Being environmentally conscious can mean researching companies in-depth, making personal sacrifices and spending more money on everyday items. However, being eco-friendly is easy when it comes to your home office design.
By making thoughtful decisions and changing a few habits, you can support the environment right from your office chair. Here are six ways you can create an eco-friendly home office.
1. Start Simple
Going minimal is best when setting up a home office. NPS Cairns Office Furniture suggests that you pare down your needs to the fewest items possible when you begin. If you realize you need something else later, you can get it then.
Minimalism is more eco-friendly than having reams of paper permanently stacked under your desk or a second monitor you don’t ever turn on. Other benefits of having minimal office equipment include saving money and having better focus during working hours.
Settling into your home office will take time, and it’s a learning curve. You’ll better understand what you really need and what you can do without as time passes. At that point, you can pare down items further if required.
2. Reduce Waste
Try watching your office trash can for a week to see what kind of items you regularly use. For instance, you may find that it fills up with paper scraps, plastic water bottles and sticky notes.
After you know which single-use items you habitually use, try replacing one at a time with a more sustainable option. For instance, you could get an eco-friendly water bottle and a filter for your home faucet.
Paper is a huge waste product at many traditional offices, but fortunately, advanced technologies mean you can rely on less of it in your office. Emails, online forms, and cloud storage spaces like Google Drive can take the place of folders and filing cabinets.
3. Monitor Energy Use
You pay for the energy you use when you work from home. From both an environmental and financial perspective, it makes sense to cut down on the total amount of power you use every day. One of the most effective ways to reduce usage is with automation.
Typical energy sources in an office space include lighting, temperature control and electricity to run work equipment. Installing technology like smart thermostats and power strips to monitor electronic usage can help you painlessly cut down on energy use during the day.
You can also make environmental changes that reduce the need for total energy usage – like moving your desk to a room with high levels of natural light. Going to a coffee shop for part of your day can help you escape warm temperatures without adding to the total energy being used in your home.
4. Choose Sustainable Furniture
You’ll need furniture that’s dedicated to work, regardless of your office design. Using your bed as a desk is terrible for your back and neck health and may even hamper your sleep. If you plan to use your home office for a long time, you should invest in furniture that’s comfortable and ergonomic.
Furniture impacts the environment over its whole life cycle, from the raw materials to transportation to its final destination. Therefore, you should choose furniture that’s built to last and made of natural materials.
You can also consider purchasing secondhand furniture for your office. You will support the environment and save money since office furniture can be expensive. Contribute to the pool of previously used items by reselling furniture when you’re done with it.
5. Bring in Greenery
Adding a plant or two to your office space will make it more environmentally friendly. Greenery will remind you why you’re making these changes and inspire you to continue with good decisions.
In addition, having plants in your office can increase your focus and lower anxiety levels. Sharing your space with plants can boost productivity, improve job satisfaction and help you stay healthy. The wellness benefits of plants are endless.
Not convinced yet? Your office plant can double as an easygoing work friend. Working from home can get lonely, and a plant is something you can care for and enjoy every day. Watching it grow will encourage you to thrive in your home office, too.
Use these six tips to create an eco-friendly office space you love to spend time in. Make one change at a time, and give yourself plenty of grace – being eco-friendly is a journey, not a race. Time and determination will help you change your habits and support the environment one workday at a time.
Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.