Working from Home

Business leaders have been asking “Do I need to include working from home in the business environmental impact planning?” And the answer is “You betcha!” Just like we need to ensure workers have a safe and healthy workplace, business owners and managers also need to consider the environmental impacts incurred by staff working from home.

When carrying out an environmental risk assessment we now need to consider if the staff member is doing anything different when working from home than working in the office, and if this activity has an impact on the environment in areas such as energy use, emissions creation and generation of waste. In most cases the impact will be close to negligible in comparison to activities undertaken by the company as a whole.

On the flipside one of the benefits of staff from working from home is the reduction in travel. This might mean a reduction in energy use and emissions from vehicles, and should be considered in company measures.

As requested in the feedback from last week’s article, here are some environmental ideas for hybrid and working from home:

  • Don’t print it! Keep your documents electronic wherever you can.
  • Choose coffee pods that are bio-degradable.
  • Think twice before using air conditioning – choose fresh ventilation when the weather isn’t extreme.
  • Shut it down. Turn off your computer overnight or on the weekend.
  • When upgrading equipment, send old computers to recyclers.
  • Dispose of old batteries and ink cartridges through collectors such as Officeworks.

These are simple little activities, but as James Clear tells us in Atomic Habits small steps can have a powerful impact over time.