Whether your home office is a dedicated space in your house or a secluded nook between rooms, there’s always potential to make it greener. And no, we don’t mean the colour (keep reading, we’ll get to that).
Today we’ll explain how you can transform your home office into a green office that’s more environmentally friendly, and how you can practice sustainable working habits.
But why is it important? First, you’ll be doing your bit to help the planet, and second, having a green office can also benefit your work and health in a number of ways. Studies have proven that implementing a green office can:
- Boost cognitive thinking by 26%
- Increase productivity by up to 15%
- Improve sleep quality by 6%
- Significantly reduce sick days
The benefits of creating a sustainable working environment are undeniable, and while these tips can be rolled out in your office space, we want to show you how you can recreate them at home too.
Switch to energy saving devices
Did you know that LED light bulbs offer the same amount of light as regular incandescent bulbs, but use 40% less energy? While they are a bit more expensive than regular bulbs, they last for much longer, meaning that they actually end up being more cost efficient. Switching your incandescent light bulbs to LED ones is a one time change that you’ll be able to see the benefits from instantly, and for years to come.
Another energy saving device that you can use in your home office is a smart power strip. These look like regular extension cables, but they’re actually clever devices that can detect when you’re not using your plugged in electronics and automatically turn them off.
They can even be programmed to shut the power off of all your desk devices when you turn your laptop or computer off. Perfect if you’re guilty of leaving your things in stand-by mode, or forget to switch them off.
Make the most of natural light
If you can, adapt your space to let as much natural light in as possible. If you have large windows, try positioning your desk in front of them so you can let sunlight illuminate your workstation.
This will in turn, help you to cut down on electricity and reduce your energy consumption. Having light coloured furniture and mirrors in your office will also help to reflect natural light and brighten up your space.
Invest in eco friendly office supplies
Many companies have developed affordable eco friendly stationery and office supplies that are perfect for helping to turn your space into a green office. These items work just as effectively as their regular counterparts, but are made from responsibly sourced or recycled materials.
If you’re in need of a restock on your supplies, why not shop recycled paper, eco friendly pencils, refillable pens and ink cartridges, recyclable paper clips and more?
Choose eco friendly furniture
If you’re looking to invest in new office furniture, make sure that you’re considering the eco friendly options that are available to you.
For example, for flooring and wooden furniture, bamboo is a great sustainable choice. Regular wood is renewable, but it takes many years to grow. Bamboo, on the other hand, grows fast and repopulates much quicker than wood. It’s also just as durable and comes in a range of styles and colours.
Buying second-hand is also a good way to be green. Rather than buying something brand new, see if you can find a second-hand alternative from a charity shop or online marketplace.
Cut down on paper usage
Try to remove any unnecessary paper from your work routine if you can. Take notes electronically or use scrap paper. If you work in an industry which requires that you work from paper, why not make the switch to recycled paper? Printing double sided also ensures that you’re using paper more efficiently.
And we don’t have to tell you that you should be recycling your used paper!
Get rid of your screen saver
This sounds strange, and random, but hear us out. Whenever you leave your computer and it switches to your screensaver, it’s using unnecessary electricity and consuming energy that’s going to waste.
To improve sustainability in your office and working day, remove your screensaver. Instead, change your computer settings so that it automatically goes into hibernation or sleep mode when you’re not active on it. This reduces any wasted electricity usage.
Add plants to your office
Another way to make your home office green is to fill your space with houseplants. Not only are they pretty to look at, they’re also a brilliant way to improve your air quality thanks to their ability to purify the air.
Some plants like orchids and succulents even absorb carbon dioxide to convert and release it as oxygen. Having indoor plants in your room can even help to reduce stress and create a peaceful environment, which can only benefit your productivity.
There are plenty of low maintenance plants that require little care which are perfect for people with busy schedules. Check out our guide to the best desk plants for your office.
Remember the five Rs
Try to cut down your reliance on unsustainable packaging and products. Say no to single use plastics and materials that can damage the environment. Instead, opt for reusable, recycled or sustainably sourced alternatives.
It might not be feasible to completely cut out all single use materials from your lifestyle, so try to reduce your consumption instead. Make electronic lists on your computer or phone instead of writing things down on paper and order your office supplies from the same store, if possible, to reduce the pollution caused by delivery. These small changes all help to limit your strain on the environment.
You can also reduce the amount of energy consumed by your electronic devices. Switch your computer into eco or battery saver mode, and adjust its settings so that it goes into hibernation quicker when you’re away from your desk.
Before you put something into your recycling bin, see how many more uses you can get out of it first. Use both sides of a piece of paper before you scrap it, switch to reusable dusting cloths and wipes instead of disposable ones and reuse any cardboard boxes or packaging that you receive.
Before you look to buy new office furniture, see if you can repurpose any existing things around your home into what you need instead. Fashion a computer stand out of materials you have at home or reupholster an old dining room chair to fit the décor and style of your home office. Ordering online creates unnecessary pollution due to delivery methods, so see what you can upcycle at home instead.
If you can’t reuse or repurpose something, your only option may be to dispose of it. Instead of throwing it into your bin, see if you can recycle or donate it. Recycling has come a long way and now glass, metal and even some plastics can be recycled, not just paper. In your office, things like batteries, ink cartridges and stationary can also be recycled.
Go for greener paints
Literally turn your home office into a green office by painting it green! There is a psychology to selecting green for your home office walls, as green invokes balance and growth and helps to connect you to nature. The shade can help to boost concentration and aid creativity, making it a great choice for productivity.
On a more serious note, if you are looking to repaint your home office, look for “greener” paints that emit less chemicals into your space and don’t contain harmful pigments, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds. Water and latex-based paints are generally better for your health and the environment.
For more home office inspiration and workspace tips and ideas, head over to the Use.Space blog.
Infographic illustration credits:
“Economic Bulb” icon by Ben Davis
“LED” by Eucalyp
“Office Chair” by Ava Mba
“Office” by Maria Kislitsina
“Potted Plant” by rivercon
“Branch” by Nook Fulloption.
All from thenounproject.com.