I’m on my sixth year of working from home, having “retired” pretty early from my former corporate job. There were several reasons I chose to be a WAHM: for one, the work environment got pretty stressful. I also wanted to be there for my kids to help them with school (and generally watch them grow up). And then the commute to and from the office was really getting to me. I discovered that as time went by, I had to get up from work earlier than usual due to the worsening of traffic in our area, thus cutting into precious time I could have spent with my family over breakfast. It simply did not become worth it anymore to do that on a daily basis.
Fast-forward to today, I’m happy to have discovered even more reasons to love working from home. Aside from the flexibility of my schedule so I can divide my time between work and family, I can also do environmentally friendly practices right here, in the comfort of my own home. Today, I would like to share with you five reasons why I find it an eco-friendly move to be a WAHM.
1) You will help reduce carbon footprint
A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions you make as an individual, or as part of a group (like an office, or a company). It can be computed via the amount of fossil fuels consumed by an individual or a group. You can compute your own carbon footprint using this calculator, so you can have an idea of how much your lifestyle contributes to environmental degradation.
I know that sounds harsh, but every decision we make does have an impact on the planet. Imagine the amount of fuel you use to go back and forth to work every day, plus the carbon emissions each car on the road releases! Working from home will significantly cut down on those emissions, and also help you save on gas (which is becoming increasingly pricier).
2) You will help save energy
Today, there are many eco-friendly companies that promote greener business practices, such as carpooling, encouraging biking to work, or getting rid of paper documents by going digital. Many of them now go for open office plans that maximize natural light and the flow of air so as not to be too dependent on electricity for lighting and temperature control. And I think that’s pretty neat (my old office didn’t have any of that, at all!).
But by working from home, you instantly reduce the electricity consumed by big offices that has air-conditioning, fluorescent lighting, and other gas or electric-powered equipment that a business or company uses on a daily basis. Granted, you do still need electricity to power your laptop and your entire house, but the costs and consumption are significantly lower than that of an entire building’s.
3) You will help prevent the spread of diseases
Aside from being eco-friendly, to work from home means when you won’t have to worry about catching any sickness from a colleague. Being in an enclosed space often does that, and you can’t really rely on everyone at work to be as sanitary and practice hygiene the way you personally do.
If you do get sick days at home, you can control it better by rearranging your timetable (both for recuperating and catching up on missed work). That’s the beauty of having a flexible schedule. Too often, the pressure of not wanting to miss work due to being sick, or not wanting to use up all of our sick day leaves, makes us go to the office even if we aren’t feeling well. Doing this encourages the spread of disease and affects other people’s productivity, in turn.
4) You can create a more sustainable lifestyle
Now that I am the boss of my own home-based work, I can go for the kind of eco-friendly products and practices that my former office didn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole. Too often, companies go for the cheaper, wholesale route when it comes to office supplies because they get discounts for it. This practice doesn’t often translate into sound environmental practices.
People use up paper all the time, equipment and appliances stay plugged in even when they aren’t being used, the pantry has overflowing plastic bottles and paper cups, and office-goers don’t really give a second thought to using up supplies because they know the company is paying for them, anyway. At home, you pay for everything you use, so you’re going to have to be more careful about how often you use them. I choose to recycle, so I have my kids’ old notebooks as my own notepads, and their pencils and pens for my own office stationery! Plus I make my own meals from scratch and eat them with from a real plate that I can wash and reuse.
5) You will save money, time, and resources
Money, time, and resources - these are all precious commodities for me now, as a mom and a wife. And it became increasingly more important since I started working from home. When I first set up an office here in my little nook, I was shocked at how little space I occupied. It made me think of other green business ideas I could do such as re-selling gently-used clothing and other stuff (which I wrote about in detail here).
Working from home put things in perspective about how much money I used up just going back and forth to the office, and how much time I wasted on traffic which I could have lavished on my husband and kids, instead. As for the resources? I can’t even think about how much we wasted while we were in the office without shuddering about the thought of all the fossil fuel consumption and cost they required.
Working from home has kept me grounded in reality. The daily 9-5 grind is not a green practice, and far from being a sustainable one. These eco-friendly reasons to work from home are from my own personal experience, but I’ve chosen this lifestyle and will continue to choose it because of them.
Are you currently working from home? How are you finding this experience, and would you say it’s an eco-friendly move for you? If you have any other tips or thoughts about a green working-from-home environment, we would love to hear all about them.