These unprecedented times have presented a number of significant challenges and sometimes unexpected opportunities. When it comes to the working environment, the one consistency shared by most of the working population has been ‘change’. Change is often disruptive, it can create feelings of anxiety, disrupt productivity and throw up a whole host of challenges that need to be overcome.
Words and terms such as “Furlough” and “Working from Home” have become trending topics across the UK. Here we want to cast an eye over working from home and look at ways we can make sure our energy bills don’t spiral out of control and to hopefully help overcome some of the other negative aspects we may be faced with. For some of us, the end (even temporarily) of the daily commute has not only saved on frustration and time, but a great deal of money. Train costs are on a seemingly never-ending upward curve and with more cities introducing pollution reduction zones, commutes of many kinds are only going to become more expensive. It would be a shame to cancel out these potential savings by adding more onto your energy bills. So, what can you do in the home to save energy?
Spend some time to consider and set up your home-based workspace
Space may be at a premium but jamming yourself into the under stairs cupboard may not be the best solution. For one, smaller spaces aren’t going to help with anxiety, which will raise stress levels. A small dark cupboard is also likely to require lighting, even in the day time.
On top of that, it won’t take too many electrical devices to start making a very small space start feeling uncomfortably warm. Feeling uncomfortable in any sense is not going to help productivity so stuffing yourself into a cramped space should be avoided when possible. Creating a need for air conditioning or a fan will also be an extra energy drain. Instead, try to set yourself up in a position that can take advantage of natural light. Open windows when possible and make sure you have enough work space to be comfortable.
This doesn’t have to be a permanent set up. You could always set your working hours and take over a temporary office space during these hours. Then at the end of the day, put everything away again. This will help distinguish between the working day and downtime, helping to stop you becoming burnt out or unable to switch off.
Have a plan when it comes to breaks
One of the great advantages of being away from the watchful eye of superiors is the ability to take a break when you want to, not when prescribed by the company you work for. However, all of those extra trips to the kettle, another slice of toast, or a relaxing lunch time bath will all help add pounds onto your bills.
To keep the rises as low as possible try to only boil as much water as you need in the kettle, and try to stick to a break schedule. Little and often will lead to the fridge being opened more than usual, extra lights being turned on, hot water being used more often and this will all add to your overall usage. By being a little more disciplined with yourself, you can reduce how much extra energy you are using, which will help you to take advantage of the savings you have made when cutting out the commute.
Be strict with yourself and work during work time
As obvious as this may seem, being at home during the working day and trying to actually work can be much harder than it sounds. Pets, children, spouses and our home comforts can all act as distractions. As much as we love them all (most of the time), your productivity and your bank balance will benefit if you can maintain your focus on work. This is because getting distracted will lead to the laptop being left on longer than it otherwise would, as well as lights, printers and anything else.
If working from home looks as though it might be a longer-term arrangement, then you may want to think of some longer-term solutions to saving energy:
- More energy efficient equipment, replacing older more power-hungry appliances could save you money in the long run.
- Switch your light bulbs to a more energy efficient type.
- Have a look at your current energy deal. You may have had a great deal for your gas and electricity when your usage was lower. Now is the time to check if that still holds true and consider switching suppliers if there are better deals to be had.
- Keep things fresh by making your office space more mobile. If you can work entirely from your laptop, maybe a few hours at your local coffee shop will be a much-needed tonic to break up the monotony. The added bonus here is that you won’t be using any energy in your home.
- Turn off standby devices when they are not in use and turn off lights when you leave the room.
- Wait until your dishwasher is full before turning it on.
- Consider a smart thermostat to more efficiently heat your home.