Sustainability is one of the most important goals for individuals and businesses around the world. If you’re working from home, you’re already on the right track to a sustainable workplace. If you aren’t working from home but plan to do so soon, here are ways you can improve your remote work’s eco-friendliness.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Due to the coronavirus, you may now be working from home. Many people, though, do so normally and may continue after the pandemic passes. Whichever group you fall into, telecommuting itself is a sustainable choice.
Transportation causes 28% of greenhouse gas emissions. This sector includes anything from planes to ships to trains to passenger vehicles. Commuting to and from work every day is a main culprit of this 28%.
When you work from home, you no longer need to commute long distances, which saves you money and time. It protects the environment from harmful emissions, as well.
Use Lighting to Your Advantage
When you work in an office, you might not realize that all the little things add up. Lighting, for instance, is one of those smaller details that can impact your sustainability.
First, you should opt for natural lighting whenever possible. If you set up your workstation where there’s a lot of natural light, you won’t need to use artificial lighting as much.
Certain lightbulbs like LEDs or compact fluorescent lights are sustainable options for when you do need artificial lighting. In fact, they typically use 25-80% less energy than incandescent bulbs — a statistic that saves you money.
Buy the Right Materials
If you’re just starting your work-from-home adventure, you’ll need to invest in some sustainable necessities. Likewise, if you’ve been working from home for a while now, you can still do the same.
Invest in electronics that have EPEAT or ENERGY STAR certifications to ensure eco-friendliness. When you see these certifications, you can trust they meet certain standards that help sustainability.
Elsewhere, you can invest in recycled supplies that use nontoxic materials. Desks, chairs, stationery and writing tools are beneficial options to buy. When you dispose of these materials, they are more likely to biodegrade and not leach harmful toxins into the ground or water supply.
Since working from home can be distracting, too, you might want to look into tools and tips for soundproofing your workspace. Reducing distractions while working from home will help you keep the same levels of productivity you’d have if you were in the office.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your energy bill may have you scratching your head. Luckily, sustainable solutions can help you reduce your bill and improve upon your work-from-home energy consumption.
Home office electronics are one of the main energy vampires — something that sucks energy without you knowing. This drainage occurs when you leave things plugged in. Therefore, the solution is simply to unplug them when not in use. Additionally, you can make sure your devices have a sleep mode. Then, you can take it a step further and invest in energy-saving power strips or outlets.
When you buy used, too, you are keeping the chain of technology recycling going. This act prevents e-waste and saves money.
If you are going to buy notebooks and other paper-based products, you should make sure they’re recycled. However, if you can avoid those purchases, going paperless is a sustainable option.
Americans use about 85 million tons of paper per year, which averages out to roughly 680 pounds per person. When you go paperless, you are saving hundreds of pounds of paper and also preserving trees.
Technology has proved that it is a reliable way to create, store and share documents and information. Something like Google Docs can act as your company’s knowledge base so you never have to use paper. For instance, billing and transferring documents can now be done completely online.
The Little Things
Things like LED lightbulbs or energy-saving outlets add up. However, remember that other small details can also help work-from-home sustainability. Being eco-friendly is about fostering a better connection between you, your workspace and the environment. Something like buying plants for your office can improve air quality and breathability. Small tweaks can make a big difference and improve your telecommuting experience.