As a freelancer, you have the power and doesn’t it feel great?
While we all know that the Four Hour Work Week is a scam, freelancing is still a great lifestyle. You can control your own finances, you are in charge of what work you do, and you can decide when you work. It’s that simple. But you also have the power to do your bit for the environment.
It can be very easy to bury your head in the sand and not consider what your actions are having on the environment. Becoming more environmentally-friendly is a lot easier than you think; and it can also save you money.
Here are 6 easy ways to be a green freelancer:
Do you need to print out that paperwork for your client, or can you email it instead? If you have to print it, offer recycled options with recyclable paper. Encourage your clients to use paper, only when necessary and to print on both sides of the paper. Recycle your printer cartridges too.
Besides, in such tech-savvy times, who faxes anyway?
Do you really need to make all those trips to the client’s site, or could you communicate in another way? Nowadays, the vast platform available gives you an abundance of choice including Skype, video conferencing and phone call.
Try to cut down on the number of miles you travel. We recognise that it is important to speak to the client face to face initially, to build up a good relationship. However, whenever you need to go over anything, ask yourself; do you have to do it in person?
Donate to charity
There are a number of ways that you can donate to charity such as food and clothing banks; but why not join One Percent for The Planet? You give 1% of your sales to environmental charities around the world.
Recycle your equipment
Whenever you need to buy new equipment, give your existing items to someone else, or alternatively, recycle. So for example, if you are updating your computer and you are buying a new system, instead of just throwing it away, why not donate it to a dedicated recycling bank or use a retailer that has a take back scheme?
Make sure you delete all personal business information off the system before recycling it.
Where is your equipment from?
As a freelancer, you will most likely have all your own equipment. Ask yourself, where did it come from? Certain products are made from 100% recyclable material and there are sites that you can use like SmartPlant and Envirogadget.com, which give you information on technology and gadgets that has been designed to make the planet a better place.
Work from home
How ecological is your home office? Look round your office now and ask yourself;
- Are all the appliances on stand-by?
- Is the heating on unnecessarily with the windows open?
- Do you turn the lights off when they’re not in use?
- Are the walls insulated to save heat energy?
There are various methods that you can implement to ‘greenify’ your home, such as turning the thermostat down one degree; just check out the Which? Eco-house guide for top tips.
So next time you jump in your car to drive one mile to the client’s site, not only think about the impact on the ecosystem but also the effect on your wallet.
And consider this- there are a number of clients that will only hire freelancers that are sustainable. Elance, a website that freelancers can use to find work, lists eco-friendly professionals. Who knows, you could get new work based on your eco credentials?
This article was written by Lauren Grice on behalf of Nixon Williams, the specialists in freelancer accountants. Speak to the UK experts today for more advice and tips on being your own boss.