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4 ways to work from home more sustainably

Like many organizations, CEM employees have been working remotely for nearly 10 months (check out our staff’s home offices here). Working remotely has a lot of benefits for our environment, with the most obvious difference is a lot fewer people are commuting, therefore, reducing our carbon footprints. In fact, a 2017 report found that if all U.S. workers were able to telecommute for half the week, 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided. We’ve definitely made progress towards that this year!

However, there are other ways to prioritize the environment while working from home. Many of our staff resolutions included being more sustainable, and we know we’re not alone in that. Here are some simple changes you can make to be more sustainable at home.

  1. Reduce paper usage – While this is probably happening naturally with most work being conducted digitally, be mindful of when you’re using paper products. The average office worker generates about 2 pounds of waste every day! If taking notes is your go-to organizational method, consider purchasing eco-friendly office supplies. Many stores like Office Depot have an entire section on green products.
  2. Be conscious of electricity usage – You may be saving money on transportation without a commute, but it’s likely you’ve seen an increase in your electric and internet bills being home more. Be sure to unplug all devices at the end of the workday, only use the lights in your home office while working or rely on natural light, and set electronics to power-saving mode to sleep after a period of inactivity. Simply decreasing the brightness on your monitor can save energy and make the battery last longer.
  3. Adjust your thermostat – The ability to add or discard layers at any time while working from home is a luxury that’s going to be hard to say goodbye to. That said, take advantage and turn your thermostat down a few degrees in the winter or up in the summer to help save energy.
  4. Use reusable kitchen products – Being at home more removes the temptation to grab a coffee on the way to work or go out for lunch, which in itself is more sustainable by not using as many takeout containers! Even not having to pack a lunch and use bags and other paper products is a huge saver. Take it one step further and use reusable straws, napkins, coffee filters and other products to avoid throwing things away after one use.