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WFH: How to Remain Environmentally Friendly

Joanna Clare

Since the beginning of the Covid outbreak at the beginning of 2020, many people have been forced out of the office and urged to work from the comfort of their own homes for long and indefinite periods.

According to the Office for National Statistics, over 8 million people were working from home at some point in the height of the pandemic and if you bear in mind that this does not include the millions that were furloughed and at home but NOT working from home, it's a massive amount of people staying in their homes for the majority of the time.

There has obviously had to have been some sort of impact on the environment and also on our individual carbon footprints. However, it's not all bad news as some may assume.  

Animals, birds and nature in general have flourished in the quieter and cleaner conditions. With a few changes within our homes, we too can flourish and promote and encourage the longevity of our planet.

Here are several ways in which we can stay environmentally friendly whilst not compromising on the quality or quantity of work we achieve from home.

Keep heating to a minimum or switch it off. Of course, we need to keep warm but it is a lot more prudent and dare I say cosier, if we put on a jumper or cardigan or use a throw, instead of sitting next to an electric fire or having the heating on all day. So much heat is lost through inadequate insulation so it’s wise to have this checked.

All appliances should be turned off at the mains or in sleep mode unless in use. This is important for all televisions, consoles, monitors, WiFi, radios, computers, laptops, printers and all the electronic gadgets that have become either a luxury or a necessity. Some people who are electro sensitive can feel unwell when surrounded long term by electrical devices that are constantly powered.

Turn all lights off unless working in that particular room and actually require the lighting to be on. Energy efficient bulbs are a must as they can last up to ten years and provide up to 80% in energy savings. Sitting next to a window not only offers us natural light but will ventilate the room if left slightly open. Natural light boosts productivity and decreases fatigue and a recent study showed when working by a window that produces natural light, workers reported an 84% decrease in eye strain, headache and blurred vision.

When you take a break, do not be tempted to get into the car and drive off to treat yourself to a luxury coffee or a quick fast food snack. Leave the car where it is and if you do have to go anywhere, walk there. Make your own coffees and make your own meals. You’ll  be saving money and petrol which in turn reduces pollution.

Think about the food you consume. Be mindful of waste and cut back on unnecessary packaging and plastic. Recycle everything you possibly can. Don’t waste food and if you haven’t thought yet about giving up meat, start by participating in meatless Mondays because giving up meat is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact

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