COVID-19 has undeniably transformed everything, including work—more people are working from home than ever before. As time progresses, it's becoming clear that working remotely will be here to stay for many individuals, so it's time to adjust to your home office for a while. Many of the sustainable environmental initiatives that larger companies established to help limit their negative environmental effects may become outdated as the standard office becomes obsolete. Still, the impact will not go away—it will simply be relocated to home offices and workspaces and become the individual's responsibility.
Going green is not a new idea. The discourse over global warming is vast, varied, and, at instances, contentious and prone to skepticism. With more of us becoming more environmentally aware, how can we be more sustainable when working at home? When you work remotely without commuting, it may appear that we have checked the eco box. However, there are numerous other aspects to consider, ranging from the energy you consume to the materials you purchase and the behaviors you follow on a daily.
You are responsible for minimizing your carbon footprint both during and after work hours. What was decided at the organizational level has now been devolved to you.
Employers do not have to pay to heat, air condition, light, or power their employees' homes. Neither do they have to buy groceries, manage garbage, or implement recycling programs: Every one of those office components is an issue for employees who work from home. That doesn't imply green office measures have to go away:
It's time to start talking about how to make your home office environmentally friendly.
There are multiple ways you could do to make your home office green, either you're worried about the potential electricity costs or the influence you're having on the environment. Here are some eco-friendly tips for home office employees.
Control Energy Consumption
A home office is full of energy-consuming devices: computers, printers, shredders, lights, devices, and more are all slurping up power even if not in use. With a home workspace surrounded by technology, your power bill and impact on the environment can quickly skyrocket, so make sure you know the following:
- When not in use, turn off devices.
- Rather than relying on ceiling lights, use a desk lamp with a low-wattage LED battery.
- Laptops use far less electricity than desktop computers.
- Activate energy-saving functionalities on computers, monitors, and other devices that support them.
- Remove unnecessary devices such as home office space heaters, mini-fridge, window AC units, and unnecessary lights.
- Think about the light intensity of your screen. A screen that is too bright not only strains the eyes but also consumes more energy.
- Pots for your morning cup of coffee or tea use a lot of electricity, especially if you only make one cup at a time. By filling the kettle with your mug instead of the tap, you can assess however much water you need, shorten the boiling time and reduce your energy consumption.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
When selecting a space for your home office, try to choose a location in your home that obtains lots of natural light. This reduces the need for artificial lighting while working throughout the day. Numerous researchers have discovered that natural light increases productivity in the workplace. Increased exposure to natural sunlight could also make you happier and healthier. Increase natural daylight in your office by placing your desk near a window, removing blockages from windows, and reflecting natural light with mirrors.
Consider Sustainable Food
On the subject of home cooking, if you have some spare time in the evening due to the elimination of commuting time, you could use it to change up with some new meals. Reduced meat consumption is among the most significant actions an employer can do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, so why not try some meat-free recipe ideas?
Choose Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
Every day, the average employee generates about two pounds of waste. Thankfully, a wide range of eco-friendly office supplies is available to help you minimize waste and increase efficiency. Search for waste-free, recyclable, or biodegradable office supplies. Paperless notebooks enable you to erase notes and reuse them for various projects or tasks. This is far more environmentally friendly than using a traditional paper notepad and replacing it after being utilized. There is also a wide range of biodegradable pens made from recycled materials such as cardboard or plastic. When looking for materials for your home office, try to choose the most environmentally friendly options.
Use Sustainable Materials
If you are fixing up a space to make a home office space, use sustainable materials to make it as eco-friendly as possible. Luckily, a wide range of sustainable construction materials is available, such as bamboo and reclaimed wood. FlexiSpot's Climate-Positive Workstations is a line of bamboo-topped adjustable standing desks that are refined, polished, minimalistic, and perfect not just for overall health but, of course, for the environment as well. The simplicity and sophistication make these standing work desks perfect for any space and your goals to a more modest and sustainable lifestyle.
It may be enticing to rush to your nearest Walmart, Target, or other chain stores to purchase inexpensive assemble-at-home furniture, but there are various environmental reasons not to. Fast furniture, like fast fashion, is triggering significant damage to the environment because products are discarded more frequently, have a larger carbon footprint owing to overseas production and shipments, and are made of dangerous materials. Purchasing used or reconditioned office furniture is another straightforward solution to reduce waste and save money. Search on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, flea markets, antique shops, and other sources of used products to get something of more excellent quality for likely less money and far less environmental repercussions.
Turn Down Your Thermostat
With thousands of employees working at home that is generally empty during the day, carbon pollution from home heating will inevitably arise. One of the simplest things to remember is not to keep the thermostat too high – each 1-degree decrease can result in an 8% savings on your energy bill and carbon footprint. Drapes and blinds are also excellent ways of keeping the heat in overnight, though if the sun comes out, it is best to let in as much as possible. Finally, because there is no proper dress code at home, you can wear woolly fleeces and socks.
Minimize Waste and Recycle
It's easy to overlook the small amounts of waste that accumulate in a typical office, and it's easy to maintain specific habits at home. Because your home is now your workplace, you are spending more time there and thus producing more waste and getting rid of it through your home waste management system rather than at work. It's worth taking advantage of this opportunity to become acquainted with your local council's recycling guidelines. It could also be an opportunity to reduce single-use plastic or takeaway containers by preparing home-cooked meals, optimally using up leftovers.
Every decision we make impacts the environment, and it can be tricky to make the best decision as there are always pros and cons. However, if we all embrace the most sustainability initiatives possible, we can significantly impact the planet's quality of life.