While many will envy you for working in your pajamas, your home office still needs some fine-tuning to be motivating. You need to design your designated workplace and that is not as easy as it sounds. After all, you need to choose the right spot and decorate it to your taste.
The standard office is functional, but why not go a step further and make the space truly your own. One of the ways to do it is giving it a higher purpose, like helping the environment. It will not only make you feel better but also improve your mental health and be a source of inspiration. So, read on for tips to create a sustainable home office that will encourage productivity.
Fill your home office with plants
You probably heard that plants are great for minimizing stress to the mind and body. That is not an empty talk but actually, something confirmed through research. According to a study from the School of Psychology at Cardiff University, creating a green office can increase your productivity by 15%.
Plants in your office create a comfortable working space by lowering physiological stress and improving your attention span. Peace lily, philodendron, dracaena, and Ficus Benjamina are some of the plants ideal for your desk and home office. In case you lack conditions to have plants, decorating with artificial ones may also work as long as they’re believable. Wallpapers with nature motifs, like giant leaves, trees, and flowers may also be helpful, but in the end, nothing can beat the real thing.
Get eco-friendly furniture and office supplies
If you need new office furniture, shop models are made from sustainable materials. Bamboo and rattan are inexpensive and eco-friendly options for desks, shelves, and chairs. Alternatively, stop by yard sales and thrift shops since you may find some great second-hand pieces there.
The same applies to office materials. Refillable pens, recycled paper, and ink cartridges are some of the sustainable stationery you can buy in most shops. Of course, make sure to send your used material to the recycle bin so you can participate actively in making the planet healthier.
Take advantage of natural light
There are many benefits to having natural light in your office. Environmentally-wise, natural light means you will use less electricity for lamps and other artificial sources. You can also use solar desk lamps for periods when you need to turn the lights on.
Natural light is also a natural mood-booster, making you feel more energized, and in good spirits. To take advantage of sunlight, place your desk by the windows. To make your home office even brighter, hang a mirror opposite the window to reflect the light to the rest of the space. If sunlight goes into your eyes and prevents you from working, use a curtain that will lessen its shine but not prevent the light to enter the room.
Control the temperature without the HVAC
HVAC unit not only spends a lot of energy but also emits gasses into the air that contribute to global warming. While you can concentrate on work properly if you are feeling cold or hot, there are other ways to minimize the use of HVAC. First of all, make sure that sealants on the windows and doors are in place and working to avoid air from getting out.
During summers, you can use blinds and shutters when it’s especially hot, and the same can work during windy and freezing weather. Insulation is also a big deal in managing the internal temperature, so make sure it’s in place in areas like the basement, garage, or attic before setting up an office. In addition, regular servicing of your HVAC will make sure it’s in good shape so you don’t have to keep it working for hours to get the desired temperature.
Use energy-saving devices
Chances are you may have to buy a few devices for your home office, so make sure they are energy efficient. As mentioned before, solar desk lamps are a great option for home offices with lots of natural light. If you need standard lamps, you can use LED bulbs that don’t spend much energy and don’t emit heat.
When it comes to other devices, like printers and computers, look for those models that have an energy star label. However, keeping them turned off when you are not working or putting your computer to hibernate instead of using a screensaver can also be a sustainable behavior.
Share energy and costs with others
If you lack space at home or any other conditions to create an office, you have other options like renting an apartment or house. With so many people working remotely today, you can share the lease with others and save money. Sharing your working space doesn’t only pay off financially, but you are also not wasting away resources.
Look for properties that had the end of lease cleaning and housekeeping, as well as maintenance of HVAC and other appliances to make sure they are working properly. Appliances that are not serviced regularly can spend more energy than necessary or emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Also, ask your real estate agent to find you a place that is all about sustainability, with solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and smart home options.
Stop using paper or at least use it less
Today, you have at your disposal digital and cloud storing solutions that are more efficient and sustainable than using paper. You can invest in special software or use already available free solutions, like Google Drive. See what you need paper for and cut down its usage for things you can keep in the digital sphere.
Another option is using recycled paper and printing on both sides. Other than that, take notes on your phone or in the word processing software. Nature will appreciate it considering every day 80,000–160,000 trees are cut down and mostly used in the paper industry, based on the Global Forest Resource Assessment.
The bottom line
Setting up a home office can be beneficial both for you and the environment. A lot of sustainable options can enhance productivity, like plants, natural light, and recyclable materials. Moreover, knowing you are doing something unselfish can be a push you need to be more proactive.