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With many parts of the world taking their first steps to recover from the COVID-19 lockdowns, the discussion has shifted to what kind of world we will return to, what limitations will govern our behaviors and interactions in the future, and what effects they will have on all aspects of our lives.
The business world has already experienced major disruption and disruption as a result of the virus. Many companies and organizations were forced to go out of business entirely, but others were able to continue trading, albeit in a more limited way, by shifting employees from office-based work to remote work.
While some organizations had already embarked on a migration to remote work before COVID-19 emerged, many others had to make the change much more drastically when the lockdown went into effect. It is very likely that this change, for the most part, will become permanent for many companies.
This change in work practice has significant implications for companies and organizations in terms of the computing hardware they implement. For many years, the desktop computer was the standard PC for many workers, but now there has been a shift towards mobile devices, such as laptops, along with the addition of tablets and smartphones.
The effects of COVID-19 have accelerated the trend towards remote working, but that does not mean that the PC is dead, but that its role is diminishing.
Desktop PC and the remote work conundrum
The rise in remote work and the associated rise in mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) has significant implications for how organizations acquire, manage, and dispose of Information Technology (IT) assets.
In its most basic form, companies are moving from a model in which most workers were based in the same space, mainly using static IT devices, to an environment in which employees are dispersed in different locations and They use mobile devices.
This dispersed model is inherently more complex than the traditional office-based work environment. It requires a change in mindset on the part of business leaders and CIOs in terms of how they view IT assets that are now increasingly remote. The logistics involved for organizations to support large remote workforces is more complicated than for an office-based workforce.
With changes so profound taking effect against a backdrop of unprecedented disruption due to COVID-19, business leaders and CIOs might think they can be forgiven for not focusing attention on sustainable IT management. But I think now is the time to act: companies should lead the way to change.
By changing the way companies acquire, use and dispose of technology, they can start to have a significant impact on reducing the amount of corporate electronic waste (electronic waste) that accumulates in landfills in Europe and the world.
Critics will say that surviving the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 lockdown and navigating a plausible path into the future should take priority, and sustainability is a fringe issue that needs to be addressed after the recovery is complete. But this is precisely the time when shifting your focus to a sustainable future could be most beneficial.
Growing concerns about corporate e-waste
By 2040, carbon emissions from the production and use of electronic products, including devices such as PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablets will reach 14% of total emissions. E-waste is equivalent to 44.7 million metric tons per year, and it is still increasing.
To try to illustrate the scale of the problem, the UN Global Electronic Waste Monitor estimates that e-waste will grow by 14 Eiffel Towers every day by 2021. It is one of the fastest growing and least considered problems for our environment. .
While most companies will need to upgrade and dispose of IT assets, many are unsure how best to do this and what the beneficial effects of reusing that equipment might be. However, the opportunity is huge and it is crucial that we foster a growing awareness of a better and greener way to consume technology. Many years have passed since the European Union introduced WEEE directives to improve the way we handle electronic waste, but electronic recycling rates in Europe are below 40% and reuse rates are below 5%.
Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done and it must start with businesses, which are responsible for a large proportion of society's IT consumption.
Consider how much of those 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste per year could be reused by a different organization or individual, and the positive environmental effects that reuse can have.