There are many benefits to working from home, part-time or full-time. For one thing, you can often make your own hours — to an extent — and work the way that you want to work. For another, you can turn your home office into whatever you want it to be. It can be cozy and comfortable or sleek and professional. You may focus on privacy, or you could want to be easily accessible for your family.
Even if you aren’t your own boss — and not everyone who spends time working from home is — you are the master of your home office. However, with great power comes great responsibility. While you can make your home office whatever you want it to be, that means you must be responsible for furnishing it and buying the necessary office supplies. There isn’t going to be an office administrator in the background who can take care of replenishing supplies and ensure that your office is all that it should be.
A lot of home office workers find themselves growing increasingly concerned with their environmental impact — and this is one thing that they can have control over. While some corporate offices are eco-friendly, many don’t invest the time and money into making sure that their employees are lessening their carbon footprints.
This is where the responsibility of furnishing your own home office becomes a perk again. You can make your home office as eco-friendly as you want it to be. You only need to do the research and make the right investments, ideally from the very beginning. Here are some of the ways you can make your home office as environmentally friendly as possible.
Cut Down On Paper Use
It may seem natural for your home office to be covered in paper. After all, it may seem to be difficult to run any kind of business without using paper — or it did once. In this day and age, lots of businesses are becoming increasingly paperless. They worry less and less about keeping hard copies of records, often only offering paper copies to clients that request them.
Nonetheless, there are still plenty of hard paper documents circulating across the world. The U.S. alone has about 4 trillion paper documents, and those documents are still growing at a steady pace of 22% per year. But the more we take individual steps to cut down on paper usage, the fewer people will rely on hard copies.
In your home office, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll often need to use paper. There are other benefits to cutting down on paper usage, outside of the environmental benefits. The less you use paper, logically, the less you’ll have to pay for paper. Right now, the typical office worker will print around 10,000 pages per year. This results in a cost of $725. But it’s one thing to decide to cut down on paper usage — what will you turn to as an alternative?
Go Completely Digital
Thankfully, the digital world offers plenty of alternatives to paper. Of course, you’ll probably already be used to saving your documents on the computer. But if your computer crashes, you should have a backup made already. Many of us have become increasingly used to using the cloud as a way to back up all of our important documents — and if you aren’t, you probably will be soon.
It was projected that about one-third of all data would pass through the cloud by 2020. If you’re surprised, you’ve probably already backed data up on the cloud without realizing it. While the cloud offers a potentially eternal way to back up important data, it also poses security risks for those backing up sensitive information.
It is possible for information to be accessed by those hacking into the cloud. However, if you establish the right security protocols, both in terms of how people store their information and how they protect that information, you’ll likely have much less to worry about. The benefits of using the cloud, both in terms of how recoverable your information is and the eco-friendly aspects of going digital, far outweigh the risks.
Insulate Your Office
Many people begin creating a home office with renovations. Lots of houses have spaces that work as home offices but aren’t necessarily quite ready just yet. If you’re considering renovating a space to convert it into a home office, you should consider whether or not your office is well-insulated. The insulation of a space can affect its energy efficiency in a big way.
Wasting energy can definitely have a negative environmental impact, of course. It can also have a negative impact on your wallet, which is the last thing you’ll want if you’re already investing in creating the perfect home office and working from home. The more air leaks from your home office, the more money you’ll spend on heating and cooling costs that were completely avoidable.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that air leaks in your windows and doors can add as much as 10% to your heating bills (and occasionally more). With as much time as you’ll likely spend in your home office, you should make sure that it’s completely insulated.
No matter what you ultimately do in order to make your home office environmentally friendly, it’s important to take those steps. Your home office is your workspace. With as much time as you spend in it, you’ll want to make it as environmentally conscious as possible.