Remote work has been on the rise for a few years now, and it’s undeniable that COVID-19 has contributed to this change. It’s clear that internet access and technology have made remote work a reality and, increasingly, employees are working from home long-term.
Our once separate work and personal lives have merged. But just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your productivity and well-being. Read these tips to learn how to improve your work-life balance while working from home.
As workplaces change from a traditional office setting to something more flexible, many of the environmental sustainability projects that businesses built to help minimise their impact may become obsolete.
However, this impact won’t go away — it will just be shifted to home offices and become individual workers' responsibility.
Employees in the office don’t need to worry about providing their own light, heating, air conditioning, or power. They don't need to buy supplies, and they don't need to deal with the garbage. All those problems are handled by their employers.
Whether you’re worried about the environment, your health, or your monthly energy bill, there are lots of ways to make your home office greener.
5 Simple ways to create a green and sustainable home office
What does it take to make your home office green and sustainable? Some people believe it requires a big budget, but that simply isn’t true. Read on for 5 inexpensive tips to help you create a green and sustainable workspace at home.
1. Make the most of natural or LED lighting
There are two ways that you can go about lighting your home office: maximising natural light or choosing the greenest form of artificial light.
Ideally, you should set your workspace by the window of a well-lit room. Yet, your natural light options might be limited. You may not have a house in an area that receives a lot of natural light, or you may not be able to rearrange your office to get it in the sunniest room of your home.
If you're stuck in a small room, there are a few ways you can use natural light to your advantage. You could paint the walls white or put in a bigger and more efficient window.
If you can’t rearrange your home to maximize natural daylight, LED light bulbs are a great option as they provide a more sustainable form of light.
Even though LEDs might be a bit more expensive up-front, you’ll save lots of money in both the long run and on your energy bill.
2. Be energy-efficient
One way to be more environmentally friendly is to buy energy-efficient office equipment. A laptop is more practical and efficient than a desktop PC, for example, so ask yourself if that’s what you need for the line of work you are in.
However, how you use your devices is also important. There are a lot of items at home that deplete energy even when not in use. Computers, lights, printers, shredders, and more all suck up power.
Enable energy-saving features on these devices. And make sure to unplug electronics when you're not using them, not only at the end of the day but on weekends too. This can help both your carbon footprint and your utility bill.
3. Invest in eco-friendly furniture and office supplies
Choose to buy used furniture. Not only does it save you a lot of money but also ensures you don’t add to the already burdened landfills.
If you can’t get your hands on used furniture, try to buy furniture made from eco-friendly materials. The Bi-Office Earth collection of whiteboards, felt or cork notice boards, etc., features recyclable and recycled materials, combining fine quality with an ecological solution.
While you’re at it, look out for green office supplies. There are many options out there including recycled paper and pencils made from sustainable wood. And of course, you can buy refillable pens and markers.
4. Get rid of all the waste you can
If you work from home, it's easy to keep certain habits up. Like using paper towels to clean up spilled coffee or covering your desk in sticky notes to ensure you don't forget anything.
Since you’re spending more time in your home, you’re generating more waste. Try to eliminate as much as possible by doing things like:
- Use washable rags instead of paper towels
- Put up a whiteboard and ditch sticky notes
- Go digital instead of printing as often as possible
- If you must print, do it double-sided and buy recycled printer paper
- Eliminate packaged snacks in favour of bulk items, fruit, and other minimally packed foods
5. Bring plants into your home office
Creating environments that build sensory and biological connections with nature (like natural light and greenery) is part of the Biophilic office design trend.
Greenery has a positive effect on workers’ moods and was even shown to increase self-esteem, especially among young people.
Apart from all these benefits, studies suggest that staying among greenery improves productivity and cognition levels, reduces sick days, and enhances sleep quality.
Plus, research conducted by NASA reveals that indoor plants reduce up to 87% of air pollutants within 24 hours.
It’s important to be mindful of your environmental impact and try to reduce it. There are plenty of ways you can do this.
Start with these 5 simple practices to make your home office more sustainable and greener.