Remote working is here to stay. Many businesses have been founded in the last year to capitalize on this trend. Whichever way you look at it, the remote working model is now tried and tested. With everything from cybersecurity specifically designed for distributed teams to remote phone answering services and apps available, the remote working ripple effect continues to expand.
While carbon emissions from cars are down, it’s not all roses and good news. Employees and entrepreneurs who work from a computer spend a large portion of their days indoors. While remote working may positively impact the environment, it is also essential that individuals who work remotely take care of their own physical and mental health.
In this article, we will look into creating a sustainable home office in terms of the environment and a worker’s wellbeing.
Design Your Office Space
Staying indoors is not good for you. According to Time.com, staying indoors may fuel anxiety, insomnia. One of the key ways to offset the harmful effects of remaining indoors for hours is to get enough sunlight.
Designing or choosing an area that gets enough natural light is essential, but this can, to a certain extent, be compensating with by investing in a SAD lamp.
Research suggests that standard electric lighting and a lack of natural light can throw off an individual’s internal circadian rhythms, which can negatively impact sleep and wellbeing. If you cannot access natural light from your home office, try and get outside in the morning for 45 minutes.
Research also shows that being outdoors is associated with greater vitality – but if you can’t work outdoors, you can bring some elements of the outdoors in by purchasing locally grown plants. In terms of the environment, plants grown locally don’t have the same carbon footprint that plants shipped from the other side of the world do.
As well as being indoors, there are lots of negatives to sitting down. Try and stand up every 20 minutes and use inversions or even a mini-trampoline to stimulate the lymphatic system.
Enough about the workers themselves; let’s focus on environmental impact for a while. If you are working from home, chances are you are heating or cooling your home office for the majority of the working day.
With this in mind, you may want to consider signing up for a renewable energy supplier. We need energy to work, cook, and travel. The source of our energy is the crucial factor when looking at the impact on the planet. Fossil fuels are still the most significant source of energy for cars and the home. Renewable energy comes from a source that is not depleted when used. For example, wind and solar power don’t damage or deplete the sun or the source of wind when they are used.
Many argue that the technology already exists to switch the whole planet to 100% renewable energy, but the infrastructure and possibly the politics favor fossil fuels. However, you can easily cut your carbon footprint and fuel your home responsibly by signing up for a renewable energy supplier. There are suppliers such as Octopus Energy in the UK, and in the USA, there are companies such as Siemens that provide renewable energy.
If you use heating oil, then consider using a biofuel from sustainably grown crop sources. Alternatively, if you consider investing in a new heating system, an electric heating system could easily be supplied by a renewable electricity supplier. According to Jason Carpenter, using renewable energy for both your electricity and your heating/cooling utilities can typically cut your carbon footprint by 32%
If you are making an occasional trip to the office, consider adding a fuel adaptor to your car so that it can run on ethyl-alcohol! You will need real ethanol from an official supplier if you want a green car that previously runs on gasoline. For diesel vehicles, you don’t need an adaptor or conversion; just use bio-diesel. If you have an electric car – just make sure that your energy supplier is a renewable one! Otherwise, it’s not much more environmentally friendly than a standard car.
Harness the Elements
If you want to do your bit for the planet and reduce your utility bills in the process, then consider powering your home office with solar power. Remember to get all the work checked by a qualified electrician, as fires and electric shocks can be terrible for you and the environment!
Solarcentre.co.uk has a great article on powering a home office with solar power, including a table that breaks down the energy usage of different office devices. For example, a typical desktop computer in use 5 hours a day will need about 500w of energy. The system recommended in the solar center example included a 350w panel, 30ah charge controller, 600w inverter, and 4 x 200ah batteries. You will also need roof mountings and fittings.
However, it can often be best to test the proverbial waters with a small kit so that you can play around with the setup. You can buy complete kits with batteries and charge controllers for a few hundred dollars or pounds. This YouTube video provides a great step-by-step guide to setting up solar panels. Again – please make sure that a qualified electrician supervises you!
If you work remotely, be sure to use a renewable energy supplier to supply your electricity. Creating your solar panel or wind turbine system to generate power for your home office can be a great project that can save you money, too – just be sure to get all of your work supervised and checked by a qualified electrician.