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9 Sustainable Business Practices for Remote Teams

If you are a remote employee, there’s good news and bad news.

Good news: You have a 54% lower carbon footprint compared with onsite workers.

Bad news: Discarded office furniture is a major contributor to landfills, and about 17 billion pounds of office assets go to landfills each year.

While not everything is under our control, but even a single, small contribution can make a difference in the current climate crisis.

This article walks through 9 sustainable practices for remote teams.

1. Recirculate Company Equipment

According to the 2019 Sustainability Report, reusing a laptop can lead to a 36% reduction in CO2e emissions. For instance, while a new laptop has a carbon footprint of 300kg CO2e, a refurbished laptop's carbon footprint is only 75kg CO2e, resulting in a significant 75% reduction.

This helps conserve resources, eliminate waste, reduce emissions, and promote a circular economy.

For example, Workwize’s offboarding feature promotes equipment circularity by managing the retrieval, storage, and re-integration of client equipment. There is no need to buy or rent from scratch. 

2. Repair Before You Replace

If a device is malfunctioning, attempt to repair it before disposing of it. This approach saves money and reduces waste. With over 1.5 billion smartphones produced annually, extending their lifespan by just one year could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Encourage employees to seek repairs for their devices and provide resources or recommendations for reliable repair services.

3. Purchase Refurbished or Eco-Friendly Products

When purchasing office equipment and supplies, prioritize refurbished or eco-friendly products. Opt for energy-efficient devices, such as laptops and monitors with Energy Star certifications, to minimize power consumption. Choose office supplies made from recycled materials, like recycled paper and biodegradable pens. Encourage team members to shop locally and support businesses that prioritize sustainability.

4. Reduce Paper Usage and Embrace Digital Alternatives

In the digital age, there's no need for excessive paper usage. Encourage your team to embrace paperless practices by utilizing digital tools for documentation, communication, and collaboration. Implement electronic signature solutions to eliminate the need for physical contracts and agreements. Use cloud storage and file-sharing platforms to store and access documents remotely. Some include:

  • Google Drive for collaborative document editing and storage.
  • Dropbox for secure file sharing and syncing across devices.
  • Evernote for digital notetaking and organization.
  • Trello or Asana for project management and task tracking.

5. Optimize Energy Efficiency in Home Offices

Encourage remote team members to optimize energy efficiency in their home offices. Suggest using natural light whenever possible and investing in energy-efficient LED bulbs.

Remind them to turn off devices and appliances when not in use and to adjust thermostat settings to conserve energy.

Share tips on proper insulation and sealing of windows and doors to minimize heat loss or gain. 

6. Partner With Sustainable Suppliers and Service Providers

When selecting suppliers and service providers for your remote team, prioritize those with a strong commitment to sustainability. Look for companies that use eco-friendly materials, implement green practices, and have a proven track record of reducing their environmental impact.

For example, choose a web hosting provider that relies on renewable energy sources or a shipping company that offers carbon-neutral delivery options.

Not only this supports sustainable practices, but it also sends a strong message to your stakeholders about your company's values and commitment to environmental responsibility.

Furthermore, consider partnering with organizations that offer carbon offset programs or contribute to reforestation efforts.

CTA - Lepaya case study

7. Establish Policies and Guidelines for Sustainable Practices

To ensure that sustainable practices are embedded in your remote team's culture, establish clear policies and guidelines.

For example, create a "Green Code of Conduct" that outlines expectations for energy conservation, waste reduction, and eco-friendly purchasing decisions. Encourage employees to share their own sustainability tips and ideas through a dedicated communication channel.

Regularly review and update these policies to reflect the latest best practices and innovations in sustainable remote work.

8. Promote Sustainable Transportation Options

Even though remote work eliminates daily commutes, there may still be occasions when employees need to travel for work-related purposes. Encourage the use of sustainable transportation options, such as public transit, carpooling, or electric vehicles.

Consider offering incentives or subsidies for employees who choose eco-friendly travel options. When planning company retreats or off-site meetings, select locations that are easily accessible by public transportation or within close proximity to minimize travel distances. Encourage virtual meetings and video conferencing whenever possible to reduce the need for physical travel altogether.

9. Set Sustainability Goals and Track Progress

To drive continuous improvement, set specific sustainability goals for your remote team and regularly track progress. Establish metrics such as energy consumption, paper usage, and carbon emissions and monitor them over time. Celebrate milestones and achievements to keep employees motivated and engaged. Conduct annual sustainability audits to identify areas for improvement and set new targets. Here are some examples:

  • Set a goal to reduce paper usage by 50% within the next 6 months by implementing digital workflows and paperless practices.
  • Encourage the use of energy-efficient devices and practices to reduce energy consumption in home offices by 20%.
  • Offset carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy projects or carbon offset programs.

Reduce Carbon Emissions with Workwize

Workwize lets you pocure, deploy, manage, retrieve and dispose of your IT assets in an eco-friendly manner. 

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