10 Ways to be an eco-friendly work from home freelancer

Whilst working from home could mean that you will be spending less on an office wardrobe and the associated piles of washing, you’ll also have reduced carbon emissions (no more commuting!), there are a vast number of things that aren’t as eco-friendly lurking in your home-working environment. We’re on a mission to get all our freelancers to think about their environmental footprint and explore the small things they can do, which collectively, will make a big impact. We’ve started you off with some quick wins on the road to green freelancing. 

10 ways to be an eco-friendly work from home freelancer

 

1) Print less

Obvious stuff, but seriously try to curb the habit. If you must print think of making sure you use recycled paper, eco-friendly inks, recycle your cartridges and when printing;  2 or more up on a page and double sided always please.  

2) Use natural lighting

Try to avoid leaving the light on in your home office, especially if you are working in the daytime. Natural lighting not only saves you some money off your electricity bill, but it can also have great health benefits. If you must use artificial lighting, ensure that the light bulbs are energy saving and only on when you need them. 

3) Switch to electrical notes

It is time to ditch your paper notepads for the ones on your computer or laptops. Picture a world where trees don't have to be used make paper and everyone writes on their smartphones and computers, won't that be great for the environment? 

4) Reduce the use of heaters and air conditioners

Yep, even when we had the heatwave. Whilst they both seem important, they can be harmful to the environment and your utility bills. What’s the alternative? When it’s cold, layer up clothing and keep the door closed (only heat the room you need to) - a slightly cooler working environment can be more productive. In the hot summer months, leave windows open so you that you can enjoy a natural breeze and close blinds or curtains to shade from any direct sunlight. If you're going to use cooling or heating make sure it’s set at a sensible level, only in the area you need it - why heat/cool the whole house if you’re mainly in one room during certain hours?

5) Say no to single use

Try as much as possible to stay away from single use anything - water bottles, cutlery, cups, pens etc. Join the ‘ditch plastic’ movement it’s not as hard as you might think. 

6) Go green with plants

Plants are known to bring balance to the environment by using up the carbon dioxide we produce, so it makes perfect sense to have some in your workspace or home office. In addition to being eco-friendly, plants will make your workspace a more enjoyable environment .

7) Reuse or recycle 

Before you throw that away, think about what you can do with it. Maybe you can turn that broken china into art or something useful… who knows you may find another skill you can start selling on fivesquid! If it’s not salvageable then make sure you recycle it - check with your local council and online many charities are on the hunt for specific items that you may think have no value - one person's rubbish is another’s treasure. 

8) Get on your bike

As a work from home freelancer you’re already ahead of the game by not commuting to work every day. However sometimes freelancers do need to meet clients / suppliers and sometimes a change of scenery is nice too. If you’re about to hop in your car think, could you walk or cycle? If not public transport or a carshare would lessen your environmental impact. 

9) Save water 

So many of us take water for granted and it’s easy to be unintentionally wasteful with water. While brushing your teeth turn off the tap - ditto with shaving and washing your face / hands. And any leaking taps, get them fixed asap. There are also many cost effective gadgets on the market to help you use less water such as a low flow shower head, area fillers for your toilet cistern, water butts for your garden, the list is endless. And on the subject of water it’s time to ditch those harsh cleaning chemicals that all end up in our water supply requiring more filtration to ensure it can be reused - vinegar or bicarbonate of soda to clean are a perfect alternative. 

10) Explore alternative energy 

You could explore alternative energy sources to power your home office. There are many options out there; solar, wind, heat pumps etc have a look at what’s available in your area and see what subsidies are available. If that’s too much of an initial outlay why not consider charging you laptop via pedal power - you’d save on gym membership too!  

 

There are so many little things that we can do to reduce our impact, some of them are super easy to implement. Others admittedly take a little more dedication, but not impossible. If you have any other eco-friendly tips we’d love to hear about them. 
 
fivesquid
@fivesquid