"Green Office" at Home Office
More and more people in Austria are also working from home. But what about the workplace in a private environment? How can a home office be designed so that the workplace is then also environmentally friendly, healthy and safe?
Before COVID, working from home was still a niche topic. The term teleworking appeared around 40 years ago. Currently, there is a heated debate about the home office. After all, working from home is changing our working world and also influencing our private lives. What remains the same is that the environment, health and safety are important at every workplace, whether one works in the company or at home. But who equips such a home office, who makes the decisions about what to buy for the home office and who pays for it financially? Who bears the costs?
When it comes to purchasing office supplies and equipment, decisions can recently shift, especially when each individual purchases what is needed decentrally so that the home office can function as an office workplace. How can environmentally conscious office purchasing develop further under these conditions?
Frequent use of private equipment in the home office
A survey on home office conducted by IFES in November 2020 makes it clear that home office often lacks the necessary infrastructure. Where it is available, it is largely goods purchased privately by the employees, as the graph shows.
Since the Corona crisis has now made working from home suitable for the masses in one fell swoop, new regulations must be created. Since 1 April 2021, new legal framework conditions for working from home apply.
But is the home office compatible with the environment?
Environmental, health and safety requirements should definitely be taken into account when setting up a home office. And for good reason, because when selecting products and equipment, it is possible to specifically eliminate sources of pollution, for example, by using
- Office furniture that demonstrably complies with legally required emission limits or guarantees far better values,
- Office equipment such as copiers and printers with guaranteed low indoor air pollution and noise emissions at the workplace,
- Paints, varnishes, floor adhesives for office design that demonstrably emit only a minimum of residual emissions to indoor air,
- adhesives, inks for markers and correction systems guaranteed to be solvent-free,
- Low-pollutant cleaning agents
It is advantageous if the employer has already attached great importance to sustainability in the company and now also supports it in the home office. In any case, everyone can implement a healthy and sustainable office at home, from office swivel chairs to wall paint, from second-hand office furniture to recycled paper.
Even with a home office, remember that everyone spends 90% of their life indoors.
Taking care of good air is always a recipe for success!
- Healthy indoor air stimulates the brain. Your performance increases and so does your sense of well-being.
- Good indoor air keeps you healthy and also promotes a good mood.
- With healthy indoor air, you feel tired less quickly, you can concentrate better and you are not plagued by a drop in performance, headaches and other mood disorders.
- Good air also encourages you to breathe deeply.
Our tips for your green office at home
When making purchases, look for products with government Ecolabels: The Austrian Ecolabel, the Blue Angel and the EU Ecolabel ensure that indoor air is as low in pollutants as possible. Especially products that come into direct contact with the skin, such as surfaces or cleaning agents, should be safe for health.
- Second-hand office furniture is also good for health and the environment: pollutants have usually already evaporated from old furniture. Second-hand furniture is therefore recommendable from a health point of view and means a contribution to waste avoidance and the conservation of resources. In addition to commercial second-hand office furniture suppliers, high-quality brand-name furniture is available at favourable prices at Caritas`carla depot. The offer includes office cabinets, desks (manually or electrically height-adjustable), office swivel chairs, conference tables and chairs, desk lamps, lounge furniture and much more. The purchase is open to all interested parties.
- Recycled paper and finally less plastic in the office: 5,000 product recommendations for office and school can be called up with an input mask and at the touch of a button. Many of the articles carry a national Ecolabel. The recommended articles are available in shops throughout Austria.
- Home office - Answers to important questions about the workplace at home: The AK brochure provides competent information on 59 frequently asked questions.
- Costs, reimbursement of costs and tax in the home office: What are the new rules? Read about it in the blog Arbeit und Wirtschaft (Work and Economy) organised by the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK) and the Austrian Labour Union (ÖGB).
- From home work to home office - a photo labour story by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation: A small but extremely exciting history of home work. Many positive and negative experiences of home office have been known for 200 years, including the economic appropriation of the private sphere.