The cost savings associated with the at-home business model has made the American dream of being your own boss more accessible to many hopeful entrepreneurs. From one-person start-ups to large, full-scale corporations, the virtual office has consistently shown both increases in cost savings and creative output, when contrasted with the traditional 9-to-5 workplace. An added plus is the ability at-home businesses have to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re looking for a way to make your mark on the business world without compromising your green sensibility, here’s what you need to know.
Save the Freewheeling Road for Vacations – Whether your ride is a diesel bus or gas-guzzling minivan, eliminating the two-times-a-day, five-days-a-week commute can save significant amounts of quantifiable time and money. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if Americans worked from home just a few days a week, our greenhouse gas emissions would go down by 1,600 pounds annually. Working from home five days a week would up that number considerably, plus reduce weather-related traffic accidents by getting workers off the road during severe storm conditions.
Buy Better – Working at home puts you in control of both the equipment you buy and the amount of time you stay plugged in. Rebates and tax incentives for energy-efficient office equipment are available for items such as cordless phones, answering machines, computers, copiers, mailing machines and printers. Investing wisely in your office equipment will ultimately yield higher savings in energy costs, particularly if you couple them with sensible, energy-efficient choices for appliances and leisure time electronics.
Set Limits and Power Off – For many people eager to succeed and put their businesses on the map, the hardest thing about working from home is knowing when to close the virtual door. Create a schedule and set limits so you can establish a boundary between your work and home life, even if your office is run from the bedroom. Powering down is not only necessary for your brain but also for your energy bill. If your workaholic habits do get the better of you and you find yourself burning the midnight oil, make sure to safeguard against power outages, particularly if your office equipment will be in use at the same time as household appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer. In order to maintain productivity and avoid missing important deadlines, consider installing a back-up generator to keep the power and your workflow humming, and remember to turn off the lights and other appliances when they’re not in use.
Say No to Snow Days – At-home businesses enjoy a higher rate of worker productivity, based in large part to a significantly reduced rate of absenteeism. Not needing to call in sick during severe weather conditions can supply you with a significant edge over your competition, particularly if you decide to install your own back-up power and losing electricity is not a potential threat.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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