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10 Best Practices to Improve Your Company's Digital Sobriety
Blog...10 Best Practices to Improve Your Company's Digital Sobriety

10 Best Practices to Improve Your Company's Digital Sobriety

Ecology News
laptop outside on bench with water, notepad, blue pen, phone, and potted flowers
In this article, we’ll explain what digital sobriety is, why it is important, and our 10 best practices to help improve your company’s digital sobriety.
Ecology News
laptop outside on bench with water, notepad, blue pen, phone, and potted flowers

Technology has made our lives easier in many ways: from being able to track out fitness goals, keep in touch with family and friends from afar, and even helping to make managing a business easier – but digital sobriety is also important in order to keep your company’s emissions below the threshold of danger for everyone involved.

Digital sobriety refers to the importance of repurposing pieces of technology to be used to their maximum extent possible before needing to fully dispose of the item. This is important seeing as landfill contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, as does the production and maintenance of technology as a whole.

In this article, we’ll explain what digital sobriety is, why it is important, and our 10 best practices to help improve your company’s digital sobriety.

What is digital sobriety?

Digital sobriety refers to the practice of upcycling and preserving any technological equipment used by companies in order to ensure all pieces of technology are used to their full potential and to stall the product reaching the end of its life-cycle.

Seeing as the world is growing more cognizant of the negative impact technology has had on the planet in the midst of global warming, a concept such as digital sobriety is imperative in helping to prevent further damage from the tech industry.
webinar digital sobriety

The great thing about digital sobriety is that it can be used in a sustainable effort regardless of your company’s industry or size. While some enterprises may use technology more often than others, it would still prove beneficial to practice digital sobriety for both a company and the rest of the planet – seeing as the tech industry is responsible for at least 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some examples of companies that may want to remain mindful of digital sobriety:

  • Online games that use a lot of energy to host their servers where gamers play;
  • Websites that only sell products exclusively online, and may be prone to using excessive data to host their customers;
  • Blogs or video streaming sites which require strong WiFi or data connections to host their viewers.

👉 Ultimately, digital sobriety is something we should all think about – even if we aren’t running a business. This is because technology, like many things, is a limited resource that should be preserved in the midst of climate change.

iphones facing down

Why is digital sobriety important?

As climate change continues to pique at an unprecedented rate, concepts like digital sobriety have never been more important – as it’s an easy way for us to integrate emission reductions into both our professional and business lives.

Digital sobriety is important because it encourages us to develop lower-impact pieces of technology and equipment, which ultimately help businesses and people alike to reduce their carbon footprint.
digital sobriety: developing sustainable software

💡 Even if you think your company wouldn’t benefit from digital sobriety, it’s time to think again.

In today’s world, regardless of the type of business you run – it’s inevitable that you are using technology in some shape or form. For instance, even if you’re running a small cafe – odds are you accept credit cards and use small machines or a computer to process your customers' transactions. Thinking of ways to implement digital sobriety, even in the smallest of places, can make a big difference in the long-run.

However, it is important to note that digital sobriety is exceptionally important for businesses which rely on technology to function – and where technology is an integral part of their business, such as online video games or companies that manufacture technology themselves.

Digital technology is being consumed at a staggering rate of 9% each year, and is only expected to grow as social media, streaming, and more technological services continue to take the world by storm.

The issue with this is that the world will not have the supply it needs in order to meet these new demands of digital technology, and this is where digital sobriety comes into effect – as digital sobriety can help us to conserve energy, raw materials, and reduce the emissions created by manufacturing and delivering digital technology.

👉 We can all play a part to reduce our digital footprint and move towards digital sobriety, even if it seems overwhelming to begin with – digital sobriety doesn’t mean quitting cold-turkey. Small actions can help to conserve energy and mitigate excess emissions, which are fueling climate change.

keyboard lit up

What are the benefits of digital sobriety?

There are multiple benefits to digital sobriety, such as reduced spending and a decreased dependence on technology. 

The overarching benefit of digital sobriety is that it instills sustainability into our business models, and can make a difference long-term while decreasing our dependence on the newest technology.

Think about it this way – imagine the latest iPhone came out, but you’ve already upgraded your smartphone in the last two years. Sure, it’s tempting to buy the latest model – but resorting to other ways to refresh your current phone such as by updating its operating system or installing a new battery can help extend its life-cycle. This helps you to save both money and reduce your environmental impact. The same goes for digital sobriety, as it encourages us to make do with what we already have for as long as possible – which ultimately reduces our carbon footprint and negative impact on the planet. 

Some of the benefits of improving your company’s digital sobriety includes:

  • Reduced operational costs and stalling the need to update equipment or individual pieces of technology, such as employee laptops or phones;
  • Allows companies to get creative with equipment and develop new ways to remain efficient without breaking the bank and splurging for new equipment immediately, which can spill over to benefit other parts of your business; 
  • Less dependence on automated equipment, which may help to provide more jobs for people.
  • Permits your company to comply with current and future environmental regulations more easily.

👉 Digital sobriety may seem like an overwhelming concept, but with any long-term goal – starting small is better than never starting at all.

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Our 10 best practices to improve your company’s digital sobriety?

Now that you can fully understand what digital sobriety is, the benefits, and why it is important – we can share our top ten best practices to implement or improve digital sobriety at your own company.

