How to be Sustainable While Working from Home

Working from home not only gives employees more flexibility but also has a ton of sustainability benefits. Remote workers are already at an advantage because they usually have smaller carbon footprints than office workers. If you’re a remote worker, you might think this means we have our eco box ticked. But it is important to remember that the carbon footprint of businesses hasn’t reduced, it has merely been transferred to millions of individual homes.

So how does one adopt sustainable practices while working remotely without breaking the bank? Below are our top 6 tips to reduce your impact on the environment while working from home –

✏️ Opt for eco-friendly office supplies

The average worker generates about 2 pounds of paper waste daily. This figure can add up pretty quickly, and hence it is crucial to be mindful of the products we use while working. If possible, switch to eco-friendly office supplies that are either recyclable or biodegradable. Here are some tips and swaps to get started on a more sustainable WFH approach

  • Scrounge up loose pens and forgotten notebooks and use them before you buy new office supplies
  • Switch out regular notebooks for paperless notebooks or a dry-erase pad. A paperless notebook is erasable and reusable while the dry-erase pad is excellent for taking down small bits of information like phone numbers and reminders
  • Switch out regular pens for biodegradable pens made from recycled materials
  • Try to cut down or eliminate the use of products that have no green alternatives, such as rubber bands

🌡 Lower your Heating

Adjusting your thermostat 2 degrees higher than you’d really like can make a drastic difference. For example, keep your heat 2 degrees higher in the summer, and 2 degrees lower in the winter and this can shrink your carbon footprint by about 2000 lbs per year! Instead of making your home feel like a furnace in winters, add on some extra layers. 

Alternatively, you can opt for an energy-efficient programmable thermostat that automatically conserves this energy without any hassle. Such a thermostat will not cost you much. Moreover, the savings you make over the year will easily recover the money you have spent on the thermostat. Other useful but pricey ways include adding insulation, weather stripping, and caulking around your home and can reduce energy bills by more than 25%. 

🔌 Unplug your devices

If you’ve ever left your charger on with no phone attached orthe TV on in the other room, you’re going to want to pay attention to this one. The devices we own use up valuable energy and electricity when they are plugged in but aren’t being used. This is called ‘Vampire Energy’. A study conducted by the NRDC states that this vampire energy costs Americans $19 billion and 50 power plants’ worth of electricity every year. To adopt sustainable practices while working from home, double check your appliances and unplug them when they aren’t in use.

In addition to these factors, unplugging your devices also reduces the risk of fire and other electrical hazards in your home. 

♻️ Purchase Ethically

Looking into what we buy and who we buy from is one of the most critical steps in having a more sustainable lifestyle while telecommuting. Contrary to what we might think, staying at home actually provides us with a lot of choices. Try to opt for a home-cooked meal instead of ordering a plastic-wrapped sandwich. Be mindful of the kind of stationery you buy, where you source your energy and internet hosting from. One small conscious decision can help reduce your carbon footprint drastically.

If possible, try to source your products locally. You are not only helping small businesses thrive, but are also helping make the world a bit greener!

☀️ Use Natural Light

One of the easiest ways of having a sustainable home office is to use natural light. Daylight minimises the amount of artificial light we consume and saves electricity costs. If possible, try to keep your lights off for as long as possible each day and use the natural light from outside. Some other tips to save energy with respect to light are :

  • Swapping out your light bulbs for LED lighting 
  • Opening windows and letting natural light in as much as possible
  • Dusting your bulbs from time to time to increase illumination in the room

📧 Empty your inbox

This may come as a bit of a shock to some, but there are environmental costs related to internet usage, emails and all of the communication we do online. Yes, every single email and  Google Search has a carbon footprint. Here’s how – Every single email is stored on a server that needs energy – like air conditioning or water for cooling. The more emails we accumulate, the more energy is consumed, and the more carbon emissions we generate. 

The next time you want to send an email, think twice about the “Reply All” function because it is just clogging up space and carbon. In addition, delete your emails from time to time with our 13 hacks to get your inbox under control.

We all accumulate a lot of data while working from home, and it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to digital decluttering. Here are some tips to get you started!

From the way we heat our building to our delivery process and invoicing, we are all about making the right decisions for the earth. Learn more about Codex’s commitment to sustainability here