Is A Virtual Work Environment Good For The Planet?

San Francisco, California

Can Software Save The Planet From Climate Change?

I lowered my carbon footprint the day I began working from my home office versus commuting to a work place.

As a software business owner , straw bale home owner, Prius car owner, organic-gardener and composter, hemp clothes lover, and user of chemical-free household and make-up products, I often get asked if software is sustainable or earth friendly.

Unless you have been living on another planet, you know that climate change is no longer a debate. It’s here.

Anyone who tries to argue a case that it is not happening —  just remember how the tobacco industry put up a long, hard fight to deceive consumers before they were forced to put that surgeon general warning sign on their packaging.

Can Location Independent Work Make You Happier?

Having the freedom to work independent from a traditional job is called “location independent.” This requires the use of software tools and sometimes a minimalist lifestyle.

Ahem, pardon me for stating the obvious but, minimalism is the opposite of consumerism.

It seems that the more I de-clutter, the more I can breathe and feel a sense of lightness.  I highly recommend it.

From Urban Office to Virtual Office.

Over a decade ago, my business partner and I left the Bay Area and moved to the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California seeking a more balanced lifestyle. At first, it was a bit scary and there were a lot of risks involved.  Back then, we knew of no one working in a “virtual” environment.

Before moving, most of Hware’s business and technology consulting clients were in the Bay Area. We did not know how comfortable they were going to be with the idea of their consultant working 2 – 3 hours away, using mostly software tools and some low-tech tools (telephone) to achieve their goals.

However, they soon saw great results, which took away all doubts.  Today there are millions of people creating their own path by leaving corporate jobs and launching their own startups.

Fast Forward 10 Years Into Action

Hware has been going through its own metamorphosis over the last few years.

After 25 years of business and technology consulting, (selling time) to a software digital product company (selling product), our business model has evolved with the ever and fast-changing technologies.

We will soon be embarking on the release of some software productivity tools designed to help the small business owner take their ideas and put them into an organized action plan.

There are many businesses large and small that have been using location independent practices for many years. 37 signals has built a multi-million dollar business using remote teams.

So, can software save us from climate change? Is a virtual work environment good for the planet? Every bit helps.

Here is a simple 7-step action plan to help you go from THINKING about working in a virtual environment to actually DOING it.

1. Instill confidence in your clients or management team that you will be able to perform better results because you will be happier working from wherever  your heart desires.

2. Teach them in person how to use the software tools that don’t require you to commute, i.e., google docs, skype, social media, etc.

3. Educate yourself on the triple bottom line concept and then explain it to them.  What’s good for the planet and people can also be good for profits too.

4. Remind them of the external cost of a commute; pollution, wasted time, lack of productivity, etc.

5. Come up with a phase out plan so that they are not feeling abandoned and scared. Share it with them.

6. Assure them that you are just one e-mail, phone call, text, tweet away.

7. Continue to train them remotely via screencast shots and video tutorials on how to use the software tools.

Can you think of any other steps? Leave your comments below.

  • Carla

    Thanks Brenda, as always you share some great information for those of us just getting started. eep up the great work!

    • http://www.hware.com Brenda Horton

      You are welcome Carla! Thank you for your comments! Always appreciate the feedback!

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  • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

    Great tips Brenda. Being location independent is Awesome! Good luck on your upcoming software launch and thanks for linking to my site!

    • http://www.hware.com Brenda Horton

      Jenny! Your blog inspired me to write this post! You are leading the way for a new generation of workers by teaching how to get work done and have fun while doing it!

      Rock On!

      • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

        Rad. Glad I could be an inspiration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christine.breese1 Christine Breese

    Yes! Virtual is better than wasting resources!  Not even gas in a car!