Saturday, December 9, 2023

Is Your Home Office As Sustainable As It Could Be? No? Try These 5 Tips.


While it’s true that more people are returning to the workplace these days, the hybrid office set-up is here to stay. If you’re one of those people giving your home office plenty of visits, it makes sense to do it more sustainably. Here’s how.

Did you know that when you work from home, you’ve got the power to reduce your carbon footprint and have a greener workstation than you might think?

It’s not just the absence of the commute that makes a home office greener than going to the office — although that certainly helps. A home office shares utilities helping it cut down on energy use and expenses.

You’re also more likely to avoid other expenses and high-impact activities when at home such as going out for lunch or sending suits and workwear to the dry cleaners, for example.

Want to make your home office even more eco-friendly? Take a look at these handy suggestions and tips to help you achieve that goal.

1. (Re)consider transport options

One of the best things about WFH is that you no longer have a daily commute, which also means that you do not have to worry about emissions from driving.

Many people who work from home have sold their cars or have not renewed their annual car insurance and instead look to eco-friendly alternatives like walking, cycling, or public transport.

Of course, there may be times when you still need to drive, so you could take out short-term car insurance so that you are only paying for coverage when you need it.

Computers, courtesy freestocks | Unsplash

2. Minimize energy consumption

When working from home, it is important that you consider your energy consumption (especially during an energy crisis). There are many ways to minimize your consumption, which will reduce your environmental impact and help you to save money.

Desktop computers often consume lots of electricity — even when they are just idling away in the background. Lower your carbon footprint and your energy costs by opting for a low-power system, such as a laptop.

If you must have a desktop system, the good news is that you can purchase small form factor (SFF) systems powered in a similar way to laptops without compromising on performance or flexibility.

It’s even possible to build an SFF PC if you’re a competent IT hobbyist.

A few other ideas include:

  • Switching off devices when not in use
  • Using energy-saving appliances
  • LED lightbulbs
  • Batch cooking
  • Washing clothes on cold water setting
  • Taking shorter and/or fewer showers
Herman Miller's Sustainability Journey: From Replacing Leather to Recycling Plastic
Herman Miller recycled plastic chair | Courtesy

3. Office furniture and supplies

You’ll need an office desk and chair to use as your workstation. The trouble with many examples on the market these days is that you typically end up buying items made from materials that aren’t from sustainable sources.

The most sustainable desk setup is what you already have at home. Your second-best bet is shopping secondhand or vintage. You may even come across office desk and chair examples made from repurposed wood and fabric, or even take on the project yourself if you’re a keen DIYer.

You may also need other furniture in your office space such as bookcases, filing cabinets, floor-standing lights, and so forth. Forget about buying brand-new examples; opt for pre-loved furniture to furnish your home-office workspace.

If anything catches your eye but looks a little worn, you can always use furniture paint or recycled fabric to give those items a new lease of life in your home.

Moreover, the exercise will save you a considerable sum compared with buying brand-new furniture.

Courtesy Roberto Nickson | Unsplash

3. Make use of natural light

One of the reasons offices have high electricity costs is due to their lighting requirements. That probably won’t be much of an issue for you as you’re simply using a single room in your home as your workspace, but that doesn’t mean your lighting needs will be free.

If you’re conscious about your carbon footprint impact on the environment and energy bill costs, look at ways to introduce more natural light into your room.

For example, keep any curtains and blinds wide open during the day to let light flood into the room. You may also wish to consider getting a sun tunnel installed.

Courtesy Hannah Tims | Unsplash

4. Keep your office cold(er)

If it’s been a while since you were in an office-office, you may have forgotten that those places are often pretty chilly, even in the dead of summer. It’s a cost-saving measure in the winter to keep the thermostat lower, but it also can make you more productive than if it’s overly warm. Too hot and most people can get sluggish and slow, but a little bit on the chillier side and you may find yourself focused and working a bit better overall. Plus, it helps reduce your energy use, making for a more sustainable environment.

decomposition notebooks
Decomposition Notebooks are made from post consumer waste. Courtesy

5. Be paper conscious

Could you afford to get rid of your printer entirely? It’s simple enough to send most documents and paperwork electronically, and several methods exist to help you achieve that goal safely and securely without the need for keeping a printer at home. Office supply stores are also set up to help you print if needed.

Opt too for upcycled paper when needed, such as Decomposition notebooks, to help keep your new paper use to a minimum.

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