Loren Forbes, CRM’s specialist on all things green, has observed an interesting consequence of our changing working practices through the pandemic – the reduction in carbon emissions that companies either unwittingly or deliberately are making.

And CRM is no exception. “Like most of our staff, I’m working from home much more, so I’m saving a lot of emissions by keeping the car on the drive, I’m not missing that wasted commuting time and I’m saving an awful lot on fuel too. I find I’m more productive working at home although I do miss seeing my colleagues in person at the office,” said Loren.  

It’s not just the savings in travel that have had a positive impact on companies’ green credentials, but also the way we work, with processes being adapted for a remote workforce. “We’re printing out far fewer documents and there is much less demand for paper in the CRM office right now,” says Loren.

“We use a secure private server to share files and documents between the team and I find it so much easier to amend, update and have work checked on the server. When we need to share documents with clients, we use a secure file sharing platform like Iris OpenSpace and Dropbox. So out of necessity, we’re managing paperwork better and benefiting the environment at the same time.”

Loren arrived at CRM three years ago with a deep-rooted passion for the environment. At her previous banking job, she advised clients on green grants and loans and was delighted to take on the ‘renewables specialist’ role at CRM. Continuing with her ACCA qualifications during the pandemic has been challenging with some exams being postponed and some being taken online but Loren is still on track to be fully qualified by the end of 2021.

“Although I’ve appreciated some aspects of working from home, I’ve missed the business networking that I used to get involved in. Some networking groups moved to online platforms but it’s not as easy to make the connections and get the benefits from networking that way, so roll on the return to face-to-face gatherings.”

Loren advises clients that would like to improve their environmental impact to look at the small, simple steps that can be taken and build up to the bigger impacts. Cutting down your paper and printing output is a great start, along with using refillable pens rather than disposable ones, etc. There are more responsibly minded office suppliers available now, but it might need a little more effort to seek out the best value options.

When the stationery cupboard and supplies have received your full attention, it could be time to move on to the electrical equipment in the office. Turning computers and lights off fully at night saves money and uses far less energy. Are your lightbulbs energy efficient too? Changing to LED bulbs saves energy and they need changing less frequently.

From computers and lighting, you can think about heating and air conditioning. There are grants and loans available to assist with upgrading your heating and cooling systems. From combi and biomass boilers to solar panels and car charging points, modern systems are far more energy efficient and cost-effective.

Loren concludes: “I think some of the ‘greener’ habits we’ve formed during the pandemic will stick with us into the future. It’s become clear that most meetings can be effectively held online and although it’s great to meet up with clients face to face at times, it’s wasteful in time and carbon emissions to spend hours in the car getting to a short meeting.

“Some of the flexible working practices we’ve adopted are going to become another ‘new normal’ at CRM. Whilst I’m available during office hours, I like the flexibility of being able to start earlier in the day if I need to or take a longer walk at lunchtime and work later. We’re all thinking about what’s really necessary and what’s more productive and realising that carbon savings and cost savings can go hand in hand.”

If you need advice on how taking the greener path can benefit your business, speak to Loren and the experts at CRM on 01865 379272 or visit www.crmoxford.co.uk

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