8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Twenty20

Small changes can lead to powerful impacts, and these steps are often easy to practice. One way to do so is to practice sustainability when working from home.

The recent pandemic has brought drastic changes to the world – including the way people work. Experts now see working from home (WFH) as the “new normal”. 

While there are still hurdles to overcome with this new working environment, it also offers an opportunity to promote a sustainable lifestyle. One example is that remote employees don’t have to commute anymore, leaving smaller carbon footprints – but there’s always an opportunity to do more.

If you’re keen to kick your sustainability up a notch, here are some tips to go green when working from home.

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Dim your computer screen

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home
Image: @DimaBerlin via Twenty20.

Did you know that reducing the brightness on your computer screen can save up to 20 per cent of the monitor’s energy use? Less energy equals less impact on the planet. Plus, it can help lower your electricity bill too. 

Green energy

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Speaking of electricity. There are several ways to turn transition to greener energy. Some cities support solar power and even provide incentives for installation. If this seems too much for you, as simple as unplugging your devices when not in use is a good way to decrease your carbon footprint. 

Go paperless

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Staying at home means less paper to waste. If you need a document signed, there are digital signature features in apps like Adobe. Jotting down notes? There are apps on your mobile devices and even online that allow you to, like Google Keep or Apple Notes. Waste reduction is one of the best ways to champion an eco-friendly office, even at home.

Adjust your thermostat

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

If you live in an area where an in-home heater or air conditioner is a must, adjusting your thermostat just two degrees higher in summer or two degrees down during colder seasons can save up to 2000lbs of CO2 each year.

Consider shopping for second-hand furniture.

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Even at home, the key to productive work has a conducive workspace. An ergonomic desk, chair, and drawers. It can be tempting to shop for new furniture, but have you considered going for second-hand? By re-using old furniture, you’re minimising your carbon footprint because fewer materials and resources are used to purchase a new one. 

If you’re uncomfortable with getting pre-loved, a few brands like Ikea offer a buy-back service. The company purchases used furniture to recycle them into new ones.

Maximise natural lighting

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Set up your workspace near the window where natural light can naturally. This way, during the daytime, you can maximise sunlight and save electricity. Plus, the sun gives you an ample supply of Vitamin D 🙂

Prep meals at home

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

“Without question, it takes less energy and resources to cook at home,” says David Pimentel, Professor Emeritus at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.  

Consider frozen food or fast food. These are the type of foods that are processed, packed, transported, and then cooked again. With each reheat, extra energy is spent.

Pimentel explains it takes seven kilocalories of energy to cook food, but processing, packaging and transporting it takes another ten. That means it takes more than double the amount of energy to process food than grow it.

Cooking your food means shopping at your local stores and supporting small businesses. You also get to choose organic and sustainably farmed produce. 

Collaborate with colleagues

8 simple ways to practice sustainability when working from home

Last but not least, collaborate with your workmates on sustainable practices. You can start goals, keep yourselves accountable, and set sustainability targets. Going green and living more sustainably is important as individuals and as an organisation. 

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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