Six ways you can make working from home eco-friendly
When you start working from home, you are already making a significant impact on your eco-friendly rating. Skipping the commute means you are churning out much lower emissions.
It takes dedication to the cause to keep what you do sustainable, earn money and do good for the environment. But, with a few simple tips, you can increase the positive impact you have and be happy in the knowledge that you are doing your best.
All of this is not to say that if you need to travel for work you shouldn’t! Every little helps.
1) Energy-saving habits
While you might not be in the office, you are still consuming electricity. It just so happens you have more control over how that looks. Reducing your carbon footprint can be tackled with some smart changes made to your energy habits within the home, and certainly the room that you are working with.
Where possible it is important to work in natural light. Situate yourself near a window as much as possible. This will mean you aren’t likely to need to switch your lights on during the day. Switch out your bulbs for energy saving LED bulbs, so that when you do need to use them, they aren’t as energy hungry as regular bulbs. These are small changes but have a big impact.
A significant change that can permanently impact your energy consumption is the installation of residential solar panels. During the summer months, or if you like in a bright and sunny climate, the amount of power generated by your solar panels can be enough to offset your whole working day.
Ask yourself if you need to have the heating on or if it is more beneficial to add an extra layer of clothing. Turning your thermostat down by as little as one degree can have a significant saving on your energy.
No more stand-by
If you leave all of your office electrical items on standby, they are still using plenty of energy. One of the most important things you can do is to turn these energy vampires off at the switch every day.
When the items aren’t in use, it doesn’t make sense to have them using energy. Although many of us do appreciate how easy it is to keep everything switched on and only need to move a mouse for your screen to come on – it’s not very eco-friendly.
If you are still using a lot of paper or other items that can be recycled, try to make an effort to keep on top of it. It is very easy to throw all of your rubbish in the trash, but it is more important to practice good recycling.
It can often be helpful to have three or more bins in your space—one for plastic, one for paper, and one for items that aren’t recyclable.
It is often the case that there are companies around you that are dedicated to making recycling as easy as possible, and they can come and remove or empty your business bins weekly.
Check out schemes for recycling in your area and see which ones meet your needs.
3) Green hosting
The hosting you choose for your website will also have an impact on your overall green footprint. It is possible to switch your web hosting provider to a green one. Green hosting providers will often have schemes to offset the regular amount of energy consumed by your website(s).
Here are some green web hosting companies that can meet your needs when it comes to making an impact here:
- GreenGeek – they buy wind energy, and plant trees as well as have great low-cost hosting options.
- DreamHost – offers a holistic approach to your energy, and while they don’t have too much in terms of features, they get their energy from renewable sources.
- Kualo Green Hosting – They are powered by 100% renewable energy and have energy-efficient servers too.
You can choose what works best for your business website or personal portfolio—making the switch can be pretty easy if you choose a host that offers a free migration. This can be a relatively easy change to make for many freelancers and small business owners.
Almost everything your order and use will have some type of carbon footprint, so it is important to look at what you are using. You might prefer to have an office that is stacked with address books, notebooks, pens, highlighters, and more.
While it is important that you have everything you need to do your job, it is worth asking what you really need, and could you get it from a greener source? Most often, there are greener ways to buy what you need.
You can find pens that are made from recycled paper and pencils that are made from recycled wood. Even the paper that you use can come from recycled sources.
Another thing that you can do to lower your overall cost, and the trips to get what you need is to be organized and buy your items in bulk.
There are a few brands that specialize in eco-friendly and sustainable stationery:
- Papier – they don’t shrink-wrap products and use biodegradable packaging.
- Decomposition Books – a beautiful selection of eco-friendly sketchbooks, notebooks, and journals.
- Words With Heart – they have a range of tags, notebooks, business cards, and more. They use 100% recycled paper and non-toxic vegetable-based inks.
At first glance, these items are often a little bit more expensive than the usual, but the cost of sustainability and being eco-friendly is a small price to pay to know you’re doing the most to keep your own footprint low.
5) Do you need to print?
There is a particular safety in having the work in your hand; printing things out can give you a sense of security. But do you need to print everything? Most often, we don’t need to print that much.
Recycling paper is the next best thing to going completely paperless. If you think about it, you probably bank online, fill in most forms online, and do most of your work online too.
There are a couple of things you can do to get the peace of mind printed work gives you. Invest in an HDD so that you can save all of your most essential files on something outside of your computer. Further to that, it is essential that you look at some cloud options.
Having these two backup options will give you the security that can usually be found by having extra copies. It is vital that you always have backups of your work, invoices, and other details you need to take care of your business.
6) Personal comfort
There are more ways to make your work more sustainable, and that comes down to your desk and chair. If you have a cheaper chair and desk, you might find them uncomfortable, and you often replace them. Opt for a desk and chair that is ergonomic and made from either recyclable material or recycled material.
For long-term productivity and health, your desk and chair must support you in the ways that you need.
When it comes to going green or making an effort to be sustainable, you don’t need to make too much effort. A few small changes in how you tackle your everyday life can make a big difference. Over time you will find more ways that your business can make a positive impact too.
Are you looking for more ways to save cash in your business? Read Six killer ways to save money and time when running your business.
Photo by Agnieszka Boeske