Given some challenges we’re all facing on a global scale, more and more workers are being given the privilege of trying out remote work, albeit it’s more a matter of necessity than anything else. Those of us who have enjoyed this privilege, in some way or another, know of the direct benefits working remotely can have on the costs associated with the operation of a traditional working environment, such as an office building.
Trust me, if you ever have any trouble convincing your boss to let you work remotely, show them how much money they could save annually. Mind you, these are savings only on the costs associated with the power it takes to run various office equipment, like computers, servers, projectors, the air-con, desk fans, routers, etc. You’ll naturally have to weigh up everything associated with this against the other, but the bottom line will always be that fewer electronics plugged-in and running in the office environment will amount to a significant saving in costs. Other office essentials such as an air conditioning unit can eat away at electricity bills, especially if they’re not working properly. Some office managers might as a result call an air conditioning company or technician in, but surely this would not be an issue for them if you worked remotely and were responsible for your own appliances instead of the office one costing the business money when they break down.
A closer look at some of the actual numbers is warranted though, because things have indeed changed as far as how much energy office appliances consume.
For instance, there was a time when something like a computer, even the case of this being your desktop PC, would easily have been pointed to as the most energy-efficient appliance you use to get your work done. After all, the display would intuitively switch to the energy-saving screensaver mode if you leave it unattended for quite some time, after which idle time further it would perhaps then switch to hibernation mode and effectively send the whole system into a “sleep”.
However, things have changed. Considering how much time our computers spend processing all the work that we either actively or passively do, they’ve shot right back up the scale of appliances which consume the most energy.
You don’t use your desktop PC in isolation. It’s likely the central point of the network across which you connect to synchronise everything you do, so this takes into account your tablet, smart phone, laptop, the monitor (which consumes enough power to warrant a place of its own on the chart), and of course the networking infrastructure that connects and coordinates everything. Also keep in mind that effective collaboration while remote working will be enhanced with extension mobility, where a phone at the employee’s remote location is configured exactly how the phone in their office is configured.
The servers are usually left to run indefinitely, only really switched off or given some kind of break when a backup server is plugged in, perhaps for some routine maintenance, while the IT guys will often advise everybody to leave their desktop systems on for the running of routine security procedures such as virus scans and the likes.
So, the air-con might be the outright leader as far as power consumption goes, but we very well could be looking in the wrong place if we really wanted to save more on the power our appliances in the workplace environment use.
Ultimately it comes down to one thing, which is to switch off appliances when it’s really not necessary for them to be on, and that means switching off at the plug, not merely putting them on standby.