The last few years have seen a big increase in the number of people who work from home at least part of the time. The COVID-19 outbreak spurred even more telecommuting, creating a seismic shift in the way we do business that will likely create impacts for years to come. One big part of how this situation has changed the working world is its impact on the environment. With so little commuting taking place, it would seem that the overall environmental effects of working at home would be positive, but there are some negative impacts you can create even if you never leave the house. Be in tune with these four potential consequences of telecommuting.
Greater Use of Climate Control
Savvy homeowners have had programmable thermostats for a while now, causing their homes to use less energy during the day when no one is home. Now that at least one person is home, people are overriding the programming and letting the system run all day. Careful thermostat management is key to holding the ecological effects to a minimum, and the heavier use also means it’s more important than ever to have your air conditioning in good working order.
When we have to fight traffic to get to work and back home again, we try to organize our trips efficiently, incorporating all our various stops into the trip to or from work. When working at home, we often think nothing of running out for something during the day, then making a return trip for something else later on. It’s key to be organized with travel.
The supplies you need at the office are likely lumped in with those needed by others in the office, creating larger shipments. Ordering is likely coordinated by a single person, who gathers everyone’s needs and places one order for everyone on a regular basis. When you need things at your home office, you may be less organized and end up making smaller orders more frequently, consuming extra fuel for the shipping companies. Keep a list and order once a week, or at least when it’s worth the shipper’s fuel.
Keep Your Workspace Central
When you’ve spread out your work on the dining room table, left lunch simmering in the kitchen, and opened a shipment in the den, you leave lights on in every area. You’ve also kept the central heat or air in operation throughout the home. When you gather all your work functions in a single room, you can cut off other lights and maybe even close a few vents to reduce energy consumption.
There’s no doubt that working from home is the wave of the future. It’s important not to let it turn us back to old, energy-wasting habits. An organized home working plan can simplify your work life and cut your carbon footprint.
Lizzie Weakley, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.