NET ZERO NOW: HOMEWORKING TIPS
Ten quick wins to reduce your homeworking emissions
It looks like hybrid working and homeworking are here to stay for those of us whose work can (mostly) be done at a desk on a computer. While the wellbeing, work-life balance, and job satisfaction benefits of these new ways of working are now well documented, there’s been less discussion around how they impact on carbon emissions.
Homeworking is undoubtedly blurring the lines between business and individual carbon footprints. Whilst SMEs and bigger businesses may realise carbon savings by reducing the size of, or removing the need altogether for, office premises, homeworkers may well be picking up the slack and inheriting a slightly heftier carbon footprint (notwithstanding their changed travel habits).
Whether you’re an employee who is working more at home, or you’re a solopreneur whose office has always been the spare room or kitchen table, we’ve put together 10 tips to help you make a dent on your homeworking emissions. As the saying goes…every little helps!
Getting your house in order
- If you’re not already on one, switch to a green energy tariff for your home and, if you can afford to, make sure that your home insulation is up to scratch.
- Dial down the thermostat and heat only those rooms you need (which might only be the one where your desk is based for much of the day), or better still, heat the person, not the room with a Stoov
- Get into the habit of unplugging appliances and chargers when they’re not in use.
Adopt better desk behaviours
- Clear down your inbox and unsubscribe from mailings you no longer read. Storing those old emails comes with a footprint, while the impact of unwanted emails from subscriptions is estimated to come in at around 28.5kg each year for each of us.
- Avoid unnecessary ‘thank you’ emails and hold off replying to all if ‘all’ don’t necessarily need the reply. Research by OVO in 2019, encouraged us to ‘think, before you thank’ to help reduce the 64 million unnecessary emails us Brits send every day.
- Reduce the size of emails by writing less, removing images, using links instead of attachments and cropping unneeded bits out of long email chains. Estimates for the carbon footprint of emails – range from around 0.3g for the smallest for instance to over 20g for ones with attachments or sent to multiple recipients.
- Once you’ve made contact and said hi to the people you’re meeting, think about turning off the camera when video calling, it can reduce the call’s energy use by over 90%! Or, better still, pick up the phone instead.
- Use Ecosia as your default search engine. Ecosia uses the profit it makes from user searches to plant trees.
Choose more conscious consumption
- Think before you buy. It may be an adage but pausing to consider whether you really do need that new desk item or whether it could be borrowed or bought second hand will help drive down your emissions. And, if you must buy new, choose energy efficient equipment where possible.
- Double down on dinner. Your kitchen is on hand, so there’s no excuse to default to shop-bought, over-packaged sandwiches or salads at lunchtime. Switch to plant-based options from meaty ones a few times a week to reduce your impact.
Simon Heppner, Founder at Net Zero Now, said: These are little things, granted. But they’re eminently doable things and they can encourage people to think about the bigger, more impactful stuff too. There’s a real disconnect between working digitally and emissions, because in most people’s minds it’s seen as clean technology. But sitting in your house at a desk all day, communicating by video calls and emails does have an impact. And just by making one or two little changes, that impact can easily be reduced. Homeworking will continue to redefine how businesses account for their carbon emissions. By encouraging good homeworking practices today, businesses can ensure that they’re in much better carbon shape for whatever comes down the line tomorrow.
If you’re a business who would like to find out more about reducing your impact and getting on the path to Net Zero, please get in touch with one of our friendly experts, www.netzeronow.org