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Practicing Sustainability as a Remote Worker

Posted on April 30, 2021


Green heart with sustainability actions inside

Image credit: Pixabay

Article written by Jamielyn Rogers exclusively for elgl.org


In light of the pandemic, remote work has certainly become the more convenient and safer option for companies worldwide. However, there are also environmental benefits to this setup — such as reduced greenhouse gases and fossil fuel consumption from not having to commute. That doesn’t mean, however, that remote workers need not actively practice sustainability. Even when at home, it’s important to do our part in lessening our carbon footprint and waste.

With that said, here are some ways to practice sustainability as a remote worker.

Ditch the paperwork

Printing documents and other paperwork are no longer efficient in this era of remote work. Instead, digital and cloud storage solutions like Microsoft Office and Google Drive are better options. Not only do they reduce the use of paper, ink, and electricity (from printing and fax machines), it’s also a safer place to store documents. Plus, it becomes more easily accessible for others to access — whether you’re dealing with business applications or personal data.

Invest in high-quality equipment

Working from home means you need to build your own remote office. While it’s tempting to go the affordable route and buy the cheapest office chairs and accessories, this may be wasteful in the long run. This is because these items may just end up breaking right away, thus ending up in a landfill. So, not only is it more economical to buy quality items since you don’t have to keep replacing them, but it’s also better for the environment. You can start by getting a comfortable chair that can support your back and posture for a long time. To complete your setup and ensure productivity all around, you can also enlist the help of ergonomic accessories, such as a good keyboard and mouse. That way, you work in a more natural position and avoid putting unnecessary strain on your body too.

Be mindful of your electricity consumption

This doesn’t simply mean lessening your use of electronic devices. You should also be aware of something called phantom load, which is also known as standby power or vampire power. This refers to electricity that is still being consumed by an electronic device despite being turned off or in standby mode. For instance, a laptop in sleep mode can still consume about 55 watts, while a cable or DSL modem can draw up to 8 watts. Aside from racking up your electricity bill, this also means more resources are being used up to generate this power. To reduce phantom power, it’s best to unplug anything you’re not using. If you’ll need to leave your computer for just a few minutes, set it to sleep mode rather than leaving it on the whole time.

Practice proper waste management

This may sound cliché, but ‘reduce, reuse, recycle‘ is still the way to go. Pair a recycle bin with a trash can so there’s no excuse to not segregate. After all, the bins are already beside each other. Also, have a garbage bin where you can throw food scraps and other biodegradable materials in order to be turned into compost. If you don’t have the space to make compost, you can always donate it to farmers markets or others that may need it.


Read other articles by Jamielyn Rogers:

Pursuing Higher Education Remotely

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