With the state of the planet making its way from once being an afterthought, now to the forefront of how we live, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we as humans can do our part to pitch in. The way in which we approach work, for example, can have mega effects on our carbon footprint as an individual as well as part of a workforce.
Coming up on April 22, 2020 is Earth Day. As a way to celebrate and recognize the importance of the environment, this guide will cover:
Waste Problems You Can Solve Right Now
2 Critical Insights About Remote work
Web Conferencing Features That Make Going Green A Breeze
Read on for effective ways in which switching over or incorporating more web conferencing ag practices in your everyday impacts the planet for the greater good.
Small Steps Lead To Big Change
“The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there’s a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I’ve been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely, we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species.” — David Attenborough
For years now, words like “sustainability,” “carbon footprint,” and “climate change” have been a part of our common vocabulary and for good reason. These terms serve as a reminder that most of what we do has a cause and effect.
Offices are designed as spaces for people to do work. They are laid out in a way that promotes productivity and efficiency by creating harmony for workers. Open concept, or cubicles. Overhead lighting or large windows. Desks or tables. Everything you need from coffee to computers is available.
While this has proven to enhance the working atmosphere and bring in results for companies and workers, as the times change, our approach to how work gets done needs to as well.
The Environmental Benefits Of Video Conferencing
5. Reduce Supplies
Did you know?
An American worker consumes approx 2 pounds worth of paper product every day, which can amount to 10,000 sheets per year!
Every office comes loaded with a variety of supplies to accommodate the flow of work. Just think of every printer station you’ve ever seen with its boxes of paper clips, reams of paper, cartridges of ink and toner, cleaner, pens, staplers, and staples – the list goes on. Think of meetings with clients that require branded notebooks and pens, pamphlets, and takeaways.
Or all the printed documents like reports, memos, print-outs and more. Consider the print mistakes, bills, presentations, briefs and single-sided print jobs that get printed on the regular.
Pieces of paper you don’t use is money saved and compounded over time. Eliminating all the frills that come with in-person meetings cuts costs and dramatically reduces waste. Pick and choose which meetings can be done at the office or brought online.
While some tangible pieces might be necessary, online meetings replace the need for hard materials by providing digital ones that are easy to access, share and only need to be printed on a need-to-have basis.
4. Cut Down Trash
Did you know?
One American worker, in the span of a year, on average, uses 500 single-use coffee cups.
Take a look around at lunchtime and you’ll quickly see how much trash accumulates from ordering delivery. Pizza boxes, takeout containers and their lids, extra packets of ketchup, salt and pepper, bags, and perhaps the most wasteful of all – straws and plastic cutlery.
Then there’s the leftover food and snacks. Whenever you cater, it’s common practice to order too much rather than not enough, especially if you have important clients to impress.
And what about bigger conferences that come with extra-large platters meant to feed 100 plus people? Where does that untouched food go? Hopefully, someone can take it home but that’s not always the case.
Provide mugs and plates for coffee and lunches. Try implementing a basic recycling program to lessen extra trash. Leftover food? Contact a charity or shelter.
3. Minimize Plastic
Did you know?
Americans consume and throw out 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour – only 20% are recycled.
Plastic is found in most offices. To avoid the pains of having to wash forks, spoons, and knives in the kitchen, many workplaces will opt for plastic cutlery. It may be more convenient in the moment but single-use plastic unnecessarily adds to landfills and the oceans. Polystyrene cups, plates, packaging too.
It may not be as convenient, but having real cutlery mandated by a strict “wash your on dishes” policy or providing a dishwasher greatly reduces the amount of plastic ending up in landfills.
2. Conserve Energy
Did you know?
Americans consumed 2.39 billion barrels of motor gasoline in 2019. One barrel equals 42 gallons. That’s 142.23 billion gallons in a year at 389.68 million gallons per day.
Transportation uses precious resources. If you drive to work, you have to fill the tank of your car to sit in traffic on the way to and from work. The average American’s commute is 26.9 minutes. That’s 26.9 minutes or more each way of CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases being emitted.
Tack on more distance, more gas, more emissions, and more traffic if you’re coming into the city from the suburbs or a neighboring town. Even public transport requires fuel to move which releases CO2 emissions and can be just as time-consuming.
Implementing different ways of using video conferencing can reduce time spent on the road. That meeting you had to drive into town to attend can suddenly be done from home or at a coworking space nearby by means of video conferencing or conference call.
But the biggest way video conferencing greatly influences how we affect the environment is:
1. Working Remotely
Did you know?
