10 Tips for a Sustainable Home Office

10 Tips to help you achieve a sustainable home office

For the past year, more of us have worked from home than ever before. Taking steps toward a sustainable home office is a great step forward for your zero waste journey and a great step to help the planet. While in the past, creating a sustainable office was either something we were working towards with our colleagues or a task left up to the higher-ups, we now all need to get involved in making our sustainable home office as green as possible.

No need to worry – doing so is no difficult task. It just requires educating yourself about some ways to save energy, finding creative solutions and making a small occasional compromise between performance and sustainability.

1. Unplug your electronics when they’re not in use or invest in a smart strip

As we’ve touched on previously, there are many steps you can take to reduce your energy use around your house. Did you know that your computer, your TV or your phone plugged into the charger are still consuming power when they’re plugged in, but turned off? Also referred to as ‘vampire power’, this energy consumption can quickly add up to increase both your carbon footprint and your electricity bill.

There are two solutions to this – if you’re on a budget or would prefer not to invest in any new items, you can simply get in the habit of unplugging any unused electronics. This may seem a little overwhelming at first, but you’ll quickly get in the habit of it.

Alternatively, if you want to make your sustainable office as easy as possible, you can buy a smart energy strip. Looking similarly to an extension cord, this clever device can detect whether you’re using anything that is plugged in and turns off the power supply if you’re not.

2. Go paperless

Why use paper, when we already rely on technology for so many other purposes while working from home? Ditch the printer, physical planner or your notepads and go digital. Make the best use of your computer’s memory and store any documentation you need to keep in digital format.

You can even sign agreements and other important paperwork digitally, there’s no need to print it anymore!

3. Opt for energy-saving devices and LED bulbs

Sustainable Home Office - LED Bulb

One of the simplest swaps for a sustainable office are energy-saving devices and LED bulbs. For example, LED bulbs can reduce your electricity usage by anywhere between 25% and 80%, depending on the specific bulb. They can also last you up to 25 times longer, which also reduces the waste output of your sustainable home office.

It’s also important to look at the energy efficiency ratings of any other devices you’re using and go as green as possible. Remember: an energy-efficient device may cost more upfront, but it will save you money in the long run.

4. Choose sustainable stationery

By going paperless (or as close to it as possible) you’ll likely eliminate most of the needs for stationery in your sustainable office. However, if you can’t completely give it up due to the nature of your work, choose sustainable options.

To begin with, if you’ll be needing notepads or any other paper, choose recycled whenever you can. In addition, opt for refillable pens, recyclable paper clips and any other eco-friendly alternatives to whatever stationery you use while working from home.

5. Change your computer settings to enter sleep earlier and ditch the screensaver

Tinker with the settings of your computer to make sure they’re as sustainable as possible. To reduce your impact, prioritize battery life over performance whenever you can.

Set up your device to enter sleep mode earlier when you’re not using it and ditch the screensaver – it’s only draining power from the socket.

6. Buy any equipment you need second-hand

Has it come time to upgrade your laptop or get a chair that supports healthier posture? In that case, look for any second-hand options before buying new and use the rest of our sustainable shopping tips.

Nearly anything you may need for your sustainable office can be bought second-hand, from electronics to furniture. Not only will your decrease your environmental impact by doing this, but you’ll also be saving money!

7. Strategically use natural light

To save on your energy bills, choose the spot in your home that you create a home office in strategically and set it up in a way that allows you to use natural light as much as possible.

Right next to a large window is the best place to choose. To enhance the effect of natural light, choose light-coloured furniture and accessories for your sustainable home office so that they reflect the light coming in through the window.

8. Laptop rather than a desktop

Sustainable Home Office - Laptop

Depending on your profession, you may be able to choose between using a laptop or a desktop computer. If having a sustainable office is important to you, it’s always better to choose a laptop, because it consumes significantly less energy.

The one exception to this is if you need to update your hardware frequently due to the nature of your work, in which case a desktop is easier to update gradually compared to a laptop and therefore produces less waste.

That being said, for your typical sustainable home office, a laptop will always be more eco-friendly.

9. Make it minimalist

In general, the simpler your sustainable office is the better for the environment. Choose minimalist furniture and equipment and minimize clutter to discourage yourself from hoarding unnecessary items.

Minimalism and sustainability often go hand in hand, for this exact reason!

10. Decorate with plants

Sustainable Home Office - Indoor House Plants

How do you make your home office feel more pleasant? Decorating with plants is one of the best ways to do so, as it helps improve air quality as well as making you feel a little more like you’re outside rather than in an office. Some sources even say more plants in your sustainable office can help improve creativity and productivity!

If you’re new to the world of houseplants, some simple succulents, aloe vera, a peace lily or a snake plant are all great options. If you’re a little more experienced, why not try a bonsai tree?