Work with the environment in mind

With 60% of British professionals working remotely in 2021, we need to talk about a massive myth. You may be under the impression that working from home is more environmentally sustainable than heading to the workplace. Sure, logic suggests that ditching the commute means that you cut back on your emissions, and that in itself should mean that you lower your carbon footprint. You're doing your part to save the planet, right?

Actually, when you take a look at the bigger picture, the stats show the opposite. If an average professional worked from home all year round, they would produce 2.5 tonnes of carbon annually, according to a report from environmental experts WSP. That's around 80% more than the same professional would produce as a typical in-office worker. Whilst during the summer it's more eco-friendly to stay home, throughout the winter, remote workers rack up a huge carbon footprint ‒ and it tips the balance.

So, how can you lower your impact on the planet? It's unlikely that you can ditch all electronics and still do your job remotely (if you can, go you!), but there are small changes you can make. Let's take a look at some of the sustainable steps you can take in your home.

Switch off your camera during meetings

Think video-conferencing is green? Think again. You might not be commuting to work, but that doesn't mean that there are no emissions. Research from Purdue University suggests that just one hour of video calling emits between 150 and 1,000 grams of carbon dioxide and uses between two and 12 litres of water. Since your working day may consist of a few "quick calls," that could be bad news for the planet.

If you're looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, there could be a simple answer. Purdue University researchers found that simply turning off your camera during a call could have a significant impact. The study found that this small change could reduce the previously mentioned emissions by 96%. With that in mind, if you're in a situation where you don't want someone to see your face, now you have an excuse to switch off your camera.

Put your computer to sleep

When you're working from home, the chances are that your computer is on all day long. From the moment you have your first cup of coffee in the morning to the minute you sign off for the day, your machine is working hard ‒ and sucking up a bunch of energy. Setting your computer to sleep mode when you're not using it reduces energy consumption by at least 87% according to Boston University.

Let's face it, throughout the day, there will be times when you don't need your device. For example, when you have a lunch break, get up to make a coffee or tea, or take a phone call. You may even head out in the middle of the day for a quick walk or run. At these times, it costs you nothing to switch your computer into sleep mode. Start doing it now and it will soon become a habit.

Turn down your screen brightness

How bright is your monitor? If you've never adjusted your computer's settings, you may have never considered this question. However, if your screen is at its brightest, it could be wasting more energy than you know. Reducing your screen brightness from 100% to 70% could save up to 20% of the energy that the monitor uses, according to Harvard Law School's energy manager Eric Potkin.

Of course, if you're working a late shift, you might need to keep that light shining bright. It's worth testing out different levels of brightness to figure out which works best for you. If you can manage to work (and see well enough) with your display on low, setting it there on a daily basis could make a world of difference. As a bonus, turning down your brightness can also help if you struggle to see properly or your eyes feel strained.

Switch to a greener energy supplier

If you're working from home, you'll be using more energy than ever before. For that reason, it's never been more important to consider where your energy comes from. Switching to a more environmentally friendly supplier could help you to save money, whilst also cutting back on your consumption. In the modern world, there are plenty of sustainable sources of energy, including tidal power, solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, geothermal power, and biofuels. Shop around and see what could work for you and your lifestyle.

Should you need some help along the way, you can check out different green suppliers on comparison websites, such as MoneySupermarket. Whilst it may seem like a needless hassle to switch your suppliers, doing so could help protect the environment in the long run. And contrary to popular belief, many of the main green energy companies have competitive prices.

Cut back on your central heating

Staying toasty when you're working from home is a no-brainer, especially if you're low-key working in your pyjamas. However, if you've always got the heating cranked up high, you could be wasting a load of energy (and costing yourself a small fortune). Instead, there are some easy ways to stay warm without having all of the heaters in your home turned on around the clock. Such as:

  • Wrap up warm with layers and blankets

  • Deal with any draughts under doorways

  • Use a hot water bottle throughout the day

  • Keep your furniture away from radiators

  • Draw the curtains to keep the heat in

  • Turn your thermostat down

  • Heat only the room you're working in

Whilst you will likely need to pop the heating on now and then to stay comfortable, ensuring that you lower your usage is a sustainable move. Make some changes to your home and see how you can cut back. It will be easy once you get into the habit of being mindful of the heating.

Working from home with the environment in mind

Ready to get green and cut back on your energy usage? Trying some of the tips we have highlighted is the best place to start. Of course, how much you can do will depend on the type of job you have and your lifestyle, but don't be dismayed if you feel like you can't do much; even small changes can have a positive impact on the planet's future.

If you're looking for greener pastures, a quality CV is a must. See how yours stacks up with a free CV review.

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