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Five Eco-Friendly Reasons to Work From Home

June

Well-known member
Messages
46
#1
Five Eco-Friendly Reasons to Work From Home.jpg


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.

The verdict?

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.

Your turn!

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.
 
Last edited:

Kanvi

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
265
#2
I used to work from home but have recently switched to going into the office at least 80% of the time. While I do enjoy working from home and while it probably is more eco-friendly I find that its harder to keep focus at times, especially if you have family around.

A mix between the two is probably the most optimal.
 

NickBlaine

Well-known member
Messages
53
#4
Love this list, June! Succinct and to the point. The hellish commute to and from work was my main “eco-friendly reason” to work from home, but I think it was more of trying to keep my sanity than actively trying to reduce carbon footprint, to be honest. But now that I am a home-based career dude, I’m really glad I’ve made that decision. You were spot-on about so many points that I wasn’t really conscious about, like how much plastic and paper waste we were producing when we were part of an office culture. Now that I have to pay for all my work-related stuff, I’ve gotten more frugal about spending and being more conscious about recycling what I can.

Below are some improvements I think I’ve made as a home-based worker. They aren’t groundbreaking eco-friendly solutions but I would like to think I’ve been contributing what I can to help keep the planet green!
  • I haven’t been using my car that often, so I save up on gas and not adding to air pollution. Unlike when I had to report for work in an office downtown, now I keep my car in the garage and have been thinking about trying out as an Uber or Lyft driver to make it an extra source of income! But whenever I need to run an errand, I make sure to take my bike :)
  • I’ve learned how to cook! Well, not gourmet chef-level cooking, mind, but stuff I usually order to-go or at a restaurant for meals, I’ve discovered that I can rustle up edible versions of haha! I still treat myself out to nice meals at restaurants once in a while, but when I tallied up what I used to pay for take-out or delivered meals versus what I spend on groceries so I can cook my own - boy, was I surprised! There’s around a 45% difference in savings!
  • My home office has gotten greener, too. By greener, I mean both literally and figuratively. Because I read somewhere that having a plant or any green growing thing can keep you calm and soothe the eyes, I got myself several plants for my balcony, which overlooks my home office window. Now it’s looking like a lush little urban garden, and I’m insanely proud of it! It’s relaxing to look out and see things that are growing and blooming right before my eyes. As for the other “green” parts, well - I’ve recently been doing some light renovating, starting with parts of the home that aren’t very sustainable. I’ve switched to LED lights and have started lessening single-use plastic items.
I know I have a long way to go to truly become an eco-friendly home-based worker but for now, I like where I’m headed and I like that I’m thinking long and hard about even the smallest details to see if I’m contributing to being environmentally responsible!