During the pandemic, many things slowed to a crawl. One silver lining was the decrease in pollution. We hope to put COVID-19 in the rearview very soon. But a return to our previous ways means potentially going back to high pollution and not taking care of our environment. An individual can only do so much, but you can do something. Here’s a quick list of small changes you can make to be more environmentally conscious while working anywhere.
Whether you’re in the office or working from home, be sure to turn lights off when you’re not using them. This is a bit of a no brainer, but sometimes you get an early start to the day and the lamp you need to see your desk in the morning becomes unnecessary as the sun rises higher in the sky. Or maybe the break room light is always on, even when no one’s there. Simply turning lights off in rooms you aren’t in not only means less energy, it also means a smaller electricity bill. Even unplugging appliances you aren’t using can cut down on electricity usage.
You can take this a step further by adding electricity-saving plugins to outlets. While we recommend researching what products each plug-in is best suited for, these can run from $2 to $60. The lower end versions may only have a light to indicate they’re working, while the higher end models offer a display of calculated electricity costs.
The pandemic forced people to work from home, many for the first time. With no other option, companies feared productivity would crash and distractions would abound. However, after a year, most companies shared they were doing great, and productivity had even improved. While many companies are looking at how to proceed in 2021 and beyond, many are looking at hybrid programs. This would allow employees to work from home during certain days, allowing them to work remotely on others.
This has obvious benefits for the employees, but it also benefits the environment. Less vehicle travel means less pollution, especially when that commute takes hours out of your day. If commuting is in the cards for 2021, see about organizing a carpool with employees that live nearby. By sharing a vehicle and rotating drivers, everyone can save gas money and cut down on emissions.
Working outside at a café, a park, your car or your backyard? Instead of hunting down a convenient outlet or running an extension cord through the house, see about a solar powered battery. These can run anywhere from $50 to well over $100, and may only be a seasonal option. However, if you enjoy the outdoors and need your devices to last all day, leveraging mother nature’s battery is the way to go. Taking in the rays during working without worrying about battery life can make an outdoor workday ideal. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
Environmental conscious means finding ways to reduce waste. One of the biggest sources of waste is single use products. If your company still has Styrofoam cups by the coffee maker, see if you can start a mug rack instead. If you buy coffee to go, see if they’ll fill your thermos. Invest in metal straws to cut down on plastic straw usage. Keeping silver ware in your car may seem a bit extreme, but if you need to eat on the go, try to prioritize options with minimal waste.
This option might be more challenging that the others, but a much higher impact. When you’re considering partnering with a company, ask them what their stance is on sustainability and what steps they’re taking to make their impact on the environment minimal. If they share concern over environmental health, they should be able to answer those questions easily. If they don’t, maybe that isn’t a deal breaker for your company. But if there’s competition between two great choices, it could be the tie-breaker.