As natural disasters become more prevalent, people are debating the solutions we need to implement. Protecting the environment has become a tremendous challenge, because thousands of factors play a role. Even small factors like workplace scheduling have created issues for the environment.
I recently spoke with a friend that is an environmental planner from Fresno, California. She said that improving workplace scheduling can have the following benefits for the environment:
- Minimizing the number of employees onsite, which ensures electricity and other resources are used more efficiently.
- Reducing the risk that employees will travel unnecessarily for a shift that isn’t scheduled.
- Minimizing paper waste by keeping scheduling online.
- Reducing the time managers spend on scheduling makes it easier for them to monitor resource waste, thereby lowering their company’s carbon footprint.
Shift planning and work roster management are the bane of many a manager’s life. It’s a continuous puzzle that needs to be solved to the satisfaction of all concerned. While staff members each have different needs including family commitments, personal preferences and logistical challenges to be met, business requirements are for a simple and reliable process that optimises staff use and maximises productivity.
Rather than struggling with the traditional pen-and-paper approach, basic spreadsheet functionality or Google calendars, an app based HR software tool and shift planner can solve the problem elegantly. Able to accommodate worker preferences within an easily managed system, the software uses mobile technology and transparent communication to create a real time responsive staff rotas that have a number of important benefits.
1. Clearer communication
Managing work schedules is a never ending process that is, unfortunately, always prone to human error on the part of both management and/or staff. Without a reliable system or clear communication to send or receive information on roster changes and updates, shifts can get missed by accident or team members may turn up for work in error.
Introducing app based staff scheduling software that can be accessed through a computer, tablet or smartphone changes all that. With over 80% of adults in the UK now owning a smartphone, it makes complete sense for employers to use this technology for rota scheduling and staff management. Suddenly, a clear communications channel exists via app messaging and a shared calendar to make sure that everyone is always up to date.
2. Easy work schedule changes
Shift schedule changes can be cumbersome to administer and keep track of, whether they’re managed via paper forms, email conversations or verbal requests. With the help of a transparent Cloud based HR solution, employees can ask for time off with a simple message, streamlining both the process and record keeping in one unified system.
What’s more, instead of negotiating shift changes with a manager, employees have more freedom to manage their own schedules via shift swaps with their co-workers. The extra flexibility means less miscommunication and fewer dropped shifts, while everyone – staff and management – can see who will be on duty at any given point.
3. Better advance planning
If you are currently publishing work schedules per week, or even by month, this can make it difficult for staff to plan their personal lives simply because they won’t know far enough in advance when they will be expected to be at work. Time scheduling software gets round the problem by enabling you to plan further into the future while keeping everyone concerned in the loop.
This system will be particularly appreciated by employees who have family or other commitments that may clash with a work shift, and reduce the likelihood of any last minute hiccups. Advance work scheduling that is transparent to everyone involved puts the onus on the staff member to make sure they are free to come to work as required.
4. Remote staff management
As a busy manager, especially if you are managing several business locations, you can’t be everywhere at once. Or can you? A major advantage of a mobile app based shift planning system is that it allows you to keep an eye on your employees from wherever you are.
Time clocking software can be operated via a fixed terminal at work, but it can also be enabled for laptops, tablets and smartphones. With the help of location specific time tracking, you can easily check up on your staff’s whereabouts – you know where and when they have clocked in or out just as if you were there in person. There’s nowhere to hide – from staff arriving late, leaving early or working longer hours, the data will speak for itself.
Resource Planning is Key to Environmental Preservation
Protecting the environment is one of the biggest concerns of the 21st Century. Fortunately, there are a lot of small ways that we can make a difference and lower our carbon footprint. Even something as simple as using a better employment scheduling software can make an impact.
How Home Automation Can Help You Go Green
The holidays are an exciting, nostalgic time: the crispness in the air, the crunch of snow under your boot, the display of ornate holiday lighting up your home like a beacon to outer space, and the sound of Santa’s bell at your local Walmart.
Oh, yeah—and your enormous electric bill.
Extra lights and heating can make for some unexpected budgeting problems, and they also cause your home to emit higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.
So, it’s not just your wallet that’s hurting—the planet is hurting as well.
You can take the usual steps to save energy and be more eco-conscious as you go about your normal winter routine (e.g., keeping cooler temperatures in the home, keeping lights off in naturally lit rooms, etc.), but these methods can often be exhausting and ultimately ineffective.
So what can you actually do to create a greener home?
Turn to tech.
Technology is making waves in conservation efforts. AI and home automation have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, not only because of their cost saving benefits but also because of their ability to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.
Use the following guide to identify your home’s inefficiencies and find a solution to your energy woes.
Monitor Your Energy Usage
Many people don’t understand how their homes use energy, so they struggle with conservation. Start by looking at your monthly utility bills. They can show you how much energy your home typically uses and what systems cost you the most.
The usual culprits for high costs and energy waste tend to be the water heater and heating and cooling system. Other factors could also impact your home’s efficiency. Your home’s insulation, for example, could be a huge source of wasted heating and cooling—especially if the insulation hasn’t been inspected or replaced in years. You should also check your windows and doors for proper weatherproofing every year.
