at-work teams carbon neutral? Instead of that next in-person meeting, whether a few miles away or a few thousand, how about meeting online? How about developing a checklist for why you need to get together face-to-face, then rating each upcoming event? Unless you exceed a certain threshold, you stay put.
I'm not saying we should never have conferences or team get-togethers or anything like that. But consider this: tomorrow morning, we will have an important meeting where we go over some fundamental ideas with a client, or I should say, a client and a potential client. We will be here in West Newton; another will be in Boston; and the third? Bangalore, India. Carbon neutral, all the way.