There are 3.9 million Americans who work from home at least half-time. Their annual environmental impact equals:
- Vehicle miles not traveled: 7.8 billion
- Vehicle trips avoided: 530 million
- Tons of greenhouse gases avoided (EPA method): 3 million
- Reduced traffic accident costs: $498 million
- Oil savings ($40-50/barrel): $980 million
- Total air quality savings (lbs. per year): 83 million
Their carbon savings is equivalent to:
- Tanker trucks of gasoline: 46,658
- Homes powered by electricity for a year: 538,361
- Tree seedlings needed to offset (grown over 10 years): 91.9 million
Work can take employees near and far for business trips and meetings across town, in another part of the country or in a different continent altogether. This can be a dream for some, for others a waste of time and resources. Whichever way you look at it, being on the road all the time can be exhausting. Conversely, going back and forth between home and the office can be monotonous.
The flexibility to have both and find balance means you can cut down travel that saves time, money and your affect on the environment without having to sacrifice exploring new places or meeting new colleagues of the same company at a different office.
This is where “working remotely” comes in.
Work from home opportunities provides employees, employers and the environment with multiple benefits across the board. Consider these two ideas that reason why good work can still happen outside of the office:
The reason for high-density cities and areas is because of workers seeking out better career opportunities. That could mean living closer to the office or being in proximity to attend interviews. Living downtown means a higher cost of living, and for many, city life isn’t what a lot of people want.
Taking work online via two-way communication technology decentralizes where work happens. People can choose to live where they want, whether that be a small town, a big city or on the road. Small towns can grow and expand while big cities get a bit of a reprieve to become greener, and less heavily populated and polluted.
Sharing Space and Tools
From both a business and environmental perspective, coworking spaces just make sense. Rather than each individual company seeking their own office, they can opt to be under the same roof with other like-minded businesses. The cost of heating, cooling, electricity – even supplies, furniture, kitchen space and utensils, cups, glassware – everything becomes shared.
This dramatically cuts down costs for businesses and is less invasive for the planet. A coworking space becomes its own ecosystem of a community that lessens waste and overconsumption, while still providing a set-up for teams or solo workers to accomplish their work.
Consider too how a lot of modern co-working spaces have been revamped and renovated to meet eco-friendly standards. Some spaces steer clear from using “virgin” materials opting only to use recycled items for flooring, walls, deco, etc. Bicycle spaces and locks are provided to encourage a greener way of transport. Some even go as far as to renewable energy sources and composting!
Let’s talk about how companies can save money by going green
Taking some steps to go green saves companies money. Sure you can set up a carpooling schedule or provide reusable products like insulated branded shopping bags. But what really lightens the load on the planet and your pocket is encouraging remote work.
And it doesn’t even have to be every day! Consider the benefits of telecommuting one day a week, one week a month, one month every year.
Or give up office space completely!
Office space, whether large or small, isn’t cheap especially if you’re located in the heart of the city amongst the hustle and bustle of people and places.
As of 2018, London’s West End came in at #2 for the world’s most expensive office space at $235 per square foot. Hong Kong takes first place at $306 per square foot.
Ok, if having zero office space isn’t an option, video conferencing at the office some days and at home other days, certainly helps the planet.
By bringing your business online, you can still be a productive member of your team while pitching in to be a positive influence on the planet. Let a two-way group communication platform assist you with how work gets done. It’s a lot simpler and effective than you think!
Web Conferencing Features That Make A Difference
A robust web conferencing platform comes loaded with features that enable you to connect seamlessly. It’s these features that enrich the online experience, blurring the line between virtual and in person.
Plus, they do their part to make video and audio conferencing that much more “green.” Consider the following:
The screen sharing feature allows any participant to share exactly what’s on their screen with other participants. This is perfect for training, presenting or collaborating on projects with remote participants
Everyone is literally on the same page – digitally – without all the printouts, packaging, booklets, and handouts that require supplies.
Use screen sharing for your next sales demonstration, on-location tour, collaborative creative project or data presentation.
Collaborate in real-time and get creative by making abstract ideas more concrete. Use images, shapes, and colors to bring your rough idea to life without having to make expensive mock-ups or host in-person brainstorming sessions that require travel.
Use the online whiteboard for your next logo design briefing, classroom lesson or project status update.
The second best thing in person, video conferencing lets you meet face to face, in real-time from anywhere, at any time. Cut travel time, costs and emissions. No need to drive, fly or sit in traffic when you can be at home and somewhere else at once!
Use video conferencing for your next job interview, one-on-one with your boss or teleseminar.
Let FreeConference.com provide you with technology that enables you to produce high-quality work in a way that’s less harmful to the planet. By adopting more work from home practices, we can all help to lessen the blow of pollution, waste and unnecessary consumption of resources. We have so many options that lead to a happier planet, and video conferencing technology is one of them.