As we celebrate Earth Day during this genuinely unique time, we have an unprecedented view of how much of an impact modern society is having on the environment.
Due to the shelter in place orders, the world seems to have slowed down. Many of us who can work remotely are now working from home. Worldwide, travel has fallen drastically, and there are fewer cars on the roads. Instead of conducting business in person, key business meetings are taking place over video conferencing, and non-essential businesses, if open at all during this time, are likely operating a little differently than their proprietors anticipated.
As we take a pause from business as usual, let’s use this current work-from-home time as an opportunity to reflect and learn some new habits that will be better for our planet, and ultimately for us, in the long term. While staying home has been hard on many of us, it has already had a profound impact on wildlife and the environment, as we are reducing our carbon footprint, creating less waste, and going green!
Reducing Carbon Footprint
One of the most significant impacts we as individuals and companies have on the environment is our carbon footprint. Prior to working from home instruction, the average adult commuted roughly 15 miles per day. According to the US EPA Green Vehicle Guide, the average car creates 0.79 pounds CO2 emissions per mile, meaning every day that we aren’t commuting to work for meetings we could be saving 11.85 pounds of carbon emissions! These savings don’t stop at individuals—if business leaders encourage all their employees work from home, a midsize business could be seeing savings of 3555 pounds of CO2 emissions. These combined emissions savings are impressive!
For those interested, the EPA has a Carbon Footprint Calculator that measures average household output. But how can you track your company’s carbon footprint when it comes to video conferencing vs. commuting? Just ask your BlueJeans admin! BlueJeans Command Center allows admins to track how much carbon emissions their company is savings for every meeting.
Creating Less Waste
We don’t often stop to ponder how much waste we are creating in our office spaces or how working from home could help to reduce that waste. Yet, statisticians predict the typical employee uses, on average, 10,000 sheets of paper and 500 disposable cups per year—most of which doesn’t end up getting recycled. Working from home can help cut down on this excessive waste by allowing employees to use their own mugs and water bottles (and recycle!) and it encourages information sharing digitally.
Furthermore, it’s easier to notice the amount of waste one goes through when emptying your own trash. I’ve since implemented a no paper policy in my home and invested in a water bottle I can carry from room to room.
On that note, having more control over our environment means we can all make changes (as I have) to be greener. As home office manager, you will no longer have to rely on convincing your company to take on green initiatives or policies. Instead, you can implement the following to make your space greener:
a. Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs
b. Make it a habit to use reusable products
c. Instead of printing, do work, pay bills, and implement a paperless household
d. Recycle plastics, paper, and electronics safely and as often as possible
By working from home, we are reducing our carbon footprint, creating less waste, and making spaces around us greener. The impact we have seen already on the environment in this short time of working from home is incredible—with less air pollution leading way to bluer skies above.
The world is changing every day in ways that may seem out of our control, but by collectively working from home, we can continue to make a positive impact on the planet.