When we think about acting more sustainably personally, sometimes it’s all too easy to just think about the actions that we take in our home life: recycling correctly, buying and eating less meat, trying to drive the car less, taking fewer flights (although that’s certainly been easier this year!). But we spend over a third of our lives at work, so it’s also important that we take responsibility for how we act sustainably at work, too.
You might think that creating a sustainable working environment is down to your employer, but there’s also steps you can take, as well - and things you might want to encourage your coworkers to take up. Even the little changes help in our global fight against climate change.
Paperwork is still a huge part of many companies’ office life, but it’s important to be mindful of how much paper you’re using. There are so many digital and cloud solutions available now that it’s so easy to streamline your work onto a laptop. Plus, it will help to keep your desk and office much tidier.
Pick your partners wisely
It’s not just about your efforts either, you could also make a difference by choosing to work with like-minded, ethical suppliers. Doing business with green brands and businesses means you can do more, simply by making eco-conscious decisions.
Rethink that daily flat white
Now, of course we’re not saying that you have to give up your morning coffee (we couldn’t do it either!), but simply by buying a reusable cup you can stop this wasteful habit instantly. And you’ll likely get money off your drink as many shops give discounts for bringing your own cup.
Keep your snacks sustainable
Both working at home and in the office in the winter could mean grabbing packaged snacks to get you through the day. Consider filling a jar with your favorite snacks and taking it with you to the office or keep it on your desk at home, and when you need a boost of energy you won’t need to keep buying packaged products throughout the day.
Of course, this year, and going forward, we’ll be spending time working from home. And while that brings a lot of sustainability benefits - there’s definitely no commuting carbon footprint to think about - there are ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while working from home, too.
Adjust your thermostat
If you don’t have an energy efficient thermostat in your home that reduces energy consumption automatically, you can help do this manually by adjusting your thermostat by two degrees down in the winter (and two degrees up in the summer).
Unplug your laptop when it’s fully charged
Even if your laptop, mobile or tablet (or any device for that matter) is fully charged, if it’s still plugged in, it’s still drawing (uncessary!) energy from the grid. This is sometimes called “vampire energy” as they act as modern drainers that waste energy and can increase your electricity bills - bad for the environment, bad for your bank balance.
Reduce your screen brightness
Chances are you won’t notice the difference if you decrease your screen brightness from 100% to 70%, but it can make a big difference to your energy usage. Reducing your monitor brightness by just a third can help to save 20% of the energy it uses.
If you’re stuck at home, there is evidence that workers who have views of nature felt less frustrated and more patient, and reported better health than those who did not have visual access to the outdoors. A simple rearrangement of your desk to view the outdoors is one thing, however even better could be spending breaks or evenings, or even your normal commuting time, getting outdoors and enjoying nature.
Turn off your mobile
We all know working at home means plenty of distractions. One of those is your cell phone, mindlessly scrolling leads to using more battery as well as draining your productivity. So keep those phones away from your site and in rest mode. You not only save the phone’s battery from draining quickly, you learn to be more focused on work.