As the world celebrates Earth Day, it’s the perfect time to check in with your home office surroundings. Are you still following the same green and sustainable habits you practiced in the office — or has convenience taken over?
Since many of us have shifted to remote work, it takes a bit more planning and initiative to inject more environmentally friendly practices into our home office spaces. However, the time you spend creating a green office is well worth the extra effort. Read on for our list of the top simple ways to create a more sustainable home office.
Along with a trash can next to your desk, keep a recycling bin within reach. Your home printer is likely working harder than ever, so make sure you offset that usage by recycling all those printouts you don’t need. Recycling can be the easiest way to ramp up your sustainable practices.
By the same token, consider ways to cut down on your paper usage. If a digital report is just as useful as a printout, don’t bother printing it. Buy recycled printer paper and try to print double-sided. Instead of reaching for a notepad, use the Notes app on your phone or a whiteboard to jot down to-do lists and other important items.
Along with brightening up your home office, indoor plants improve your home's air quality by removing toxins and increasing humidity. Some of the best indoor plants for purifying your home workspace include snake plants, fiddle leaf figs, rubber tree plants, moth orchids, and spider plants.
Since you’re spending so much time on devices, make sure you shut them down completely at night. Get to know your thermostat, which might be equipped with smart timers to help you optimize energy usage. Consider switching out your lightbulbs for more environmentally friendly options such as LED bulbs. If you can, aim to accomplish the majority of your work by natural light. Simplify your space and purge unnecessary energy-drainers like office refrigerators and space heaters.
Online shopping certainly surged in popularity during the pandemic, but buying local is far more likely to help you create a green home office. Consider the air pollution of delivery trucks and the packaging involved in every item you order online. Shopping local ensures your money stays in the local community, cuts down on miles traveled, and lessens your carbon footprint. Also, consider outfitting your workspace with secondhand furniture, which is a much more sustainable option than buying new.
It’s now solely up to you to regularly clean and disinfect your workspace — so make sure to choose environmentally friendly cleaning products. Clean Water Action recommends looking for products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, phosphate-free, free of dyes, hypochlorite, and chlorine, and contain a label listing all active and inactive ingredients.
When you’re snacking during work, try to minimize your waste by opting for bulk items, fruit, and other food items with minimal packaging. Use water bottles and mugs for beverages instead of disposable cups and bottled water. Avoid K-cups for your coffee, which are not biodegradable or recyclable.
A more sustainable home office does more than reduce your environmental footprint. It’ll also cut down on clutter, beautify your space and give you the peace and calm you need to tackle your workday. On Earth Day, recommit yourself to bringing eco-friendly habits into your home office.