Telecommuting: Good for the Planet and Your Business

May 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Print Friendly

By Lea Green

Telecommuting is a trend often overlooked in the green jobs movement; it greatly reduces pollution caused by long commutes and cuts down on energy and space requirements in office buildings. If you are looking to begin telecommuting, or just need some tips on how to remain productive while working from home, read on.

People often associate green jobs with those focused on renewable or solar energy, such as wind turbine fabricator, sustainability systems developer or solar panel installer. They aren’t wrong. Obviously these industries greatly benefit the planet. However, a growing trend often overlooked in the green jobs movement is telecommuting.

Telecommuting has been around since the 1970s, but has become increasingly popular in recent years as technological advancements, such as video conferencing, smartphones, apps and high-speed wireless networks, transform the traditional meaning of “working from home.” Since 2005, telecommuting has increased by 73 percent in the United States and an impressive 474 percent within the U.S. government sector [].

Telecommuting is a simple, but powerful tool for planet wellness. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of jobs currently held by U.S. employees could be done at home. When fewer people drive to work, fewer tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Every year, the U.S. workforce consumes 67 billion gallons of gas. A telecommuting workforce would save two billion gallons of gas annually while also reducing total vehicle miles traveled by 35 billion. Can you imagine the impact this would have on the planet?

How to Take the First Step

If you’re interested in telecommuting but aren’t quite sure how to approach your manager, it’s important to consider that your boss will most likely be asking three questions:

  • Will you be able to do your job from home? Or will you require extra tools?
  • Will this change make you a more satisfied employee?
  • Will you actually be able to perform your job better? How will this increase in performance be measured?

Make sure you are prepared to address each of these questions and support your position. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your boss. It doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want, but as with any request for change, be prepared to explain how this modification in your work arrangement will benefit both you as an employee as well as the company at large. Consider a part-time telecommuting arrangement at first, starting with one day a week, to demonstrate your discipline and productivity, and move from there.

How to be the Model Telecommuter

Once you convince your manager that working from home is not only a win for you, but also a win for the business from a financial and productivity standpoint, you may need to make adjustments to your work style to stay productive in a new, yet familiar work environment. If you’ve never worked from home before, you’ll immediately recognize all the distractions that now surround you: the dishes in the sink, the laundry sitting upstairs, the dog…

Here are some tips to help you resist distractions and maintain productivity while telecommuting.

Designate a separate work space. Create an area within your home specifically intended as your at-home office. It should be located in an area closed off from the rest of the house to provide an environment that allows you to concentrate. Make your office space as inviting as possible so that you are enthusiastic about returning to it habitually. Treat it as you would an in-office space, but allow for plenty of creativity as well.

Organize your home office. Most people don’t achieve optimum productivity in a cluttered environment, and organizing your space will significantly increase efficiency and focus. Organize your space so that you can find information and files quickly and technology is easily accessible, enabling you to finish tasks quicker and achieve greater focus in your work.

Invest in telecommuter-friendly technology. Smartphones, tablets, apps, and high-speed networks will all make your life easier. Tools such as iMeet [], a video conferencing solution created by PGi [], help you maintain face-to-face contact with teammates and clients, allowing you to stay up to date on the day-to-day tasks at hand, while also allowing you to feel more connected with your coworkers, regardless of geography. Other essential virtual tools for the telecommuter include social media integrators like Tweetdeck [], creative presentation maker Prezi [] and Spotify [] can help keep you motivated with some great tunes.

Create a routine and stick to it. Stick to your daily habits, whether you are working from home or going into the office. Wake up at the same time every day, have your daily cup of coffee, eat a good breakfast, and plan your day ahead—whatever gets you moving and into “work mode.” Outline your day so that you can maintain work/life balance and fully unplug at the end of the day, allowing you to refuel before the next work day begins.

Dress as if you were going into the office. It may seem pointless but dressing at least semi-professionally will transition you more fluidly into a “work” mindset. This small step can immensely help improve your attitude and productivity as well as prepare you for any last-minute video conference meetings.

Telecommuting is a great way to cut costs, manage your work/life balance, and to give a little back to the planet by reducing pollution from a daily commute.  To learn more about the benefits and pitfalls of telecommuting, download PGi’s free eBook: The Yin + Yang of Telecommuting [].

Lea Green is PGi’s Content Director, Strategy and Communications, and telecommutes regularly. A storyteller who has been on all sides of the consumer story, she enjoys exploring the intersection of content, customers and brands to create meaning in consumers’ lives. With a background in advertising and content marketing, she strives to connect with consumers by distilling the complex into the compelling. She writes for and manages the PGi Blog [] and is passionate about collaboration technologies, writing, art, yoga, and improving our planet’s well-being. Find her on Twitter @lelainey [www].

Environmental News from Living Green Magazine – Where Green Is Read.


Tags: , , , ,

Category: Featured Articles, Green Business, greenovations

Comments are closed.