However, waiting for your monthly bill or checking out your home’s construction issues are time-consuming steps, and they don’t help you immediately understand and tackle the problem. Instead, opt for an easier solution. Some homeowners, for example, use a smart energy monitor such as Sense to track energy use in real time and identify energy hogs.
Use Smart Plugs
Computers, televisions, and lights still consume energy if they’re left on and unused. Computers offer easy cost savings with their built-in timers that allow the devices to use less energy—they typically turn off after a set number of minutes. Televisions sometimes provide the same benefit, although you may have to fiddle with the settings to activate this feature.
A better option—and one that thwarts both the television and the lights—is purchasing smart plugs. The average US home uses more than 900 kilowatts of electricity per month. That can really add up, especially when you realize that people are wasting more than $19 billion every year on household appliances that are always plugged in. Smart plugs like WeMo can help eliminate wasted electricity by letting you control plugged-in items from your smartphone.
Update Your Lighting
Incandescent lightbulbs can consume and waste a lot of energy—35% of CO2 emissions are generated from electric power plants. This can have serious consequences for increased global warming.
To reduce your impact on the environment, you can install more efficient lightbulbs to offset your energy usage. However, many homeowners choose smart lights, like the Philips Hue bulbs, to save money and make their homes more energy efficient.
Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone, and many smart light options come with monthly energy reporting so you can continue to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Take Control of the Thermostat
Homeowners often leave the thermostat on its default settings, but defaults often result in heating and cooling systems that run longer and harder than they need to.
In fact, almost half the average residential energy use comes from energy-demanding heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to fiddling with outdated systems, eco-conscious homeowners use smart thermostats to save at least 10% on heating and roughly 15% on cooling per year.
Change your home’s story by employing a smart thermostat such as the Nest, ecobee3, or Honeywell Lyric. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your in-home temperature by accounting for a variety of factors, including outdoor humidity and precipitation. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home.
Stop Wasting Water
The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. About one-third of that goes to maintaining their yards. Using a smart irrigation systems to improve your water usage can save your home up to 8,800 gallons of water per year.
Smart irrigation systems use AI to sync with local weather predictions, which can be really helpful if you have a garden or fruit trees that you use your irrigation system for water. Smart features help keep your garden and landscaping healthy by making sure you never overwater your plants or deprive them of adequate moisture.
If you’re looking to make your home greener, AI-enabled products could make the transition much easier. Has a favorite tool you use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share in the comments below.
Working From Home And How It Reduces Emissions
Many businesses are changing their operating model to allow their employees to work from home. Aside from the personal convenience and business benefits, working from home is also great for the environment. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, if employees with the desire to work from home and compatible jobs that allowed for this were allowed to do so only half the time, the reduction in emissions would be the equivalent of eliminating automobile emissions from the workforce of the entire state of New York. Considering the stakes here, it is vital that we understand how exactly working from home helps us go green and how this can be applied.
Reduction of automobile emissions
Statistics by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that the transportation sector is responsible for about 14% of the total Global Emissions of greenhouse gases, which is a very significant percentage. If employees work from home, then the need to travel to and from their workplace every other day as well as other business trips are reduced considerably. While this may not eliminate the emissions from the transport sector altogether, it reduces the percentage. As indicated in the example above, a move to work from home by more businesses and industries cuts down automobile emissions to as much as those from an entire state.
Reduction of energy production and consumption
According to Eurostat, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning accounted for as high as 26% of the Greenhouse gas emissions from the EU in 2014. EPA stats are also close at 25% of the total emissions. This makes energy production the single largest source of emissions. Working from home eliminates the need for large office spaces, which in turn reduces the need for electricity and heating. Similarly, the need for electrical office equipment and supplies, such as printers and computers, is also greatly reduced, which reduces the emissions from energy production in offices. Additionally, most households are now adopting green methods of energy production and implementing better ways of energy usage. The use of smart energy-efficient appliances also goes a long way in reducing the energy production and consumption levels from households. This, in turn, cuts down emissions from energy production from both the home and office fronts.
Reduced need for paper
Paper is also a huge source of emissions, considering that it is a carbon-based product. EPA stats show that carbon (IV) oxide from fossil fuel and industrial processes accounts for 65% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Working from home is usually an internet-based operation, which means less paper and more cloud-based services. When everything is communicated electronically, the need for office paper is reduced considerably. Moreover, the cutting down of trees for the sake of paper production reduces. All these outcomes help reduce the emissions and individual carbon footprints.
While businesses make an effort to recycle it is not as effective as homeowners. Consider everything from the water you drink to office supplies and equipment. While working from home, you have greater control over your environment. This means that you can easily implement proper recycling procedures. However, at the office, that control over your personal space and environment is taken away and the effectiveness of recycling techniques is reduced. Working from home is, therefore, a great way to go green and increase the adoption of proper recycling.
Even though the statistics are in favor of working from home to reduce emissions, note that this is dependent on the reduction of emissions from home. If the households are not green, then the emissions are not reduced in the least. For instance, if instead of installing a VPN in the router to keep the home office safe, an employee buys a standalone server and air gaps it, the energy consumption is not reduced but increased. Therefore, it is necessary that employees working from home go green if there is to be any hope of using this method of operation to cut down on the emissions.