Working from home offers a tremendous amount of benefits. You can make your own schedule, spend more time with family and avoid the long and tedious commuting hours which, in big cities, are dreadful to say the least.
Moving your office at home also allows you to transition to a more sustainable life. You can’t prevent the entire office from using too much paper or keeping the lights on even in broad midday, but you can certainly train yourself to do these things at home. By not having to commute to and from the office, you are already giving back to the environment, but there are plenty of other ways you can continue reducing your impact on the environment.
To help you transition to a more sustainable home office, here are a few tips that work like a charm.
Use ecofriendly supplies
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker generates around 2 pounds of paper and cardboard waste daily. All those bad photocopies, old documents lying around and mountains of pens and pencils are going straight to landfills if you don’t do something about it.
Recycling is one option, which we will be getting into right away, but using eco-friendly supplies will help reduce the amount of waste generated and protect the environment.
Investing in a good pen that can be recharged with ink is one way to stop throwing away mountains of disposable pens and can also add a nice touch to your documents.
If you like to take notes or keep a planner, consider using a smart notebook, which is erasable and reusable after it gets filled. This way, you can use a notebook endlessly and not worry, you are going to waste paper. Some of these notebooks also come with an app that allows you to scan their pages and store the information safely, so you can then just erase the physical notebook and reuse it again.
Because of the large amount of paper they use, offices are some of the best candidates for recycling programs. From using balers or compactors, such as those found at the Mil-tek Baler Company, to shrink waste and dispose of it faster, to promoting a paperless business model, there are plenty of options companies can properly get rid of paper waste.
When you are working from home, you don’t get access to those options, but that does not mean you can’t play your part in reducing the amount of waste that goes out into landfills. Use a separate bin to gather paper and, once you have enough, take it to a recycling center in your area. Look online for recycling facilities near you, contact them and ask if they have a program available, as well as how to properly collect paper in order for it to be suiter for recycling.
Shop local for your resources
I know it’s tempting to order supplies from places where you can find the lowest prices, even if that’s a few hundreds of miles away. However, choosing to shop locally, even if it may not be the most inexpensive will help tremendously when it comes to sustainability.
For starters, buying local products helps support small businesses, and we all know how much they need it. Second, buying locally reduces the carbon footprint your products generate, as they don’t have to come from miles away through a transportation company.
Buy less, reuse more
When you are ordering office supplies, make sure you are not getting overboard with it. Check your office thoroughly and make sure you are using up everything you have before ordering more supplies. Otherwise, you will be left with a desk full of nearly-used pens, half-empty notebooks, and stacks of paper lying around.
Clean up your office area and take an inventory of what you have, then make sure to use everything up before ordering new supplies. You will be surprised about what you can find at the bottom of that old supplies drawer that you barely even open anymore.
Adjust your working hours
To make as much use of natural light and avoid having to turn up the lights inside your office, try to adjust your working hours. Natural light will help you cut down on electricity bills and save the environment at the same time, plus it does wonders for your health.
Start working in the morning, after the sun is already up in the skies, and you don’t need to use artificial light anymore and avoid working late at night, as it helps neither you nor the environment. Try it for a month and observe the benefits it brings for you, your budget, and the planet.
Use technology the right way
We live in an era of innovation, so why not use all the technological advancements available to reduce your carbon footprint? Digitalize documents by scanning them and recycling the paper, opt for receiving bills via email instead of mail so that you can store them on your computer instead of the filing cabinet.
Don’t leave devices on unless you use them, because even in sleep mode, they do still drain energy. Once you are done using your computer or laptop, turn it off to avoid unnecessarily charging your energy bill.
Try to decrease the brightness on your computer monitor as well, as it can help save up to 20% of the energy used by the computer.
Invest in a smart thermostat
If you don’t have a smart thermostat, then order one right now. You and the planet will surely thank us later! A smart thermostat will adjust the room temperature based on the temperature outside, which can help you save money on your energy bill and give something back to the environment.
If you don’t want to invest in a smart thermostat, then adjust your existing one 2 degrees up in the summer and 2 degrees down in the winter. This helps save 2,000lbs of carbon dioxide yearly, something the planet will surely be grateful for.