With the advent of cloud computing, advancing mobile technology, and the overwhelming majority of products and services being made available through digital means, the ability to switch to a completely virtual plane of business operations has never been more possible. Needless to say, dumping a real-world office and everything that goes along with it will undoubtedly lead to greener business practices. Cars will spend less time on the road, paper won’t be printed as much, and a fraction of the energy will be consumed, to say the least.
But does that mean you never have to spend another moment worrying about making sure your virtual business is eco-friendly and energy-efficient? Hardly. Here are the areas in which even a virtual office could use some helping with going greener:
Keeping technology energy efficient: A virtual business runs solely on computers – which suck energy out of outlets. Make sure the computers that make up your virtual office are operating to the tune of the most energy-efficient settings available. In addition, make a habit of always unplugging chargers when you’re done powering up your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, as these things continue to use power even if no device is hooked into them.
Encouraging others: The simple truth is that your big decision to convert to a virtual office is by itself a relatively meaningless gesture as far as an actual impact on the environment is concerned. You have to make yourself an example for which others can follow. While nobody needs to be preached to, and even less people like a bragger, don’t hesitate to reveal to others that you’ve achieved success at the expense of traditional office space and that they can do it too if they wanted.
Working daylight hours: Maybe part of your virtual office plan was due to the fact that you’re a night owl and want the freedom to work whenever you wish. Be that as it may, working during the day means you’ll be less dependent on artificial lighting, which will undoubtedly result in less energy being used.
Planting a garden: As far as superficialities are concerned, nothing is greener than a garden. But if you’re to be working from home, reduce your dependence on trucked-in food sources as much as possible by growing your own fruits and veggies.
Researching data centers: If you run a large virtual business, than chances are you’ll be using data centers or at least conducting business with tech companies who ultimately derive their capabilities from the existence of data centers. Do the research to ensure that the tech companies you work with aren’t themselves harming the environment. Whether through solar panels or reduced emissions, take your time to make sure the enterprises you rely on take energy efficiency and eco-friendliness as seriously as you do.
Is the virtual office the end-all-be-all of a green business? Not really. There’s plenty more to do. In fact, the best green business policy is one in which the work to be more energy efficient and eco-friendly is never done.