Telecommuting as Part of a Green Lifestyle

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Telecommuting: good for your employer, you, and the environment! (infographic courtesy of workshifting.com)

There is a volunteer on our farm, who has a small, out-of-the-way family farm for self-sufficiency. He works online a couple days a week making reservations for a cruise ship. He has a good paying job, which allows him to stay at home with his kids and wife and work on the farm.

Technology lets people live more sustainable lives, by putting them in touch with businesses that want virtual workers. It’s the best of both worlds – living in the country and having a good job!

Cost of commuting

Many commuters drive to work, and most of them are alone in their cars. By working just two days a week from home, telecommuters could save billions of gallons of gas every year. Saving gas means fewer emissions, stretching natural resources and reducing air pollution. Fewer cars also reduce the need to expand our highway system, which would eat up a lot of open land.

There are different types of work-from-home jobs. Some large corporations let employees work from home a couple days a week. Some businesses have a large, full-time telecommuter pool, and some folks have virtual jobs (like me, writing for BuildDirect). All benefit the environment.

How telecommuting saves energy, time, and money for companies

Corporations are finding that telecommuting jobs save them money on energy for heating, cooling and lighting, since there are fewer workers needing desks. With staggered schedules, part-time telecommuters can share a desk, which saves space. This translates into smaller buildings, lower energy and maintenance costs, and less real estate expense. Workers are in the office part of the week, so meetings can be scheduled on those days.

Some corporations have a large number of full-time telecommuters. This allows more flexibility for workers to balance working and living. They are free to relocate if someone in the family needs to move. They can work hours that fit into their lifestyle, and they can live in remote places, if they so desire. There are apps for holding meetings, and much business can be taken care of via email and chat.

How telecommuting reduces carbon footprints for workers

Walking to your office from the coffee pot first thing in the morning is relaxing and rewarding. That’s one reason telecommuting is getting more and more popular among employees. However, it also benefits businesses and reduces CO2 emissions and pollution, helping the planet.

The cost of doing business at home is much less than at an office. There is no need for a big wardrobe. There are no parking fees. Workers don’t eat out, and they tend to eat better at home. Day care costs are reduced or eliminated. Telecommuters don’t need to miss days for doctor appointments or home repair jobs. Working at home is in line with a simplified lifestyle, because consumption can be cut drastically.

Home workers tend to use less paper, storing docs online instead. They don’t print and fax as much as office employees do. This saves paper and energy. The energy used at home is half that used at an office. Telecommuters need to be aware that heating and cooling their own workspace can offset the emissions they save by working at home. Closing off the office off from the rest of the house is effective.

Other benefits of telecommuting

Telecommuting is less stressful than traveling, dealing with office politics, looking busy when you’re not, and dealing with discrimination. That in turn means higher productivity. If people feel they are actually living and not just working all the time, then work is more enjoyable, and they are motivated to do better in all aspects of life.

If you feel stuck in a job, find out if your company will allow you to work at home. Stress levels are reduced with even two days a week telecommuting. It is cheaper for a corporation to let you work at home than it is to lose you and retrain someone else. Hey, all they can do is say no, and you can be on your way to something better and more people- and earth- friendly.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.