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Sara Sutton FellAs Earth Day 2011 approaches and gas prices steadily creep upward, going green is a topic on many peoples’ minds. In your professional life, you might think that the only way to "work green" is to get a job with a solar power company or a conservation group, but the truth is that millions of people can turn their current jobs into green jobs through flexible work arrangements. The growing availability of broadband Internet and employers’ increasing awareness of telework’s benefits are creating the perfect environment for everyone to work green.

Flexible work and telework are good for the environment in a number of ways. Professionals who work from home, even if only for one or two days each week, spend less time commuting which greatly cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and wasted gas. Teleworkers can also control their own work waste at home by reducing paper usage, increasing recycling efforts, using CFL or LED lightbulbs, opting for windows and fans instead of air conditioning, and turning off electrical appliances when they’re not in use. In short, telework and flexible work arrangements allow professionals to control their work environments, thereby lessening their environmental impact. But how exactly can you become a green teleworker?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are desk-bound by day, consider approaching your employer to ask for a flexible work arrangement. Employers will want to know how teleworking will benefit them, so be prepared to tell them about the increased productivity and decreased costs that come with telework. Make sure to stress your ability to work independently, communicate regularly, be resourceful, and set up a fully-functioning home office. Some of the key components you’ll need are a reliable computer and high-speed broadband Internet access. Through broadband Internet, you’ll be able to communicate with work via email, instant messaging, discussion boards, and even conference calls. And if your employer remains skeptical, ask for a trial period to demonstrate your dependability as a teleworker.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day this year, the best idea is to make a change with a lasting positive impact on the environment. Flexible and telework arrangements are a fantastic place to start. Take advantage of the ever-increasing broadband Internet network in the U.S. and become a more productive professional and a better steward of the environment by switching to telework.

Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, the leading career website for telecommuting and flexible job listings.

Other blog posts about: Environment, Telework

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