1. Choose a SaaS company – like Greenly!

Sometimes, figuring out where to start with sustainable concepts such as digital sobriety are too daunting to bear on your own – but the help of a SaaS software company such as Greenly can make things much easier to tackle.

By choosing to work with a company like Greenly, we can help you determine where the bulk of your carbon footprint comes from, and in turn – develop personalized solutions to help you reduce your environmental impact. This can easily be done for your digital activities and help to directly improve your company’s digital sobriety.

2. Optimize IT Hardware

One of the easiest ways to ensure the longevity of your current equipment is to monitor the IT hardware of your company devices on a consistent basis. This can allow your various devices to be reconditioned and refurbished for the same or different purposes, which avoid the need to dispose of perfectly usable technological equipment. 

Optimizing your IT hardware can also allow for cost savings, as your company won’t be purchasing new equipment right away.

3. Consolidate Devices Wherever Possible

These days, especially in the midst of remote work – people want to keep their professional and personal lives as separate as possible, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure they have different devices for work and personal use.

In addition to this, many companies will want their employees to use company laptops in order to ensure greater security protection. 

However, the problem with this is that by permitting the use of multiple devices will inevitably increase a company’s energy consumption. 

👉 The solution to this is to consolidate devices wherever possible, such as providing employees with a stipend to purchase a dual sim phone – so that they can keep their work and personal phone numbers on one device.

4. Choose More Efficient Connective & Cloud Sharing Platforms

These days, everything business related gets shared on the cloud – whether it’s sending an email or sharing a video to be reviewed by a business partner. 

However, some platforms may be more energy intensive than others – and your company could be subscribing to one that may require more energy than your company needs to operate. Therefore, it’s important to consider the nature of your business and how much data and cloud storage your company truly needs to operate efficiently.

5. Unplug Your Laptop & Use Your Battery 

It’s tempting to leave your work laptop plugged in all of the time while working from home.

However, the truth is, although technology continues to improve and the capability of battery power is evolving alongside our growing digital world – there is still a "sweet spot" to keep your laptop or smartphone charged in order to preserve battery life long-term.

The range to keep your laptop charge at refers to 20% to 80% charge, meaning it’s best to use your company laptop’s battery until it reaches "low power mode" (usually around 20% charge), and then proceed with charging it. 

It is important to note that while battery capacities are changing and that this advice is slowly becoming obsolete, the way you choose to charge your battery is still worthwhile and relevant advice – especially for companies using older or "outdated" computers or other pieces of technology.

💡Did you know that the best way to keep your battery healthy is to opt to keep it in the 20% to 80% charge range? This is because batteries are working hardest when they are completely drained or completely full.

6. Cut Back on Emails

We know that sometimes it can feel productive to send out an email seeing as it is more official and professional than communicating with your business partners or co-workers on other platforms, but it is important to only use email when it is essential.

Emails, especially junk emails, are bad for the environment – seeing as each email can emit up to 26 grams (0.9 ounces) of carbon dioxide emissions.

This means it’s important to only send emails when it is absolutely necessary. Believe it or not, other forms of communication such as a quick voice call or an instant message on Slack or Microsoft Teams can help your company’s digital sobriety. 

gmail clip

7. Change the Way Your Company Surfs the Web

Unbeknownst to most, popular search engines like Google consume a great deal of energy – seeing as millions of searches are made everyday. 

Although it may seem trite, making small adjustments to how you browse the web can make a big difference in your company’s digital sobriety.

Some ideas include:

  • Typing in the website in the URL bar instead of searching it online first;
  • Marking your most used websites for easy access to avoid using the search bar;
  • Closing tabs that are no longer in use, as they may be consuming power from your browser;
  • Avoiding websites with numerous ads or videos playing in the background without your knowledge, as these websites are energy intensive and can drain your battery quickly.

8. Turn off Video Calls

Making work calls with the video camera turned off and still wearing your pajamas isn’t just more comfortable for you, but for the planet.

This is because streaming video or trying to have a video call takes up much more energy than a simple video call does.

zoom meeting

9. Develop a Fair Purchasing Policy 

One of the perks many people will seek out when choosing a new job is what employees will be able to write-off as a business expense – such as a book or a new pair of headphones to be used for work meetings.

In order to prevent this employee benefit from being abused, it is important for your company to curate a sustainable purchasing policy to reserve financial costs and also valuable resources.

10. Reduce Overall Energy Consumption on Your Devices

Seeking to use your battery to its full potential is a great way to improve your company’s digital sobriety, but there is even more that your employees can do to reduce your overall energy consumption.

Here are a few ideas to share with your employees:

  • WiFi is always more energy efficient and reliable than using 4G/5G data;
  • Turn off smart devices when the majority of employees are on vacation: such as refrigerators, microwaves, or central heating systems and air conditioners;
  • Setting devices to automatically turn off after a few minutes can help to save energy;
  • Lowering the brightness of your screen will help to preserve battery power, and will also help prevent eye damage.

Ultimately, digital sobriety is important in the midst of climate change and for any business looking to excel as the world begins to prioritize and value sustainable companies over those who choose to ignore the global crisis. 

If digital sobriety still seems overwhelming to your company after this article, remember – SaaS software companies like Greeny are always here to help.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about digital sobriety has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Coming up with an effective plan to implement or improve your digital sobriety can be challenging, but don’t worry  – Greenly is here to help. Click here to schedule a demo to see how Greenly can help you comply with all of the upcoming regulations relevant to your company. 

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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