Thursday, September 21, 2023

How can companies be more sustainable? The green revolution of virtual offices

Imagine a world where offices are wherever you are, commutes are a thing of the past, and teamwork spans continents with a single click.

This isn’t a dream – it’s the virtual office revolution and changing how we work.

But this isn’t just about convenience, high-end technology and maximizing business operations.

It’s also about something more significant – sustainable business practices. As we reframe our ideology behind work, we’re also reimagining how its impacts trickle down and affect the environment. 

Whether it’s renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions or finding a more sustainable supply chain, virtual offices play a vital role in achieving the goals set by the United Nations.

Before we look at ways businesses can be more sustainable, let’s analyze why environmental impact has become such a focus.

Green is the new Black

In a world where hashtags change as quickly as trends, there’s one sticking around: #Sustainability.

Sustainable practices in the modern business landscape aren’t going away and most companies recognize it’s no longer a buzzword. And the United Nations is the compass guiding businesses toward a more sustainable future through their global goals.

The international organization has created a global target of reducing emissions by 45% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Being conscious of your carbon footprint stems further than being nice to have.

Consumers have begun to focus their purchasing power on brands that stand for the planet. Brands that prioritize ethical sourcing, reducing their energy usage and taking steps to become carbon neutral are in the spotlight.

Obviously, it’s not just about being in the consumers’ good books, but it helps. Other than helping the world, your business is also increasing its chances of appealing to new consumers that support environmentally sustainable companies.

However, navigating your environmental impact as a corporate business is more challenging, so let’s look at how virtual offices can make you a more sustainable business.

How virtual offices champion sustainable practices

In the heart of our current era, where skyscrapers and fancy offices scream success, there’s a hidden hero: the virtual office.

A virtual office gives businesses an excellent address, mailing services, landline number, dedicated receptionist, secretarial support, along with access to meeting rooms and boardrooms. 

You receive all the amenities needed to run a successful business without physical office space and the environmental downsides.

Other than giving employees the ultimate flexibility, it has been paving the way for a more sustainable future since its creation in 1980 by Servcorp.

Get a comprehensive understanding on the ins and outs of a virtual office.

Environmental benefits of reduced office space

The construction of office towers is constantly underway and profound environmental implications exist. From drastic increases in carbon dioxide to negative impacts on global environmental goals, more office towers aren’t the answer.

But virtual offices are combating this issue.

1.) Decreased energy consumption

Picture a modern office with buzzing fluorescent lights, computers whirring and air conditioning on full blast. Now compare it to an office that’s just a laptop and a latte -your home office.

By working remotely through a virtual office, your business avoids power-hungry office buildings that guzzle electricity. Think of it as swapping from a high gas-consumption vehicle to an eco-friendly car – the idea is similar.

2.) Reduce resource wastage

Offices are notorious for wasting paper.

The average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper per year – a lot of which is wasted. Paper trails are also becoming outdated as people commonly forget where they place their files and often re-print documents after noticing mistakes.

The current age of ‘smart everything’ makes virtual offices the logical solution to minimize environmental impact. Digital documents that zip across emails at the speed of thought dramatically reduce paper waste and tame the towering paper mountains in offices.

3.) Cutting down commute created carbon emissions

The daily commute is already a disliked part of many workers’ routines and does no good for the environment. With the average American commuting just under one hour each day by car – up to 3.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced per person every year.

Now, imagine a leisurely stroll in the morning and enjoying a nice breakfast before logging on to work from home. Business owners and their teams don’t need to hit the road with a virtual office, which means fewer cars on the road during peak hours.

It’s better for the environment and removes the pesky headache of the commute – your team will appreciate it.

Leveraging technology for sustainable operations

The term ‘virtual office’ has a clear implication of technology.

Not only does it vastly improve business operations, safety and scalability, but it also reduces businesses’ carbon footprint.

1.) Digital document management

Assuming your business has no physical office and relies on a virtual office, you’d need to transition all documents digitally. The dusty file cabinets that take up space are no longer and creating streamlined folder online create a better systematic approach.

Not to mention the environmental benefit of saving paper!

2.) Cloud computing

Businesses that use a physical office also use cloud computing software but to a lesser degree. Companies with an office purchase servers and hardware worth thousands of dollars, which requires more office space and plastic material.

On the other side of the coin, virtual offices are completely reliant on cloud computing. Major providers such as Google offer several cloud software to optimize and streamline business operations whilst creating a share centralized system for all businesses to use their servers.

Cheaper, efficient and environmentally friendly: it’s a win-win situation.

Many businesses are harnessing a cloud-first strategy to streamline, scale and reduce cost operations.

Learn more about the cloud-first strategy.

3.) Video conferencing

Some large-scale companies commonly travel their team across the country for meetings. But there’s no need to increase your carbon footprint when video conferencing tools are available.

The same decisions and strategies can be made online whilst ensuring an environmentally friendly approach. 

How businesses can join the sustainability initiative

Not every business is in the position to leave their physical office.

But entrepreneurs looking to gain a foothold and companies looking to downsize or expand are in a great position to use a virtual office. You can also take it a step further by optimizing your virtual office setup!

Encourage sustainable setups

Virtual offices are inherently environmentally friendly and reduce energy usage.

But your efforts shouldn’t end there. Managers should encourage employees to use eco-friendly LED lights, energy-efficient monitors and chargers, along with simple practices like putting their laptops to sleep during lunch breaks.

Situate the office in a room with natural light to minimize electricity usage and consider limiting the heating or cooling

Your home office isn’t just a workspace; it’s a tiny ecosystem. Encouraging employees to feel accountable for their energy consumption is a policy in the right direction.

Use coworking spaces for collaboration

Sometimes it’s unavoidable and teams must meet up for project collaboration.

Businesses that occasionally need office space should opt for work models that offer energy efficiency. For example, coworking spaces are shared workspaces comprising many companies in one office.

This saves office space, energy and ensures you run a green business.

Scale without concern

Companies are often worried about their ESG statements when expanding. Is the office tower environmentally friendly? Will the expansion negatively affect their carbon footprint?
 

Businesses can comfortably expand without damaging the environment through a virtual office, and consider coworking spaces if in-person interactions are a must. 

The path is clear

Sustainability is not a burden, it’s an opportunity for businesses to define success on a broad canvas.
 

The synergy between virtual offices and sustainability  is a great sign for businesses, creating a world where operational efficiency harmonizes with ecological responsibility. 

From reduced carbon emissions, saving on energy consumption and reducing waste, the current path is clear and the answer lies with flexible workspaces.

Learn more about virtual offices and how to stay productive with a virtual office.

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