How to Make Your Job or Career Greener - It’s Easier Than You Think

You can shape your working life to be eco-friendly.

Feature Image - How to Make Your Job or Career Greener. It’s Easier Than You Think

From our personal lives to our careers, sustainability has become a key focus for many people. We are making more conscious decisions on the transport we use, the way we heat our homes, and even how and where we work.

These last few years have brought the latter point under the limelight. As we have been granted more opportunities to work from home, the resulting reduction of transport emissions has shown just how much of an impact our daily commutes can have.

Carrying these benefits on as the world grapples with climate change is certainly one of the things we wish to keep.

In this article, we highlight how you can shape your working life to be eco-friendly.

Let's begin...

 

1. Work from home

 

The pandemic introduced many people to the new concept of working from home. In April 2020, the UK Office for National Statistics recorded that 46.6% of people in employment did some remote work. 86% of these people did so because of the pandemic, demonstrating a sharp shift in the working experience.

Naturally, working from home has caused a reduction in transport emissions. In the UK, for example, commuting emits 18 billion kg of CO2e every year. This is 25% of all transport emissions.

People working from home will contribute towards a reduction of these emissions. Therefore, choosing a job that enables you to work from home can help improve your personal environmental impact and is a sure-fire way to reduce your commuting emissions. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of not sitting in traffic with a lengthy commute!

In fact, working from home has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. Even before the pandemic, Google searches for ‘work from home jobs’ had seen a steady increase.

Between 2016 and 2019, searches for this term increased by 225. By 2020, this rose to 73% over the past five years. Google search scores represent the popularity of a search term based on a scale of 0 to 100. In 2016, this score was 49. In 2020, the score had an average popularity score of 85.

As of 2022, there were over 17.2 million global searches for the combined queries related to remote working, which is more than double the figure of 8.2 million in 2019. 

Google search scores for ‘work from home jobs’ by year

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

49

50

56

60

85

 

2. Build a sustainable, eco home

 

On the other hand, working from home means our home energy consumption increases. Let’s look at an average working schedule of 40 hours per week, 47 weeks per year.

In total, working from home means that you would spend an extra 1,880 hours at home per year. This is equivalent to 78 days. During this extra time, you’ll use your home appliances and heating more than usual, especially during the winter months. Let’s break down the numbers...

On average, the annual CO2 emissions of the energy you use at home would be around 3.2 tons for electrical and natural gas use. This poses a slightly different eco-challenge for those who are making the most of remote working capabilities to live in more rural locations.

Rural homes are more likely to use oil fuels to power their homes, a less sustainable fuel than natural gas which is more commonly used in domestic towns.

However, for those working from home and in remote locations, improving your environmental footprint can still be achieved by consciously making your home more eco-friendly. For example, choosing eco-paints and wallpapers for your walls and using renewable energy like solar energy, as well as off grid gas, LPG, as opposed to oil can reduce your carbon emission by around 20%.

And that’s not all. The carbon emissions from the gas can be offset through purchasing carbon credits which will be invested in sustainable carbon offsetting schemes such as tree planting initiatives to avoid further environmental impact.

 

3. Decrease waste

 

Our jobs impact the environment in more ways than just energy usage. If you work in an office, you may be surprised to find out that the average worker will go through 10,000 sheets of paper per year and throw away 500 disposable coffee cups. And when it comes to our lunch break, expect 20% to 30% of your meal to end up in the bin.

Waste is a massive issue in the workplace, and it is up to employers and employees to contribute to fixing it. Fortunately, this couldn’t be simpler. Question whether you need to print out that email or document. Use a mug or reusable flask for your coffee and tea, and make sure you eat all of your lunch – or save the leftovers to enjoy when the afternoon slump kicks in!

It’s more than just a problem of space too. The average landfill size is already 600 acres, but the emissions that these sites produce is the real issue. When this waste is broken down, the process releases methane, a gas closely linked to climate change.

In fact, 14.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses were emitted by landfills in the UK alone in 2019. While the number is astronomical, we shouldn’t forget that we all contribute to this. Avoiding waste is key, especially in our own jobs.

 

In Conclusion

 

Environmental issues are at the front and center of our home and professional lives. It is our actions and choices that affect the environment, so will you be choosing a career that allows you to achieve a sustainable lifestyle?


George Mathews is a staff writer for WebWriterSpotlight.com. He is passionate about personal growth and development.