Working Green Using Virtual Assistants
These days everyone is talking about going green: green building, green recycling, and green commuting, green EVERYTHING! And with good reason; all reports indicate that global warming is on the increase; various animal species are on the decrease and near extinction. Much of this is due to the way we, and generations before us, have treated the planet.
As I read a recent copy of Backpacker magazine, the Global Warming issue, I thought about how truly “green” working and hiring virtually really is. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind, of course, but until I read more in-depth how we’re destroying our planet and what’s being done about it, I had a hard time relating the greenness of it all.
So what do we do to help the planet when we work and hire virtually?
- Assuming you own a vehicle with a whopping 30mpg and your daily commute is 30 miles each way and you worked at a bricks-and-mortar office (or forced your administrative assistant to drive to a bricks-and mortar office each day) five days a week, you (or your assistant) would emit 9,860 pounds of carbon each into the atmosphere per year! So if you hire a virtual assistant, as well as work virtually yourself, you would SAVE an amazing 19,720 pounds of carbon emissions per year. Source: Stanford University’s emissions calculator.
- While it’s hard to gauge exactly how much paper is used in a bricks-and-mortar office, what I can tell you is that our use of paper has gone down significantly since starting Team Double-ClickSM, a 100% virtual business. In the old days it was nothing to order as many as 10 cases (yes 50,000+ sheets of paper) in any given month. With a virtual business and by utilizing virtual assistants for 100% of the company’s work, we’re pushing a lot of paper if we use more than 2 reams (1,000) sheets a month. So again, working virtually wins: save on trees, save on carbon emissions caused by the processing and shipping of all those trees, which make all that paper.
- If we’re using less paper; we’re using fewer ink toners and cartridges.
- What about the carbon footprint we leave when we eat all of that fast food when we eat out while working at a bricks-and-mortar office? One article suggests that each of us, by eating three fast-food hamburgers per week, contributes to the emission of 1,188 to 2,013 pounds of carbon per year (this includes the energy used in the cooking of the burger as well as the commute to the burger joint). When you’re working virtually, you usually greatly reduce the number of times per week you eat out, thus reducing your carbon footprint once again. And you tend to use reusable containers instead of all those throw-aways.
- Most of us who work virtually also utilize virtual fax and phone systems, which again reduce our carbon footprint through reduced electrical carbon costs as well as reduced paper usage.
- If you have kids and you work in a bricks-and-mortar office (or if your assistant is forced to work in a bricks-and-mortar office) you’re contributing to greater emissions with all of those trips to pick up and drop off the kids at day care.
- While I couldn’t find any figures on the carbon footprint left from dry cleaning, we can safely assume it’s considerable. Working virtually significantly reduces the need for carbon-costly dry cleaning.
- Think about the “green” space we save by reducing the number of office buildings being put up.
- We hear about green building (the use of reclaimed or recycled building materials) often, but what about totally eliminating the need for that new building. This act alone reduces the carbon footprint in materials-savings.
- Let’s talk about the carbon-cost of powering a huge office space. Working virtually, you only have to power the room that you are working in
- Working virtually, you have the ability to choose green desks, packaging and materials
- And the most fun “green” feature of working virtually is the envy of all of your bricks-and-mortar friends, family, and associates!
As you can see, working and hiring virtually makes a significant impact on the reduction of ozone-depleting greenhouse gasses and reduces your carbon footprint. Team Double-Click and its staff (both internal and outsourced) have worked virtually since 2000 and are proud to contribute to a better planet for our children. If you’re interested in hiring or working virtually and helping the planet, be sure to visit us at www.teamdoubleclick.com.
For more information on working green, please visit http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/12/how_to_green_your_work.php#top10.
(Gayle Buske is the co-founder, president and CEO of Team Double-ClickSM, a leading virtual staffing agency. As the head of a virtual staffing agency with over 22,000 virtual professionals in its pool, Ms. Buske is uniquely qualified to aid clients’ growth through virtual outsourcing as well as speak to the ins and outs of the industry. Gayle enjoys spending her free time with her husband, business and life partner, Jim, their daughter Madison, practicing Yoga, reading, hiking, flower gardening, and playing with the family’s three dogs and two cats.)