Creating a sustainable workplace is a challenge. Turning a home office into a green space can seem even more daunting. Many remote workers think they can’t make their home office eco-friendly…at least not without breaking the bank! Fear not. Going green is easier than you think. Here are a few handy tips for making your home office a model of sustainability.
1. Automate Business Processes
Going paperless is a powerful way to make rapid progress in sustainability. Digitizing your infrastructure also helps you work quicker and more productively. Project management software like Basecamp can facilitate file-sharing entirely online. Telecom tools like Skype can connect you with clients without a commute. Digital tech does come with challenges like utility costs and cybersecurity concerns. You don’t have to become an IT expert overnight to employ automation. Ask questions like “What is distributed tracing technology?” or “How can I guard against scams?” Do your research and find the best tech for your operation.
2. Install Efficient Lighting
Changing your light bulbs is one of the easiest and quickest ways to be more efficient. According to the U.S. government’s EnergyStar program, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use roughly 70% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lighting outperforms even CFLs but could cause health issues like poor sleeping. When possible, use natural daylight. It’s the cheapest and most efficient source!
3. Buy Sustainable Supplies
A lot of office supplies aren’t just wasteful; they’re toxic. Good news: There are plenty of alternatives. Innovative solutions like algae-based printing ink, paper made from ag waste (like wheat straw), and biodegradable plastics abound. Don’t forget to look for non-toxic alternatives to household chemicals like cleaning supplies. Considering the whole supply chain is crucial to reducing your impact.
4. Start Recycling and Upcycling
Eventually, you will have to buy disposable infrastructure and supplies. Because of this, a commitment to recycling is a beneficial action. Local recycling laws will vary by state and municipality, so know the rules before beginning recycling. Upcycling is arguably preferable to recycling. Upcycling means finding new and innovative uses for broken items or those that were thought to be obsolete. Upcycling means putting into action the adage that one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
5. Purchase Energy-Saving Appliances
Speaking of infrastructure, inefficient appliances could be causing you to hemorrhage cash and carbon emissions. The previously-mentioned EnergyStar program acts as a clearinghouse for information on efficient electrical devices and machinery. It’s equally important to use appliances in an energy-saving manner. Turning off lights when you leave the room and unplugging devices when in disuse are quick, intuitive ways to make a massive impact.
6. Utilize Green Energy
Incorporating green energy into your office is possibly the best and most radical change you can make. It can be a costly investment, but the payoff is in resiliency. If you’re off the grid, it means you’re less vulnerable to power disruptions. It’s also probably the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. State, local, and federal government programs exist to help subsidize the cost of installing green energy, especially solar panels. Learn what incentive programs are operating in your area.
7. Incorporate Nature Directly
Bringing nature into your office is a surprisingly effective way to go green. Start with the simple act of incorporating houseplants into your office decor. A study performed in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands found that workers tended to be more productive in buildings filled with green plants. Going “green” in this way is part of a broader movement in building design called biophilia. Biophilic design also includes incorporating natural colors, materials, and even shapes into the places we live and work. Getting back to nature can be a great personal and business decision.
There’s no single best way to go green. Creating a sustainable home office means taking a holistic approach to life and work. The payoffs are better health and the pride that comes with responsibility. Consider your options and start an eco-friendly life.