13/07/2020

Sustainability is an increasingly important initiative in today’s workplace, helping to protect and create a more sustainable environment, as well as generating lasting positive change for future generations. As some workforces begin a phased return to the office, others are finding themselves working from home on a more regular basis so Workthere has put together a helpful; guide to help make the home office more sustainable.

1. Recycle

According to World Bank Researchers, the world generates at least 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste a day - 10 times the amount generated a century ago. Recycling waste is one of the easiest and most universally well-known ways to combat this problem and help increase sustainability in your home office.

Whether you’re an avid recycler or have never recycled before, there are easy ways you can recycle when working from home. To reduce paper use, avoid printing things if they can be sent digitally, reuse old bits of paper for notetaking and instead of throwing things away that you no longer use away, recycle or donate them. Try and keep on top of your household recycling too, including remembering and reusing a bag for life when shopping, compressing plastic bottles before popping them in the recycling bin and making sure all your recyclable cardboard is clean before disposing of it. And always remember to use your recycling bin!

2. Save Energy

When creating a more sustainable home office, it’s incredibly important to instil energy-saving habits. Making use of natural light, instead of switching on your lights throughout the day, is a great way to do this. However, not everyone is blessed with an abundance of natural light in their home, so in this case, we’d recommend using strategically-placed mirrors or working in a room with light coloured walls, as this can enhance natural light. We’d also advise replacing bulbs in your home office space with energy-efficient alternatives if you do need the lights on.

At the end of your working day, don’t just turn off your computer and think that’s enough. A study by Duke Energy, found that electric power is consumed by many devices when they are switched off but are still plugged in, this can account for as much as 20% of your electricity bill. So, always unplug your devices at the end of the day to help save energy.

3. Go green with house plants

As well as adding style and brightening up your home office space, research shows that greenery is key when it comes to concentration, boosting mood and creating a calmer working environment. The American Psychological Association found that workers in spaces with plants showed 15% higher productivity than those without, and in an analysis of 10 UK studies, it was found that greenery had a positive effect on mood and was even shown to increase self-esteem.

What’s more, house plants can help purify the air by reducing pollutants and by taking in carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen, can help towards a better wellbeing. In fact, a study conducted by NASA reveals that indoor plants reduce up to 87% of air pollutants within 24 hours.

When investing in house plants for your home office space, there are a number of ways to make it more sustainable. This includes:

  • Buying plants in recyclable pots
  • Reusing plastic pots when repotting your house plants
  • Choosing peat-free compost, or making your own
  • Using wool or jute twine, not plastic.

4. Opt for second-hand furniture and sustainable stationery

If you are working from home for the foreseeable, it’s a good idea to invest in a suitable desk and chair to help improve posture and reduce body aches. If you’ve been working on your dining room chair and need a proper desk chair with better support, consider buying second-hand to increase sustainability. If you return to the office on a more permanent basis, you can resell or donate your new chair to charity.

If you are passionate about improving your sustainability, we’d also recommend considering sustainable stationery made from recycled and eco-friendly materials.

5. Give back

While you’re working from home, it’s a great time to think more about your environmental impact and what you can do to help. This could be anything from regularly donating to social or environmental organisations, promoting and supporting local brands, or investing in environmentally conscious brands for when you do eventually return to the office.

The UK government’s Green Deal can also help you make energy-saving improvements to your home or business premises, so it’s definitely worth checking out. It is also worth finding out about environmental schemes being run by your local community and how you and your company can get involved, to further boost your sustainability efforts.

As the UK government gradually reveals further lockdown updates, there’s bound to be some uncertainty about exactly how and when we’ll return to work. Whether you’re returning to your workplace or facing a future of home working, these tips from Workthere are sure to help you create a more sustainable office space.