Work from home gained more popularity after the COVID-19 pandemic and more people are ditching office life for a comfortable work environment at home. Remote work reaps many benefits, to name a few: less commuting time, more autonomy, greater flexibility, and better work-life balance. However, being at home more will also drive energy costs up. Think about having to use your own electricity and water, compared to not having to think about it in a typical office setting.
Want to work from home and not hurt your wallet at the same time? Find out how you can minimize your carbon footprint at home!
Here are 10 tips
- Adjust your thermostat: Heating a house is vital, especially when you live in a country where it snows or can get very cold during the winter. I’m not suggesting you turn off your thermostat completely and freeze, but according to Ovo Energy by turning your thermostat down by 1℃ you could decrease your heating bill by up to 10%. Pairing this method with adjusting the layers of clothing you wear will also help. That hoodie in your closet will not cost you anything. Alternatively, you could use an energy-efficient thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature.
- Unplug unused devices: Look around you, what are you currently not using that is plugged into the wall? Is it a lamp in the corner of the room that you never use or your fully charged phone that is still connected to the power outlet? Simply unplug and savour the thought that you can save between $100 and $200 each year by unplugging devices, not in use. This was reported by the United States Department of Energy, typically an item drawing a single watt of energy costs about one dollar to power annually. If this didn’t make you run to unplug unused appliances, I don’t know what will.
- Make the most of natural light: When deciding where you will work at home, try to pick an area of your home that captures a lot of natural light. This way you can avoid turning on the lights and you can enjoy the touch of the warm ray of light on your skin. Not only does natural lighting also look better, but it is also biologically good for our health and can improve how we feel. Moreover, natural light can also be a bit of an indicator of when to start and stop work. Is it getting dark outside? Most likely, it’s also time for you to log off from work.
- Surround yourself with plants: Now that you have chosen a specific room with lots of natural light, also consider surrounding yourself with plants. Not only do plants make people happy, but it also improves the circulation and quality of air in the room. An idea is to look on Facebook marketplaces for second-hand plants or a garage sale near you to sustainably purchase a plant!
- Use Ecosia instead of Google: B corp Ecosia is a search engine that uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees where they are needed the most. Every search that you do on Ecosia eliminates around 1KG CO2. How cool is that? You can easily add the free Ecosia extension to your browser of choice and voila you are one step ahead of your sustainable goals! While Google on the other hand uses the generated revenue from ads and turns this into a profit. Ecosia uses 80% of its profits and invests it back into the planet to ensure that rainforests are being protected.
- Use sustainable materials: Depending on your job the equipment that you use might vary. Almost everything is online nowadays, but if you still enjoy writing things down physically, consider getting the seven-year pen. This concept should be putting disposable pens in the past. Another great option is to use 100% recycled notes. Do you also like to use post-it notes but want to limit your paper use? Opt for the recycled version or if you have the time and patience, try making your own paper with old and unused paper!
- Avoid using the printer: Printing files are becoming less popular since files are regularly being shared on platforms like Google drive or via email. Not only is this more eco-friendly, but most likely you are already doing this! On top of that, reducing your printing will also save you from buying more paper or cartridges (which are also quite expensive, yikes!). So be mindful of what you print, and only print when it’s absolutely necessary to have a physical copy.
- Decrease the brightness on your computer: Reducing the brightness on your monitor can save up to 20% of the monitor’s energy. With just a few clicks you can put less strain on the environment!
- Keep your computer “clean”: Delete old files that are just taking up storage space, empty your digital bin, and delete old unnecessary emails. All these files take up digital space and also take up more energy. Ever notice how your device slows down over time? Try clearing up space and see what happens.
- Avoid using the camera on phone calls: In Zoom this saves you 90% on data, Thus, fewer CO2 emissions.
What is your carbon footprint?
Take a moment to think about your daily habits, are there things you could do differently around the house? To give you a bit of an idea, Global Footprint Network calculates your entire carbon footprint and gives you insights on how you could reduce your CO2 emissions at home. There are many ways you can be more sustainable when working at home, find out what works for you and be the change you want to see!
Make use of your flexibility!
It is easy to get absorbed in your work and forget to do other things. Go on that walk, take that break you deserve and treat your body to some fresh air and movement. Health affects work, and work affects health. Exercise improves concentration, creates sharper memory, induces faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower stress. Boost your work performance by exercising during regular work hours!
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