RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—So you want to do something about the catastrophic Gulf oil spill but don't know how to help? Tempted as you may be to boycott BP stations, those boycotts don't help, say a growing number of environmentalists and nonprofits, including representatives from Greenpeace. Very few, if any, BP gas stations are actually owned by BP. They're franchises whose owners contract to receive oil from oil companies, and they make most of their profits from convenience-store sales and services, not gasoline.
If you really want to ease the country's dependence on oil—and therefore its vulnerability to oil spills—say most environmental groups, use less oil. That may seem an impossible task, considering that oil is used in everything from chewing gum to carpets to, ironically, the Dawn dish liquid being used to clean the oil off of pelicans and turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. But one change that will have a significant impact on your oil use is to try telecommuting. It will reduce your gasoline use, and it may also gain you a better work-life balance. Plus, it gets you out of road-rage-inducing traffic, which triples your heart attack risk. Assuming your employers are already on board with the idea (if not, here are a few ways to convince them that working from home benefits everybody), you may have other concerns about working from home.
Here are a few ways to make telecommuting easier, effective, and enjoyable:
• Set up your workspace. Make sure you have a designated spot in your home that will serve as a functional home office. If indoor space is at a premium, consider a backyard "work shed" similar to the garden offices that are so popular in England. A corner office surely can't beat a view of your backyard garden in bloom! As for the supplies you'll need to make your workspace work, the Clean Air Campaign has published a few checklists on its website so your home office will be equipped with the tools you need to function. These checklists also offer tips on speaking with HR and IT personnel at your company so they can better assist you with working from home.
Published on: June 23, 2010