I’ll start this post with a confession; I’ve never really been the ‘green’ type. Sure, I do my bit by recycling our household waste, but I don’t live and breathe environmentalism.
Sometimes, however, statistics catch you completely off guard. This happened to me recently, when I inadvertently discovered that 80% of all urban areas suffer from air pollution levels that are north of what is considered safe.
That really did take me by surprise, and forced me to look at the way I run my business, because even though the majority of my work involves sitting behind a laptop, I’m conscious there are several things I do every day which vastly widen my carbon footprint.
This led me to the startling realisation that, if I became just a little greener in the way I run my business, my mini empire would become leaner, easier to manage and – most importantly – more enjoyable to run.
I’d like to share with fellow small business owners what I plan to do, because it just might help you, too.
I intend to get away more
In the UK, many people will tell you we’re never more than three hours away from a weekend break, and I think that sums up perfectly how easy it is to book a short holiday whenever required.
I’ve not done this nearly enough, but know in doing so I’ll reduce the amount of energy both my company and brain uses, enabling them to recharge and refresh regularly.
I’ll turn stuff off
I’ve been a bit of a devil for leaving devices on when not in use. Lights and computers is my forte, and by leaving them on I’m needlessly raising my business overheads and contributing to that 80% of damaging air pollution.
Now, I turn my main Mac off when not in use and spend more time running from my laptop’s battery, which is more than capable of getting me through the majority of the working day.
I’ll finally dispense with all paperwork
My business isn’t particularly heavy on paper use, but there’s still stuff I print off needlessly or mailings that I fail to recycle correctly.
If you work in a profession such as marketing or sales, I firmly believe that you can achieve a paperless office – it isn’t the impossibility many would have you believe. I’ll be thinking ultra-carefully about any use of paper in my business from now on and will always seek digital alternatives.
More meetings will be held via Skype
I’ve fallen in love with Skype recently. The ease by which I can hold face-to-face conversations with people all over the world is incredibly addictive – but I don’t use it enough.
The car is still called upon too often in my business, so from now, I’ll be leaving it parked on the drive and spend my time instead demonstrating the benefits of remote collaboration with my clients and partners.
I’ll pay attention to how long I’m working each day
It sounds like something of an oxymoron, but the less time you work each day, the more stuff you get done. The reason for this is simple; by working more concentrated hours, you’ll focus on completing tasks that are both achievable and resolutely focused on an end goal.
I’ve often failed miserably at this by working every hour god sends and worrying constantly about how much time I’m putting into the business. I’m now running a much tighter ship and being realistic with my to-do list. That means higher levels of productivity and less time sat at the computer using precious energy and resources.
I still don’t consider myself an environmentalist, but my focus on the above tactics has made me far more considerate about the world I live in. It’s also enabling me to strip down the business and make it incredibly light on its feet.
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.