The very nature of our jobs allow us to leave virtually no carbon footprint and use as little paper as possible. In fact, if not for old habits, online virtual assistants can do away with pen, paper, and other office supplies that you can typically find in a traditional office setting. Everything we do, including note taking, can be done using our computers and filed electronically.
In celebration of Earth Day 2012, here are more concrete ways by which we. virtual assistants, help save the world.
We don’t print contracts.
Asking clients to print, sign, and fax contracts and agreements is a thing of the past for the techie virtual assistant. We use electronic signature tools to ask our clients to review and sign agreements. My favorite tool — and the one I recommend to clients — is EchoSign because it’s s very easy to use and it makes closing deals so much faster. For more tools that allow you to electronically sign documents, check out this old post: Electronically Sign Documents.
We train online.
Training is important for both novice and veteran virtual assistants. Our training materials consist of downloadable e-books, online videos, and audio recordings that we can save to our computers, tablets, smart phones, and other portable media devices. Our training may also include webinars, Tweet chats, video calls, and Google hangouts. We don’t print training materials or buy cassette tapes that will eventually end in some dump site.
Admittedly, I print some of the e-books that I read over and over again for mastery. But my paper use is significantly less than that of a typical office worker. According to the Clean Air Council and UK research firm Loudhouse, the average office worker in both the US and UK uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Compared to the paper used by an office worker, my paper use is negligible.
We don’t do our bookkeeping on a ledger or accounting notebook.
I have yet to encounter a virtual assistant who keeps track of her expenses using a real ledger. Those who do write their expenses down use the back of receipts or their planners to keep track of their purchases before transferring it to an online bookkeeping tool. I use Wave Accounting for my personal and business bookkeeping.
We don’t need to use a car to go to work.
Majority of virtual assistants work from home. By staying put, we don’t use gas or other non-renewable energy resource to power our vehicles most days of the week. That’s less carbon monoxide in the air… less pollution… less damage to the atmosphere.
On a personal note
As Ted Danson’s character in CSI said, “There’s already too much junk in the world.” I personally like buying secondhand clothing from thrift shops. Aside from the huge financial savings, I like to think that I am helping save the world from unnecessary production of clothing. I especially like buying cheap maternity clothes and then altering them to fit my body and update it’s style. That’s what I call fashion for less!
To sum it up…
We, online virtual assistants, use less paper and leave less carbon footprint by working from home.